Responses to Tuesday Column  Do Women Sin?”


Nathan Crawford said...


I think it may be that your question is flawed. I mean, is sin "stuff" or "things" that you do? or is it more of a disposition that one has that comes out in things that people do? And then, the sinful disposition comes out in other ways than men?

Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:08:55 PM


James Petticrew said...

Could it be it is socially acceptable for young men to own up to their darkest sins but not young women. I ask the question because on a blog I read recently a young woman confessed her struggle with porn, her opens and the anonimity afforded by the web opened a flood gate of young women admitting they struggled with many of the things young men do but that it is not acceptable for them to publicly or privately talk about such things in "christian" circles. Could this be true of some of your students, as the generation brought up on the net I suspect so.
Where you may be on to something is with the classification of sin as sin. I remember reading some survey that revealed that many American Christian teens did not regard oral sex as "sex" and therefore was not sinful. Could this redefining of sin be a factor?

Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:13:00 PM



Pastor Joel Byer said...

In my opinion, I think that the reason we seem to think that women sin less is because we have imbibed cultural ideas that have become now accepted as "Christian". We now believe that feminine spirituality is the epitomy of Christian graces. (Hyperbole...but I'm making my point).
Then we subconsciously interpret sins and good and evil through that grid, and voila!...we get lists like your students have.
So, I'm with John Eldridge and others who believe that the pendulum has swung too far. Yes, there were some preacher in the early holiness movement who were all about strong preaching and little about tender love, but now we've gone the other way, to where men are expected to in reality become a little more feminine.
We need both!
It's a Christian culture where the soothing flannelgraph Jesus Who never did anything but love is preached...but rarely a Jesus Who was so strong and unflinching in His preaching that they actually took Him out and crucified Him!

What I'm saying is this: The reason that we tend all too often to label masculine sins as more serious than the feminine ones, is not because women (or men!) are more naturally "spiritual" than the other, it's because we've transplanted our post-modern cultural values and called them Biblical values.

Practically speaking, I've heard men talk about "problem women", and women talk about "problem men". When we start picking and choosing one race, gender, or ethnicity as more spiritual than another, it reveals OUR faulty perception of Biblical values, not some problem with ____! (fill in your age, gender, etc. group here.)

Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:15:28 PM



Scott David Hendricks said...

I too wonder if women are struggling with some sins that have not been aired often enough that they would willingly mention them, whereas men have aired Drury's "Foul Four."

In one post, Ken Schenck mentioned how his female students were not only more organized and got better grades, but that he perceived that they were often more spiritual. I would be less willing to say that this is the story behind Dr. Drury's repeated response in class, but what if: we have the women on campus are more spiritual than the men? What if they really do struggle with lesser sins?

Or: Do not resentment and bitterness involve pride, or even give birth to it? If lust and internet pornography are "private" sins that affect the mind of men (as we are discussing here, but of course all examples would stand true for both sexes), do they make it hard for them to think of and treat women they encounter in public in a healthy and respectful manner? Do resentment and bitterness belittle other people, devalue and distance them from ourselves?

According to this list, men struggle with 1) Lust and internet pornography, and 2) pride and anger.
Women struggle with 1) self esteem and 2) resentment, bitterness, and lack of trust. As I see it, it is possible that for both men and women, whose minds work differently, that the sins in categories 2 are similar or related, or even comparable in seriousness. The sins in category 1 belittle the human individual, whether it be one's own self, or others; not to mention that the other sins belittle others as well.

Is it possible that the case as stated by both women and men is really true, but that we just see the men's sins as worse. Or perhaps they are worse, but still very related to women's sin. Does the outcome of original sin change from individual to individual, or between sexes? In other words, are men and women just susceptible to different sins because of the same natural pull toward sin because of their biological differences? Women are not nearly as visually stimulated as men. My mother told me today, and has told me a number of times in the past that if she saw a good-looking man in nothing but a bathing suit, she wouldn't be the least bit inclined to lust after him in any way. Women seem to be more relationally oriented, or at least more social than men (at least sometimes they do); so do the sins of pride and anger for women stand out to them as their struggle of how they interact with others? And are men generally better loners? Are they more inclined to think highly of THEMSELVES (notice here pride separates the individual from the group, and self-oriented, while women mention a similar sin in terms of how it affects others), and more likely to become angry by THEMSELVES? Guys can let things go pretty fast sometimes, especially if they can play a game of basketball as a result of making up. I heard on TV (I know, dangerous) that the huge majority of murders are committed by men, and not women. Do men deal with rage, more than bitterness?

