Like It or Not, Some Sins Are Relative

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving … 1 Tim. 4:4

By Carol McClain: @carol_mcclain

A friend of mine hated  rock music. In his youth, the lyrics led him to drug use and immorality. As a Christian, God convicted him. This form of music drove him to sin, and he could not listen to it any longer. Being a godly man, he obeyed.

The only problem this created, though, was the idea that if rock music was sinful to him, it was sinful to everyone. 

We belonged to a church that believed 1 Cor. 8:9–that our liberty could never be a stumbling block to the weak. Ergo, if my friend could not listen to rock music, none of us could. Furthermore, none of us should ever disagree with him.

This became a problem for me. If he didn’t like music, I couldn’t. enjoy it or admit I did. 

Things snowballed. Another person thought dancing a sin. Therefore, no one danced. However, dancing before the Lord was mandated. If you didn’t, you were sinful…

On and on it went.

These good-intentioned self-denials were another form of legalism. The only thing God asked of me was to not blare my Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston music in his presence. I could talk about it, admit going to the concerts, etc.

I come from a long line of alcoholics. God convicted me early about drinking, and I don’t. It doesn’t mean my Christian friends can’t drink. The Bible forbids drunkenness, but not the consumption of wine or beer or a Cosmo. I have no right to demand everyone adhere to my conviction.

The truth is, some sins are relative. (click to tweet)

Some–like drunkenness or immorality are absolute, yes.

But long ago, I learned sin is sin for only two reasons:

 If a particular addiction hurts you or others–we must abstain.

Are there things you abstain from because of personal reasons?


  1. Katrina M Glover says:

    Another great post!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. Perhaps I'm not as focused in the topic as I would've liked.

  3. I do agree with where your going. I would say that, to preserve the definition of "sin" even for an alcoholic, having a drink may just be, not a sin, but still a very bad idea. So maybe, sin is not so relative as is our perception of it. Maybe we should stick closer the Bible's absolute definition of sin, rather than our our own, filtered through our perspective which is at best, through a glass, darkly, and colored by the laws (culture) of man. You do shed a good light on an important aspect of our Christian faith. Unfortunately, some, unwilling to think things through to what you're getting at, might misunderstand and, therefore, flatly reject your statements without seeing the deeper truth you are unveiling. So, though I don't particularly like your title, kudos to the concept, and even the shocking hook that draws people into reading your message.

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