I am amazed at how stupid I am when I sin! I try explaining why I sinned - and I will call it anything but what it is! I will even change terms and soften the sound of my sin...come on, we all have done this, haven’t we? Instead of looking at my wife and being honest -that I am responding this certain way because I am self seeking and unbecoming, I simply tell her that I’m just not in a “good mood.” I have heard men who were under strong Biblical teaching and, at one time would hold to the things of God, debate leaving their family because they were in adultery! They utter such nonsense as “I’m just not happy with my wife, and God wants me happy. I think this may have been His will all along.” Really? I was unaware that God gives us a command in His Word for you to commit adultery and murder your marriage if you are unhappy. I think some of this happens because we don’t really use the names the Bible uses for sin anymore…we “desensitize” ourselves to our sin. We are in a culture that, when we lie or our children lie, we say, “They were not truthful” or “They told a story.” Problem - I am not calling, nor defining things as God has called them or defined them. We allow our culture to define and rename what the Bible clearly calls sin and, in fact, gives it a name. A wonderful book by Jerry Bridges entitled “Respectable Sins” goes in great detail to deal with sins that we gloss over – those that in most churches many people would have difficulty even defining properly. A pastor friend shared with me that he was burdened by this very problem - he had a member that could not define what “gossip” was. Shortly after this, I too had an almost identical conversation with a member of our church and, in truth there have been countless times in counseling sessions that sins like gossip, slander, and even adultery have had to be defined. Below, Jerry Bridges does an outstanding job of giving a Biblical definition to these sins, as well as many others, that we think are “respectable.”
Gossip is the spreading of unfavorable information about someone else, even if that information is true.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges)
“Slander is making a false statement or misrepresentation about another person that defames or damages the person’s reputation. We slander when we ascribe wrong motives to people, even though we cannot see their hearts or know their particular circumstances.” (Respectable Sins-Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, Jerry Bridges.)
I want to encourage us, as believers, that when we talk, rebuke, correct, or teach with one another or with our children, let’s make sure to use Biblical terms and call sinful things by their sinful names. Otherwise, we will simply raise another generation that can’t rightly define sin and that will learn from us, how to tolerate these “respectable” sins!