A lot of writing and reading. Sorry. No one will probably read it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006 11:09:54 PM


Greg DuBois said...

You mentioned "the grip of original sin." That original sin is pride isn't it? And isn't it pride that keeps us from admitting sin? So in a very simple formula one could conclude that women can't think of their sins because the great sin of pride is at the top of the list! But men are more humble and open.
Perhaps that oversimplifies because I appreciate much in the other responses about how our culture has shaped our ability to respond to the question.
I also see the obvious link that the men's list of sins actually belittles women, hence women suffer from low self esteem because of the men's sins. It's ALL men's fault! That's the message of our feminstistic culture. And that still feeds women's secret pride.
All this from a man who often points out, tongue in cheek, that women should not be annoyed that the Bible seems so patriarchal and always addressed to the male gender. If the Bible talks as if men run the world, it all implies that men really are more to blame for all the world's problems! Outside of Jezebel, how many diabolically evil women are portrayed in Scripture?
In spite of the above, I know women struggle with their own list of besetting sins, even if it is difficult for them to identify them. I know this because I am married to a sinner. But so is everyone else so don't feel sorry for me. I love mine very much.

Monday, March 13, 2006 4:48:48 AM


JohnLDrury said...

Could it be that another way of interpreting this data is not that women sin less but that low-self-esteem is more of a sin than we ever realized? Is not low-self-esteem the greatest single cause of young girls "acting out" and hurting themselves and others? Before we rush to dismiss this admission of sin by women, we might want to consider the grain of truth in it. Of course, it would need radical theological reinterpretation (e.g., naming it "sloth" - being less than human, in contrast to pride, trying to be more than human). But we should explore this admission rather than try to look for something else.

Monday, March 13, 2006 10:16:36 AM


Amanda said...

A woman who thinks too lowly of herself could easily become engaged in:

1. Gossip--Bringing down other women in a feeble attempt to elevate herself.

2. Extra marital affairs--trying to find worth in someone else's eyes.

3. Substance abuse/self mutilation--"If I'm not worth much, it doesn't matter what I do to my body."

4. Refusing God's grace--"I am not worthy."

5. Enabling more-than-human-men by operating under the mindset that
he's so much smarter than I am--surely he knows what's best.

6. Eatting disorders--"I must change myself into someone I'm not."

7. Passing along the inferior gene--daughters who see their mother's struggle with self-esteem issues will follow in their steps without intervention.

8. Refusal to answer God's call to ministry--"Surely God can't call someone like me...I'll ignore that prompting."

9. Inappropriate dress--"Look at me! Look at me! Someone please pay attention to me--fill this need to matter to someone."

If we treat lack-of-self as a minor/baby/easy sin, we are essentially blocking women from seeing the full extent of their sin and thereby keeping them from finding full repentance.

The sin of lack-of-self is a lingering sin that seeps into every aspect of life.

Women don't need more sins to choose from, we need to address what we already see head on--see it in all of it's grime and destruction. We need this sin to be taken seriously.


Monday, March 13, 2006 12:02:43 PM



The AJ Thomas said...

I think amanda seems to know what she is talking about. My questions would be is lack of self esteem really a sin? I'm not saying it's good and I'm not saying it doesen't lead to sinful behaviour, I'll even buy it's a result of the fall but it seems to me more like a weakness the devil prays on to tempt with real sin

Monday, March 13, 2006 12:26:30 PM


daniel said...

I think "lack of self-esteem" is another way of saying "envy". Think about it, you can't think less of yourself unless you are comparing what "you've got" to what "they've got" and finding yourself lacking. It's self-destructive envy; but, it's still envy.

I think a young man struggling with internet porn is struggling with envy/low self-esteem as well. Again, generally comparing what "he's got" with what "they've got" and fantasizing about putting himself in their place.

Anger and bitterness are also next of kin. Anger often leads to resentment and bitterness.

