But Sin is Sin, Ain't It?
What people say give them away to people who think [Matthew 12:36,27]. One of the phrases of perfectionism and those who are righteous in themselves and despise others is this, "Well, but sin is sin."
Duh. and BS is BS. [BS is an acronym for bovine excrement, for those who have not taught in high school, or have forgotten high school]. As Hamlet's friend said, "There needs no ghost to rise from the dead to tell us that, m'lord."
BS is always BS, and it never changes its character until aged sufficiently to become an wholesome additive to the soil that grows the food you and I eat. [Imagine that, Alice!] The overly nice might wonder if they approve of BS while they are eating their forkful of salad at an elegant restaurant, but they probably do not smell it unless their sense of smell is overly acute.
The Jews had such a refined spiritual sense. Edersheim sells us the reason that the Jews washed so often during their meals [baptizing their hands and napkins and tables and cushions etc, by sprinkling water on them--hence the large jugs of water at the marriage feast of Cana] They reasoned thus, an idol is unclean and if you worship an idol you are unclean and unfit for worship and must be purified; if an idol is in a grove of trees, then the trees are unclean and anyone passing through that grove of trees is unclean and must be purified.
The wood from any of those trees is unclean and anything made from it is unclean and must be purified. If wood from one of those trees is made into a shuttle for a loom, the loom is unclean and any cloth woven on the loom is unclean. Therefore any garment made from such cloth is unclean and makes the wearer unclean. If the garment is hung in a closet all the other clothes in the closet are unclean because they hung next to a garment that was made from cloth woven on a loom that had a shuttle made from wood from a tree that grew in a grove where there was an idol. See how easy it is?
This hypocrisy knows no end, and the Pharisees set aside Jesus because He and His disciples didn't wash their hands before they ate--not that they ate with grubby hands, but because they thought that sin could be avoided by maintaining your distance.
The problem is that we are not contaminated by our external proximity to sinfulness, but by the rebellion and hypocrisy in our own hearts that causes us to sniff at others and transfer our hostility to God to the Godly. Hence, professing a very high degree of "holiness," we find sin everywhere and sniff openly or secretly at most everyone we know, except those who flatter us because they are as phony as we are.
These people give themselves away over and over again, because they are always apologizing for some very minute action that no body would have thought about if they hadn't brought it up to draw attention.
Years ago I was traveling with one who was then a friend, and we stopped at a store to buy gas. He went into the store and came out with a two packages of peanuts. "This one is for my wife," he said. "I don't feel right eating one without getting one for her." I was very young, but thought, "What a phony." I was right, and he was later guilty of molesting his teenage daughter. I have always wondered if he ate the peanuts in secret, also.
I also remember the minister who apologized to me when he was moving because some of his possessions were in whiskey and beer boxes. "We couldn't find any others. I don't want you to think that we drank all this." Later on when I knew him better, I thought "He would have been a better man, perhaps, if he had drunk it all."
But, but, but, you say: "Doesn't the Bible say that we are to abstain from every appearance of evil." Yep, it certainly does, and that does not mean not to do good because someone sniffs at you. It means to not pretend to be doing good because you have masked your evil with a cloak of purity. It doesn't mean not to do good just because someone thinks it evil; but abstain from every evil no matter how good you make it look or in what form it appears.
Yes, sin is sin. And you have enough major things to deal with in your life without becoming a nit-picker and fault-finder, -looking with microscopic glasses to see if you can ferret out some in your neighbor. I repent my sins every day, and there are many of them, but if you come around with some odor about you, you might get hit with a brickbat. I will repent of the brickbat later, maybe, but probably I will pray that it will bring some light to you, when your head stops hurting.
By the way. Facebook is not the church. De-friending is not excommunication and it takes no actions of elders to remove you from my friend list. Just a click of the mouse. I don't know whether you are a Christian are not, for you are probably just an icon on my screen. You may say you are and mouth a lot of pretty words, which are shadows on your screen. The friends that mean the most to me are you that I know in the flesh and have had an opportunity to know something of your character. Those I will "grapple to my soul with hoops of steel" as Polonius said. He was one of Shakespeare's rascals but said some pretty things.
Things have changed a lot since I was a boy, for good or bad, as manners always do. My mother would not approve of me using BS in this post. But that was a day when people asked for white meat, because saying "breast" might get the young men too excited. I was not allowed to say "guts," "belch" and some other things, but I said them with glee and guilt out of earshot.
I knew a teacher who reprimanded a kid for saying "crud' -- in fact she did more than that, washing his mouth with soap. People confused morality with manners. We could use the word "bitch" only very carefully in carefully circumscribed conditions involving kennels and canines. The things that we boys said, even us Sunday School boys, would have peeled the paint if said at home, but many of them have become commonplace nowadays. Nowadays when a teenager says, "It sucks," most of them probably do not know the origin of the expression, they just mean that "it" is bad. Some of the colorful expressions that people use every day have found their way into our common language by a trip through the seamier side of life. But you have to have a refined sense of smell to know it.
Boys were supposed to talk in pretty little language that pleased their mommies. We got even when we were alone with each other. I know what sin is, but I do not think that Rush Limbaugh sinned when he said that a certain fornicator was a "slut." According to Merriam Webster online the word means "a promiscuous woman." Just as I often say, people don't mind being trashy, they just don't like it named. This woman said it took some $3000 a year to pay for her addiction and she expected the government to require that insurance pay it. Personally, I don't think Rush needed to apologize, but he did most exquisitely, saying that he was sorry that he had descended to the level of liberals.
I have never used the word that Rush used, except in private, but it was funny when he used it. People who got their shorts in a twist over it were not annoyed that he used it, because they are used to liberals using far worse language than that; they got annoyed because they do not like Rush for other reasons. May God forgive all us poor sinners. Especially the hypocrites.
"We be not born of fornication," the pharisees sneered. John 8:41.