Two days ago I posted an article on the phrase, “All Sins are Equal in God’s Eyes.” This was the latest installment in the “Taking Back Christianese” series.
In that post, I argued that this phrase is frequently misunderstood and misused. Paradoxically, some use the phrase to bolster the seriousness of sin (by arguing every sin is equally a big deal), while other use the phrase to downplay the seriousness of sin (by arguing that no sins are any worse than others).
In short, I argued that while no sin is small, some sins are smaller (or larger). Put differently, sin is serious enough that one is sufficient to separate you from God, but that does not mean all sins are equally heinous.
After writing that article, and seeing the response that it received, I decided to poke around Twitter to see how common this belief “all sins are equal” really is. I was surprised by what I found.
Of course, what people say on Twitter is not a scientific test of what people generally believe. But, it is illuminating nonetheless. Below are a few examples to give you a feel for how the phrase “all sins are equal” is being used in our world today.
I encourage you to read each one. It is a stunning picture of what our world believes about sin. And here is the thing to realize: what a person believes about sin really does affect their behavior.
All sins are equal. People tend to forget that. There is no bigger or smaller sin. Being gay and lying, very equal.
— C A S M I A N (@fauxamie) November 16, 2016
all sins are equal in God’s eyes. whatever you’re doing, is no better than what someone else is doing.
— presley weatherholt (@presleyerin12) December 1, 2016
If you have sex before marriage please don’t come on social media preaching about the wrongs of homosexuality. All sins are equal
— Reanne (@ReanneGinn) November 26, 2016
Need people to realize that all sins are equal… don’t try to look down on me or question my faith just cuz you sin differently than I do.
— Antonie Marie (@antonieemarie) November 22, 2016
Don’t understand why you’re so quick to judge me, when all sins are equal. So much for family..
— Carlie☯️ (@carlie_bergeron) November 19, 2016
if you think being gay is a sin, let me ask you something, have you not done anything wrong in your life? all sins are equal. we’re sinners
— kay (@kayleyxchai) November 10, 2016
Nope no difference at all. All sins are equal no matter what you’re running for. The bible says do not judge lest ye be judged https://t.co/k3cTgJjEyE
— Juan Pablo Montoya (@2ndrgrbn) November 9, 2016
A huge problem I have with religion is the notion that all sins are equal. Like pre-martial sex and murder are the same amount t of bad.
— jillian. (@jillebean96) November 8, 2016
people do bad things because they believe that all sins are equal and ~god~ loves y’all equally so he’s going to forgive you naman ha ha ha
— ⓒⓒsachi (@pyonstar88) November 8, 2016
It a sin to condemn another sinner and their actions. All sins are equal. So what makes you better than the person you’re condemning?
— JWill (@TRYUHLZ) November 2, 2016
I think so b/c having sex before marriage doesn’t make you less of a women then if you waited until marriage.. all sins are equal soo https://t.co/x4KZroVmtD
— ㅤㅤㅤ (@Bratindyy) October 27, 2016
friendly reminder, all sins are equal in gods eyes so you’re not better than I am in any way. please worry about your own sins before mine.
— victoria moore (@victoriaamoore_) October 12, 2016
People don’t like when I suggest abortion as an option. This is a free country and all sins are equal so mind your business!!!
— YayaRNxo✨ (@Royalcouturexox) October 10, 2016
What I do is no worse than wat you do… all sins are equal no matter what it is🙃💯💯 a sin is a sin
— Meyia ❤️💦 (@__DaSean1) October 5, 2016
to god all sins are equal so you have no right to compare your sins to someone else’s bc in the end it doesn’t matter
— key (@keeleysullivan7) September 23, 2016
Jim Moore says
That’s really fascinating but I think it needs a little analysis. It’s clear to me that the people appealing to the notion that all sins are equal are doing so to avoid judgment or moral direction from others. But is it possible that they are conflating the legitimate reasons we might be hesitant to judge each other?
Our hesitance to judge someone is actually rooted in their forgiveness available from God, not in our mutual sinfulness. Right?
Jim, I was coming here to make a similar observation. The appeal to all sins being equal is really an attempt by many to justify sin outside of Christ. It’s also at the root of the charge that people who judge them for their sin are hypocritical.
Interesting are the few that balk at the idea that all sins are equal. One is close to the truth in the observation that there are differences in heinousness between different sins. Another uses it as an excuse to balk at “religion” – or, in other words, an excuse to be unfaithful to God.
Well there should be no more complaints or despair about Donald Trump, Hilary or Castro then!
It easier to justify sin instead instead of truly dealing with it via God & others. It is often a pride thing, which is a sin & is known to come before a fall.
It can be a good and honest thing to point out a failing in others when done with real concern for spiritual wellbeing, but not with a log in our own eye or with a sense of self rightousness.
We need tender hearts that know all of Scripture.The doctrine of original sin is not the doctrine of salvation or justification or sanctification.
To become hardened to truth or to try and enter by the wide gate that leads to destruction is not the same as the narrow gate that leads to life.Matt 7:13-14.
Not all gates are the same, not all roads are the same.
Hey!! Dr Kruger,
Another great insight. Listened to a 2012 D/L from Dr White and i agree, that the responses indicate that as sin is so close to the surface in all of our lives, when the truth is exposed, the response is to lash back with, shame on YOU………. when really the shame is being exposed in the heart of each of us but we don’t like it, lets just bury it further down and hold hands and put- our -differences -aside- because -God -loves -everything -about -us, seems to be the norm nowadays. You have addressed the issue very skillfully, as you always do. I am truly thankful for your instruction in these matters and always look forward to seeing your new posts.
It may be the case that some sins ARE more heinous than others. As noted in the 3rd paragraph, one sin—no matter what it is, is rebellion against God and it is punishable by eternal separation from God.
In that sense all sins are equal — the punishment is the same.
All we’re doing is building a pharisaical hierarchy of which sin is ‘better’, when ALL sin is evil.
Often the “all sins are equal” mantra is taken up by those who want to shame another for daring to point out that what they’re engaging in is sin. A previous post said well, we have a tendency to want to lash out and point out what others are doing when confronted with our own sin. As you would expect, Matthew 7:1-2 made an appearance here. I wonder if the people who quote that verse so often even know where to find it and what the context of the admonition is. There is, unfortunately, a tremendous amount of bible illiteracy even among those who call themselves believers. I appreciate Dr. Kruger for his insight and, more importantly, for sharing that insight with the rest of us. There is nothing worse than to be ignorant of what we claim to follow.
I believe there is one sin that God holds above all others: child sacrifice. In my readings of the Bible, it always seemed to me that God’s patience runs out about the same time child sacrifice starts.