The only real differences I can see are the differences between Pride and "lack of trust". One could juggle the ideas around and say that if you can't trust other people, you are only trusting yourself - which is fairly prideful - but it's a stretch at best.

Also, I'm surprised noone mentioned things like greed, gluttony, gossip (and probably several other G words).

Monday, March 13, 2006 12:38:25 PM


Randy said...

Your students don't list dishonesty?

Monday, March 13, 2006 1:41:14 PM


Anonymous said...

Interesting! I'm not surprised that these are the answers you received from "christian college students" who have been conditioned to think and act certain ways. I would be willing to bet your answers would be totally different if you surveyed a more realistic sample of men and women in society today. Maybe this is just a "holiness movement" issue.

Monday, March 13, 2006 1:59:01 PM


Jeanine Long said...

I am surprised at the use of the terms “bad sins” for the men and “minor sins” for the women. In the Nazarene Churches that I have grown up in, sin is sin. There are no bad or minor sins. If it’s sin, it’s sin. I am afraid that we have become desensitized to the point that we categorize the intensity that we are sliding from the faith and thus justify our wrongs. If the Word of God calls it sin – well, then it is sin. I would also suggest that if your survey was conducted on-line and students were assured confidentiality, your results unfortunately may not differ so by gender.

Monday, March 13, 2006 2:34:24 PM

Thinking in Ohio said...

My inital response was, "Low-self esteem is NOT a sin." But John and Amanda have got me thinking more deeply about it. Amanda really helped by connecting the dots from "low self-esteem" to some issues that are more defined in scripture... and because she is a woman, she is probably better able to make that connection for most of us.

You ask, have we labeled “male sins” crimes, while mislabeling the temptations of women as less severe? I agree with a lot of the comments above that we have become "culturally conditioned" toward a bias against men. We do consider these "foul four" greater sins than those listed by the women in the group... and I'm not sure that's as bibilcally based as it is culturally. And I agree with James Petticrew when he suggests that it maybe more acceptable for men to confess their sins than it is for women to do so.

On the other hand, women have always been the backbone of the church and I agree with Ken Shneck, they often are the more passionate followers of Christ.

I'm surprised none of the women listed gossip or jealousy. It's a generalization, but those seem to be two of the besetting sins of women (in my opinion). But again, I think Amanda did us a service by linking the fruit of sin to the root.

Monday, March 13, 2006 2:47:28 PM



David Drury said...

Facinating discussion starter here. I agree that Mandy's list of "low-self-esteem sins" is a good start for women in gaining awareness of what sins they may have a proclivity towards.

However, in general the most facinating issue is how your classes "behaved" in the discussion. Others have noted that shows the cultural sense that "guys are sinners."

I also think this disparity might be broadest in college students -- since guys tend to be "more real" with one another in college than at any other time in life. And I've often wondered if women are actually "most fake" in college. :-)

I am now prepared to be stoned by every college girl who just read that discriminatory sentence.


Monday, March 13, 2006 3:26:32 PM


Jared said...

I think Amanda has given us all the best reason yet for having more women preachers--women know how to preach on "women’s sins” better then males tend to trivialize them even if they mention them at all.

Maybe your women students were not able to actually list their sins-by-name (like Amanda did) because for 20 years they've heard exclusively male preachers who keep using their own gender’s sins as examples? We might get a more balanced approach to the sinfulness of both kinds of sin if we had both genders in the pulpit.

Monday, March 13, 2006 3:40:53 PM


Kurt A Beard said...

Is low self-esteem is a gateway sin, like pot is a gateway drug? Could it be that men struggle with low self esteem yet name the other sins it causes, what Daniel seems to say. What Amanda lists is the fruit of low self-esteem in women (generalizing) and what your students list is the fruit of low self-esteem in men (generalizing).

Women may be thinking, “If I can get my self-esteem up my other sins will go down.” While men compartmentalize their sins, “I will deal with porn then in 6 months when I can control that sin I will work on my anger.” Women may be jumping straight to the root cause while men banter around because social norms make it difficult to be a male with low self-esteem? It seems more social acceptable to be a male with a porn addiction than a male with low self-esteem.

Monday, March 13, 2006 6:26:10 PM


Jo said...

note: I have not read any of the previous comments so I apologize if this is redundant.

