Other People’s Sin

The past few months have been a reminder that sin splatters like a can of paint falling off of a shelf.

It’s messy. It gets on you. But it also sprays out indiscriminately on things near and far, related and unrelated.

We tend to think of the impact of sin as being mostly personal. Not so.

The Example of Porn

When a person looks at pornography they are committing a personal sin that is sexual. Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28

Yet that sin has a spiraling impact beyond that person’s personal sin of lust…

  • Lust impacts sexual relationships with a spouse, future spouse, other people in your life, etc.
  • Looking at pornography generates revenue which, in turn, generates more pornography.
  • The pornography industry exploits people by degrading and objectifying a person for financial profit… this is also a sin.
  • The people participating in and profiting from pornography are having their sin encouraged. Even if it’s consensual, their acts are sinful.
  • Of course, most would argue that the coercion involved in the creation of pornography is sexual exploitation. That doesn’t even include the rampant amount of sexual exploitation that generates pornography as a direct result of threat or force.
  • The “normalization of pornography” in a society fosters the idea that it’s OK to objectify people sexually since “everyone does it.” When we get used to the idea that it’s OK to commercially sexually exploit someone, we look at things like prostitution as a “victimless crime.” As if, as is the case just 1000 feet from my home, a 16 year old girl who has been trafficked to the United States by a gang and subsequently sold as a slave and is forced on the street as a prostitute isn’t a victim of an entire society who looks at her as doing it by choice.

As you see demonstrated… the “personal sin” of someone looking at pornography isn’t so personal at all. It’s like a paint can falling from a shelf.

Closer to Home

Here in McLandia, the past 2 months the trajectory of our household has been dominated by the impact of sin from a person we don’t even know, we’ve never met, and has no idea the chaos they’ve created.

It’s caused untold amounts of stress, lost sleep, anxiety, inability to concentrate or work at a normal rate, and a whole lot of other things. Chaos.

And you know what? The other person involved likely has no idea.

We’ll be fine. We are fine.

But dang, we got a lot of paint on us on this one.

There’s no such thing as a little sin. Even a little sin has a lot of impact.

Instead, pursue righteousness and let your life be good news in the neighborhood.






One response to “Other People’s Sin”

  1. ekruep Avatar

    Hey, Adam. Thanks for this insight. What you write is soooo true and yet so not understood. The perspective you highlight is one of great maturity that I only wish I’d had when I was a teenager. I think it is a whole lot to ask of ant young adult! They need prayers!

    Unfortunately, I have been witness to exactly the destructive nature of a past youth sexual life that has destroyed a marriage over 15 years and is threatening to dissolve it. At the heart of the problem is an utter ignorance of the husband’s role in pursuing sin that has warped his mind towards demanding something impure from his wife.

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