So when talking to other people, a lot of people bring up a comment saying that ‘as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, I shouldn’t be judged for it’. On face value, this sounds very libertarian and kinda reasonable, but does it actually make sense in the grand scheme of things. What does this quote mean when analyzed from the Bible? How does this philosophy pan out when applied to everyday life. Let’s look at it.
“So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Romans 5:18-19Hcsb Bible
So as this passage points out that through one man(Adam) all sin enters the world and by one man(Jesus) everyone become justified through righteousness and faith, it’s easy to gloss over this and not sit on it and think about it. You may have heard or read this passage many times in your life, but let’s sit here and think about what this means.
Through one man, sin entered the world. It’s easy to overlook this but let’s rephrase it just a little. Through one man; rape, murder, adultery, robbery, greed, lying, laziness, lust, selfish rage, infidelity entered the world. Of course these are just a couple of the many sins that we commit every day as humans. Maybe not all of them but we probably commit one at some point during the day or week.
What this means is that yes, one persons private sins can and will affect others directly or indirectly.
Now you may say, “well my sins aren’t that bad, how can my sins affect someone if they don’t know about or have no immediate connection to me. Well I’m glad you asked.
Let’s choose a sin that I know a lot of people make each and every week, pornography. That’s definitely a sin that is behind closed doors and people generally don’t tell others and get excited to tell them about this great porn video or something. So what’s so wrong with that?
When you watch pornography, several studies have proven that it desensitizes your view of women and men over time. It may not noticeable in the beginning but after time, they become less human to you and more of way to actually achieve pleasure for yourself. This then changes how you interact with them. You are less likely to do something in the selfless better interest of your girlfriend or boyfriend. You are more likely to have motivations for your good deeds in order to get something from it and not be selfless with it like Jesus does with us.
It also means you are less likely to be intimate with your wife or husband since you can be pleasured by a fantasy online. This later pulls you apart and causes tension eventually and possibly divorce if the other spouse finds out and thinks it is cheating in their eyes. You become selfish after watching pornography on a regular basis because it is instant gratification and you don’t have to be good for your spouse or anything for it.
Then if you have kids, they will eventually find out or the see the effects of your pornography addiction. They will see how you treat your spouse and later on, they may very well imitate that same behavior with their spouses when they grow up. They will become selfish because they saw the selfishness applied in your life. Their anger will be because they see it in your life growing up.
This doesn’t stop with kids either. If you have any friends or people that you are in charge of at work or have any influence over, they will be indirectly affected. If your friends see that you aren’t putting your spouse in first place above your selfish desires to get drunk, watch pornography or any other countless activities, they may think that it is normal or ok if they treat their spouse the same way. This is especially true for anyone that looks up to you(if you know it or not). It could even go so far that some of ‘friends’ may think that your spouse is available since you don’t own that marriage and put them first. They may try to take a pass at them.
Of course this wouldn’t end well, either the spouse rejects and now you have lost a friend and possibly got into a fight with them and land yourself in jail because of it. Or the other thing that could happen is that your spouse takes your friend up on their offer and cheats on you because well, you don’t put them first like you should and they don’t feel close to you anymore. What happens here is either you choose to forgive them both, forgive one but not the other and lose at least friendship or marriage or you don’t forgive either and lost both relationships.
All of this because of your ‘small’ little pornography addiction. Now am I saying that this will happen with everyone that watches pornography? No, but it is definitely a scenario that very well can happen if you let this sin get out of hand. It’s never a good idea to let even a little sin gain an inch in your life.
At the very least, your spouse never finds out in this lifetime. But you are never able to truly have the close intimate relationship with them that God desires for you. That may be ok with you in your mind, but let’s remember that sin always comes to light eventually and the least likely situation that I just mentioned is again, very few and far between. Do you really want to test to see if you’re lucky?
It doesn’t just affect your immediate surroundings and relationships on earth, it affects your relationship with God. When you sin willingly and knowingly, you are less likely to read your Bible and pray and talk to God. If you do less reading of Gods word and less prayer, you’re more likely to sin even more and eventually God feels distant and cold. You start to doubt even if you have a relationship with God at all. Your heart becomes hardened and you start to not even attend church anymore. You become indistinguishable from people that have never heard of Jesus Christ.
These same sins that you commit and push under the rug then also become the same sins that the next generation pushes under the rug. Now your private sin has become a curse and detriment to your family and to your kids, grandkid’s and possibly further.
The actions you make have ramifications beyond you. Your actions have ramifications beyond just your lifetime.
Just as your small private sins have ramifications, so do your good actions as seen also in the same passage.One man(Jesus) made everyone right justified and righteous through faith. One mans good actions(reading the Bible and living a Godly life), can mean families are restored and stay together, deep friendships that span generations, future generations of believers of Christ, the betterment of the community you live in, society grows closer to Christ one person at a time.
Just as each of your small little ‘harmless’ sins have ramifications that we can’t calculate completely right now, deciding to follow God has the same ramifications but in reverse and for the good of the future.
There are plenty of other sins that could have been the main talking point of this post, but this one is so prevalent I might as well pound it into the ground.
So I have to ask you? Do your small sins affect others? Which do you decide to do? Follow your sin like Adam or follow God like Jesus? As for me and my house, we will choose to follow God. I hope you do the same.