I think that we women are less likely to ADMIT when we are struggling. Even though those sins listed above SEEM more minor, we should also think about how OFTEN and Deeply we struggle with them. If I have held a grudge my whole life, that is a terribly besetting sin, and probably does as much damage to myself as one of the so-called "major" sins to which a man might be more prone.

In holiness environments, women are socialized inadvertently that in order to be affirmed by the community as a "godly" woman [read: good] one must always [appear to] be pious. Therefore confession (even in generalized form) of sin is taboo for a woman; so she has no one to help her out of it or hold her accountable. For example, when I was a teenager, I was far more likely to talk to my secular non-Christian friends when I was frustrated or angry with my parents than I was with my evangelical Christian peers. I was terribly ashamed if I ever had a non-Elizabeth Eliot-ian reaction.

If I, as a woman, were to generalize common sins among us, they would be:

1). Obsession with APPEARING pietistic.
2). Obsession with one's body/attractiveness (idolatry)
3). Grudge-holding
Worship of her boyfriend/husband to the point where she never forms or has chosen to "lose" her own individual autonomy.

Also, perhaps women are less likely to NOTICE their own sins, because they often spend more time and energy figuring out how to please others; they lose their "Self" in the process. Thus, they become unaware of their own state.

Monday, March 13, 2006 11:39:10 PM


Anonymous said...

lots of interesting things here...

"Also, perhaps women are less likely to NOTICE their own sins, because they often spend more time and energy figuring out how to please others; they lose their "Self" in the process. Thus, they become unaware of their own state. "

that statement made me go, hmmm... so maybe idolatry is on the women's list? i never thought about that.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 1:57:39 AM


Christin said...

Okay, so my question is where is the line between sin and dysfunction/brokeness? Are they one and the same?
In my head, sin is those base gerunds: lying, stealing, cheating, coveting, slandering.
But low-self esteem is more of a state of being - a state of brokeness, which is a result of The Fall and can lead to sinful behavior, but just seems different than sin.
Sin needs redemption but brokeness healing.
Is there a line between the two? Or are they the same thing? Even if they aren't than I still say, "Yes, women sin!" We tell lies, we cheat, we practice forms of deciet and idolatry.
But if we're talking about low self-esteem, I just can't see that as a condition which would separate us from God.
Perhaps, my definition of sin is too narrow.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 3:52:55 AM


S. Raekers said...

In comparing sexual sin (of men) with sin of low self-esteem (women) you are comparing twoo different things, because:

watching porn is a sin in behavior, while having to less self-esteem is in the first place not a sin in behavior.
I think (as a clinical psychologist) that too low self-esteem is at the level below the factual sins in behavior. The behavioral sins the can come forth from too low self-esteem are beautifully listed/illustrated by Amanda.

Coming to sins of men. Behind their sexual sin of watching pornography, lust anger etc., lies (at a deeper level) a kind of resistance (rebellionism), or perhaps a lack of self-control.

So, in coming to my point, if you want to compare sins of women with sins of men, I think its's important to compare them at the same level. Or at the roots of their sins (the cause so to speak) or at the actual beavior, which is often the outcome of deeper lying wouds or defects (or something the like).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 4:45:54 AM



Jo said...

Cristin brings up a good point. There is a difference between sin and "infirmity."

I was taught that sin, as defined by Wesley, is "a voluntary transgression of a known law of God." So it involves a choice.

Infirmities are weaknesses that we either inherit or are unconciously socialized into. These weaknesses make us more suseptible to falling into sin. I'm gonna use an example outside our discussion to illustrate: a biological tendancy toward depression is an infirmity, not a sin. The depression does not necessarily "separate us from God" but it does inhibit us from experiencing abundant life, relating in community, etc.

Sins need to be cleansed by the Blood; infirmities need to be healed...and the healing of infirmities is more often a process, not an instantaneous deliverance.
(All the more reason why accessibility of Christian counseling is so important in our communities).

So the question remains, is low self-esteem inherited/developed sociologically, or is it a continual choice? or a bit of both depending on the person? God alone knows our hearts, but I suspect that He will reveal to the individual what his/her actual state is, if he/she asks Him to. I don't think the answer is clear to anyone on the outside.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 8:36:06 AM


Anonymous said...

hehe, Jesus was a man and didn't have trouble preaching about women's sins and he didn't call for more women preachers to do it either! Oh God, what has happened to the ministry. No wonder it is impotent!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:34:20 AM



Ryan Schmitz said...

