All sin is created equal.
That kind of sucks, doesn’t it? But many don’t really believe that anyway, do they?
I once had a bible study group leader say that sexual sin was the worst kind of sin. I, at the time, was living in sexual sin. I was not married, but I had a lover. It was a circumstance that many broken women fall into; we don’t really want to and don’t really enjoy it, but we let him play with our bodies anyway, because maybe we’ll get some love in return. (I’m not excusing or condoning my actions – just explaining.)
I sat there at that bible study feeling horrible. I thought, does that mean I’d be less sinful if I murdered someone? I almost left that bible study. But I told the leader at the end of it what was going on in my life right then and asked her if she felt I’d be less sinful if I’d killed someone instead. She conceded my point.
It’s difficult to think that someone like Jeffrey Dahmer could possibly have accepted Christ in prison and been forgiven of the atrocities he had done to put himself there. It’s rumored that he had, so I may yet meet him in heaven. But shouldn’t his sin be unforgivable? Isn’t murdering several young men something that should be a sentence straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200?
In the eyes of God, sin is sin is sin, and He gave us a pretty clear list as to what that is in Exodus 20:3-17:
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
God loved the whole world and sent His Son to die for it (John 3:16). And the depravity of the world was no better back in Jesus’ day than it is today. People did the same things to themselves and each other back then as they do today. It was maybe just a little less creative – technology has paved the way for some interesting ways for people to hurt each other.
Whether we tell a lie or murder 17 people, we are equally guilty of sin before God, and we are sentenced to the same punishment. Breaking one of God’s laws is the same as breaking all them.
It isn’t fair in by human standards, but we aren’t called to live by human standards. God’s standards are what we are to strive for – standards that can’t be met in our humanness. It is only when we become children of God, accepting Christ as our Savior that we are able to attain God’s standards.
We are slaves to sin before we know Christ personally (John 8:34), and getting away from sin cannot be done any other way.
Whether we’ve murdered or whether we’ve lied, God loves us with a love we won’t understand until we are with Him in heaven. I can only understand it a bit because I am a mother. If one of my children were to do something like Jeffrey Dahmer did, would I stop loving him? Did Dahmer’s parents stop loving him? I’m sure they didn’t. And I already know that I will never stop loving my children, no matter what they do.
Loving like that can make for a frequently broken heart.
Humanity has broken the heart of God over and over again. But He continued and continues to love us. He sent His own Son to be crucified because He wanted us back so badly.
God has forgiven me of my many, many sins. As I continue to sin and confess of them, He continues to forgive because He loves me, just as I continue to forgive my children when they mess up because of how much I love them. Like 1 Peter 4:8 says:
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Where would we be if there wasn’t that love. Hopeless and despairing.
God’s love covers a multitude of sins – mine and Dahmer’s.
Remember, lying is as evil to God as murder; nobody’s sin is better than another’s.
But God is willing to forgive any of them. You just have to ask.