It takes a person out of touch with reality to say that one’s sins do not affect others. Our sins can easily devastate those around us, especially when our anger leads us to justify our words and actions.
The Apostle Peter warned about five particular sins in the passage below and how they could affect the individual Christian and the local church. While we often tell ourselves that our choices don’t affect anyone but ourselves, we know that is untrue. It’s telling that the sins he lists have direct effects on others.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander.1 Peter 2:1
Malice – the type of hatred that wants someone else to suffer. When you succumb to this sin with internal thoughts or external actions, you wrongfully assume the right to be judge, jury, and executioner to whoever challenges you.
Deceit – the dishonest defiance that intentionally seeks to mislead others for selfish benefit. Once you are willing to lie, you admit that you desire personal advancement over the truth. There is no end to what you might seek to justify.
Hypocrisy – the attempt to deceive others of one’s true character. The word connects to actors who play a role on stage differently than who they are in real life. This facade seeks to lead others to believe something different about you than what is reality.
Envy – the coveting character who believes they ought to have what another person possesses. Not only does envy admit you think that you don’t have enough, but it also proposes that another isn’t worthy of what they have.
Slander – the willingness to speak ill of others to degrade them in the eyes of others. Anyone willing to verbally confront or recklessly gossip uses their words to deflect attention on themselves and direct assault on another made in the image of God.
All of us can struggle to some level with any sin, but some temptations probably rise to the top for us. Which one of these five sins easily ensnare you compared to the others?
Do an honest assessment of your life. Confess the sin that is affecting you and your relationship with others. Ask God to give you the strength to choose His path over your preferences.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.