All I have is a top four (in no particular order) that my wife and I were discussing last night:


“White” Lies



I guess that anyone could label these as "minor sins" but they are sins that cripple women and hold them prisoner. They are also sins that hold women back from become all that God wants them to be in all of their roles and relationships.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:35:17 AM


Anonymous said...

Why do you need self-esteem anyway? It seems to me that those who have deep relationships with the Lord have no trouble with who they are! In fact, they have lots of folks trying to be like them instead of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:36:27 AM

Craig Moore said...

Only in America would not loving myself enough be considered a sin! Maybe your female students agreement that low self esteem is their besetting sin is the result of a culture and society that promotes self obsession.

I think maybe their sin is buying into a culture that says no one is more important than ME!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 1:44:44 PM


april said...

Perhaps you should first ask, what is sin? Sins are not simply a list of socially aknowledged wrong things. Sin is whatever action or inaction that damages our relationship with God. If we look at sin from this perspective, and if we were to be honest in our confessions, I believe all of our "lists" would be a lot longer.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 3:53:25 PM


Anonymous said...

As for women's sins and needing more women preachers to deal with women's issues, a man was the master (I know it is hard to believe but imagine that!).

The woman with an issue of blood well represents what many women on earth face....persistent, in-your-face, uncleanness for years. And, it did not take a woman preacher to meet that deepest sermon need! Maybe the problem is not in needing additional preachers or preachers that can speak to women's sins, maybe the problem lies in the preachers we already have not being able to speak to sin period. Just a thought!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 6:20:33 PM


Amanda said...

It's not that men CAN'T preach about women's sin, it's that many men DON'T.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006 7:19:30 PM



Ken Schenck said...

You've convinced me, Amanda. I resolve to preach more about how sinful women are...

I guess I don't necessarily see women in general having less sin than men, at least not in broader American culture. Do men really have more pride on average than women, even if more women do have inappropriately low self value than men? And hell hath no fury... women can manipulate and back stab... maybe less frontal assault but the passive assault hurts too.

Maybe this is parallel to the "all sin is sin" discussion. The overall sins of men may often have worse consequences than the overall sins of women. But I have found myself saying of women as well as of myself, "the heart of 'man' is desperately wicked, who can know it?"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 9:22:20 PM


Jeff Switter said...

Low self-esteem is a backward form of pride because it is obsessed with self. Men and women both suffer from low self-esteem and pride. Romance novels can have the same fantasy-lust effects for women as porn does for men, although they don't carry the same stigma. Sin is a common HUMAN problem. If we think either men or women are more spiritual by nature than the other we may need a better definition of spirituallity.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:10:51 AM


Wild-at-heart said...

After reading all the comments above I want to disagree. Many writers took extraordinary effort to pronounce male and female besetting sins equally serious--but I don't believe them. It is purely a theoretical distinction and doesn't play out in real life--in the church or in marriages.

Have you heard of a woman removed from her ministry for low self-esteem?

Do you know of any women who have lost their pastoral positions because of their resentment against her mother?

Do you know women preachers who have been refused ordination when they confessed to an eating disorder?

While most everyone above claims (especially the women)that women's besetting sins are just as serious as male sins--I don't believe it: or they would treat them so.

Would these women who claim their besetting sins are equally evil as men's treat their husband's addiction to porn just like they'd expect him to treat her own eating disorder?

The way we penalize these sins proves that deep down we believe (women, men and the whole church) exactly what the women students in the study believed: male sins are far more serious and require more serious penalties. Women's sins (to us) are minor infractions that deserve "help" and "recovery" and "counseling" but do not require any penalty.

We either need to admit that their is a two-tier system of sins in the church, or we need to equalize our treatment of equally serious sins.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 9:05:27 AM


Glenn Harris said...

