Proverbs 6:16–19 states: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” It is intriguing to see that sins such as pride and divisiveness are listed alongside murder. This list is similar to the lists of sins that the Apostle Paul gives us in Romans 1:29–31 and 2 Timothy 3:2–5, where he includes disobedience to parents and ungratefulness alongside hating God and being heartless.
Not all sins are of the same degree of wickedness. Some sins are more heinous in themselves, and some sins are contrary to nature, such as bestiality and homosexual sin (Lev. 18:22–23; Rom. 1:26–27). Yet we must fight the tendency to emphasize some sins and overlook others. After all, covetousness, which we might consider a relatively mundane sin, is listed alongside idolatry, murder, and adultery (Ex. 20:1–17). Every sin makes us guilty before the face of God, which is why He tells us that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
We dare not ignore any sin even as some sins stand out to us more than others, for every sin is a transgression against God and His law. We often hear about the sins that involve our actions but often ignore the sins that involve our failing to act, to do what we are supposed to do. Westminster Shorter Catechism 14 reminds us that sin is any want of conformity unto the law of God (sins of omission) or any transgression of that law (sins of commission).
We have a tendency to overlook our own sins while highlighting the sins of others. Sometimes we get angry when we get around other Christians who sin differently than we do. It is easy for us to focus on the speck in our brother’s eye and overlook the log in our own eye (Matt. 7:3–5). Yet we ought always to strive to hate our sins more than the sins of other Christians who sin differently than we do. Sometimes, we get angry when we see in people the very same sins that we see and hate in ourselves. May we never overlook our own sins as we pray that God opens our eyes to see those sins that we may be blind to, always remembering that there is more grace in God than sin in us.
Dr. Burk Parsons (@BurkParsons) is senior pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., chief publishing officer for Ligonier Ministries, editor of Tabletalk magazine, and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He is author of Why Do We Have Creeds?