Are there such things as big sins and little sins? And who's job is it to determine which sins are worse than others? Those are loaded questions. Especially in a society like ours when the general population wants to be free to do whatever they want. Not only do they think they should be allowed to, they expect to be able to convince others that what they are doing is ok.
This issue came up in a conversation recently when I was with a group of friends. It's amazing how heated discussions can get when we start talking about things concerning limits, and who should set them.
Personally, I'm glad I'm not the Final Judge. I'm glad I'm not the one who will ultimately decide who lived their life better than another, and by what standards they followed. I know what I believe to be true, (and I'm still learning) and I will live accordingly. But how far should I go in convincing others that their behavior is either good or bad? Yet another loaded question.
Christians get a bad wrap on the whole judgement thing. Granted, there are those who spend their lives telling others how to live or they will go to hell. But honestly, who's job is that? Depending on where people are in their lives, and on their 'path' which hopefully leads to God, I would pray that what is right and wrong will be revealed to them on a personal level. So what is our job? Our job is to look at the examples that God gives us in the Bible. Our job, since none of us is without sin, is to be open to the possibility that we will ALL, at some point, be told to do something that we don't want to do.
A pastor friend of mine said something a long time ago that has always stuck with me. He said, "Everyone has their 'favorite sin.'" What he meant was, that each and every one of us has sin that we struggle with. For some it may be gambling, or eating too much, or pornography, or drinking, or spending too much money. Not everyone struggles with the same issues, but we ALL struggle. We need to remember that while some sins seem worse than others, in God's eyes, it's still sin. And, sin is sin. We have to be careful about putting them into human categories.
Matt Kaufman addresses this issue in an article he wrote for Boundless Magazine called, "The Spirit of Combat." In it, he states: "You tend to think in Us-vs.-Them terms, magnifying the sins committed by Them while minimizing the sins committed by Us..." So, by focussing on criticizing or judging others for the choices they make, you may be forgetting that you yourself are not so shiny and clean. I'm not saying that it is always wrong to talk to people about the choices they are making, we are certainly called to hold each other accountable. But we need to be careful how much we are focussing on what others are doing.
I like how Matt ended his article. He says:"...God is clear about whose sins should grab my attention the most. I ought to be noticing a big plank in my eye that looms a lot larger than that speck in my neighbor's. Spiritually speaking, it's a good rule that any day I spend thinking more of other people's offenses than my own is a bad day."
So the next time you find yourself spending the day criticizing those around you, take a good look in the mirror and think about the standards that you yourself should be living by.