The problem I see with the question is that people are describing severity in terms of the visible impact of the acts and not the in the actual damage the act does. Using the illustration of my kids, I understand that when I was raising my boys vs. raising my daughter it is plain to see that with my boys I was dealing with a tendency of "smacking an opponent down" with their fists while with my daughter I deal with "smacking an opponent down" with their tongue. Both acts are equally severe and do equal damage but guess which one gets me called to the principle's office. If the question were reworded to ask, instead of the acts, the motives or the damage done, I think you may get a much different and much more gender neutral response. Males are more apparent and their "sins" can be more visible, but women are equally capable of inflicting serious damage to themselves, others and the body of Christ.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 10:07:44 AM


Anonymous said...

You know, I sat under a pastor who spend less time on sin and most of his time on the transformation process of God in man's life and teaching his charges scripture and one could not help but have to deal with sin/sins. Maybe the reason the "holiness" tradition is failing is because of their obsession with "sin". Do you want God to deal with sin or sins? And if so, how do you want it done, God's way or your preconceived theological way?

Give me a man who knows God deeply and pretty soon, sin won't be a problem--the power of sin will automatically be broken through no effort of his own!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 12:00:33 PM


Anonymous said...

This topic raises a related concern for me. I think this may partly explain why there are typically so many more women in the church than men. If men are more 'inclined' to committ the 'more serious' sins, it makes being part of the church a much more difficult endeavor for men, and makes being truly 'spiritual' a losing battle. And what man wants to be part of an organization where he can never measure up to the women?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 12:18:25 PM


John Mark said...

My wife says her greatest temptation, without being specific, is idolatry, looking to something, or someone to meet a need only God can.
I shared this article with my Childrens pastor, who laughed and said she didn't see how anyone could label low self-esteem as a sin.
Could low self-esteem lead to idolatry? I don't know.....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:58:42 PM



JohnLDrury said...

John Mark,

Reinterpreting low self-esteem as idolatry is exactly what some theologians have done. Diane Leclerc brilliantly demostrates that John Wesley understood sin primarily as idolatry, with two subsets: pride, and inordinate affection. Pride is idolatry of self, inordinate affection is idolatry of others. In either case, the focus of the self is not on God, and therefore idolatry sets in. Without over-genderizing sin, Leclerc notes that broadly speaking men struggle more with the former and women the latter, and that Wesley was sensitive to this especially in his correspondence. I find this schema to be helpful in organizing the discussion. And you are certainly right that we cannot simply label low self esteem a sin without major theological reinterpretation.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 6:16:58 PM



Joel said...

Here's a radical idea! :-)
Why not go to Scripture and simply find the place where sins/problems/weaknesses especially pertaining to women are listed? For instance, Jesus is clearly singling out men when he states that looking on a women to lust is adultery.
So here's a brief list of "women's sins". I'm having fun here being controversial... :-) (Hear me out before you jump to conclusions)

Pr 27:15 ¶ A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. - sin of nagging
Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
- sin of not keeping a good home and obeying their husbands
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
- silly women who unstable and misleading in their story-telling

1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
- sin of immodesty and lack of simplicity
1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
- sin of speaking out in church

OK, is this just me, or do these representative verses make one feel very uncomfortable? They seem so...sexist and stereotypical. Just a bunch of silly, old gossiping women. Yikes!
No wonder we feel more comfortable talking about men's sins then women's.

However, I believe that if we are willing to study deeper into these verses and not just ignore them because they make us cringe, we will first of all correct some misguided notions that a first reading of these verses might bring, but THEN it might also help us to accept the politically incorrect notion that women DO?! have gender-specific sins.

Hey! Just stirring the pot a little! I might even believe a lot of what I just posted :-)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006 6:23:48 PM


Jeanine Long said...

Well, I have listened and I have read, and I have tried to be open minded. But I don’t buy it. I still believe that sin is sin. There are not lesser or greater sins. I see no reference otherwise in the Bible. (I suppose that statement would make my mother proud!) Having spend almost 20 years working in the mental health arena before moving back into academia as a college instructor, I can tell you that a woman’s low self esteem can lead her in areas of destruction just as quickly and as those “bad boy” sins you guys are talking about. Bad relationships (looking for love in all the wrong places), pornography (viewing and/or participating in – you know someone models for those pictures and acts in those movies), prostitution (selling self to establish value), need I go on? And low self esteem is always the gate way or the root at the bottom of these sins. Low self esteem is a symptom of a far greater problem – come on dig a little deeper. I am afraid that what we are doing here is straining at gnats. Instead, what are we doing to actually help our students to see and understand that they do not have to live without a full understanding that there is help and that they do not have to live this way? I do not have the advantage (and yes, you better view it as an advantage) of working at a Christian college. I work for a wonderful state institution. But a week does not go by that I do not have students come to my office asking for spiritual help. Students are hungry. What are we doing to feed them? Straining over gnats? Or directing them to the real answers? OK, I’ll step off the soap box now!

