Sin, the Movies, and other Sh**

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

Saturday night we had a gathering celebrating the birthdays of a couple beautiful woman in our family. About half-way through the evening all the guys ended up sitting together on the porch where the logs in the outdoor fireplace were blazing. Topics of conversation varied. But one subject seem to elicit good discussion: What actions might be considered sin when they may not be?

We came up with a short list of actions that may or may not be sin:

  • Taking food or drink into a movie theater when their sign says “No drink or food.” (Assuming it’s not a sin to go to a movie?!?)

  • Driving past a person in need of help without helping.

  • Not paying income tax in protest against a wrong, unbiblical, un-Christian law or government activity.

  • Borrowing someone’s password to access an otherwise inaccessible site.

  • Doing 65 in a 55 mile-per-hour zone.

  • Telling someone you’re “on the way” when you haven’t quite started on the way or other “little white lies” that are very close to the truth yet are not pure falsehood.

  • Little deceptions acted on for good – like, being reminded of something you’d forgotten, yet acting like you knew when reminded; telling your wife what she wants to hear vs. telling the truth about what you’re actually thinking.

  • Using certain “cuss” words – like hell, “sh**, ass, or damn that are not “using-God’s-name-in-vain-type” words.

  • Getting a water cup at the fast-food restaurant and filling it with lemonade or Sprite.

  • Smoking a cigar with your buds at your monthly Bible study.

  • Sharing a cup of soda with your sweetheart at a “free-refill” place instead of paying for two drinks.

  • Picking flowers at a state park where it’s forbidden.

  • Being silent when someone says something false, objectionable, offensive, or unpleasant.

  • Working the angles: like, timing your visit to Golden Corral so you don’t have to pay the higher price for dinner, e.g. paying for the $7.95 lunch at 4:30pm then hanging around long enough to eat the $9.95 dinner after 5:00 (because that’s when they serve steak).

  • Being justifiably angry at the obvious sins of others – we call it “righteous indignation.”

  • Typing “OMG” in a text. Is this using God’s name in vain?

  • Letting your jealousy of a co-worker’s award motivate you to do better. That kind of jealousy is not sin, right?

  • Being proud of your achievement.

You might think some of these are obviously sin. Your friend might disagree. And what does God think? Whoa! Now you’re above my pay grade.

The sin discussion moves to a whole new level when we see in scripture a statement like: whatever is not of faith is sin. Well then…pretty much everything we do is sin. We need God’s mercy, for sure!

St. Gregory of Palamas writes: “If God does not act in us, everything done by us is sin.” OK. If that’s true, then I’m really screwed! I’d like to think God is acting in me all the time, but I know better than that. “Lord, have mercy!”

Share in the comment section your own suggestions about “sins” that may not be sins.

And…let’s keep talking about sin. I’m sure that will keep us from sinning.