Thursday, March 16, 2006 8:16:31 AM


Anonymous said...

I'm getting the feeling here that:

-Women insist their sins are just as serious as male sins.

-But they do not want to address the fact that they and the church PUNISH male sins severely while dismissing female sins.

I agree with Wild-at-heart that nobody ever loses their pastoral position for these "women's sins" the women are claiming are "just as bad" as male sins. Their insistence on this is only theoretical--claiming so never costs them anything.

When I see the church (and women in particular) dealing with their husband’s/Pastor’s lust or pornography addiction like they expect others to deal with their own eating disorder—THEN I’ll believe their claim that these sins are equivalent.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:41:21 AM


Joe said...

Perhaps your students need to read James 4:17 again.

Perhaps women tend more toward sins of omission...

Thursday, March 16, 2006 3:37:03 PM


Joe said...

After reading more comments I must say that I agree that "men's sins" are treated MUCH worse than "women's sins".

One more comment.
Anger is an emotion NOT a sin. It can lead to sin but doesn't have to (Ephesians 4).

Thursday, March 16, 2006 4:17:48 PM


JustKara said...

I think I agree that the listings above of “women’s besetting sins” are equally serious as men’s in God’s sight even though the church or DSs/bishops would treat them differently in ministers.

But I must confess I am tired of the most common woman’s sin in my church: spiritual pride. In small groups, women’s support groups, MOPS and especially in groups of two women in the hallways or while shopping--- the “prayer requests” for husbands simply drip with spiritual superiority. Many of our women only hope that their men will rise up to their own level of spirituality and when they share deep secrets about their husbands private sins the usual response from other women is almost always the same sort or “Oh my, can you belieeeeeve it?!” condemnation. Yes, I believe women sin just like men, and yes, I believe women may not pay as much (external) penalty for their sins in the church and culture, but I wonder if the spiritual pride (especially of married women) is considered a dirtier sin by far than the sins of men we whisper to each other about.

Thursday, March 16, 2006 5:52:24 PM


The AJ Thomas said...

I'm with Annon. Until we respond (ie fire them, make them stop teaching sunday school, etc.) to them the same it's hypocrisy to say we believe men’s and women’s sins are the same.

Friday, March 17, 2006 7:38:10 AM


Thinking in Ohio said...

Aren't some sins of greater offense than others? Who would place murder on the same tier as cheating on a test? Or how can we compare a husband or wife committing adultery with say. One is worse than the other and the OT bears this out. The law of Moses didn't demand "stoning" for just any crime... and the same is true of our judical system, we don't execute bank robbers... we save that for the Jeffery Dalmers in society. As far as I can tell from this discussion women may sin just of often as men... but (comparing the lists) men's sins are of greater consequence.

Friday, March 17, 2006 12:54:27 PM

JWW said…

Perhaps sub-consciencely this is why years ago the "ole-line" holiness preachers (churches) took women to task repeatedly regarding their superfluous adornment, long hair, jewelry, long sleeves, long skirts, etc. They didn't have other sins for women equal to the sins of men, so they created a few. As it turned out, these grave sins of women kept the church embroiled in a constant atmosphere of discontent. I don't ever recall hearing any preacher preaching against men wearing a tie (superfluous adornment), although I think there was a few that did. Now that these matters to not concern The Wesleyan Church anymore, women are getting a free pass (or so it would appear to some).

Posted by Joe Watkins to Tuesday Column Responses at 3/20/2006 09:55:07 AM


Keith Drury winds up…

Boy never expected so much thinking on this ojne—you surprised me.  My summary thoughts after reading your responses.

1. I do not believe that “all sins are the same” for the converted person.  For the unsaved I do believe that any sin can condemn a person, but I accept the early church’s position most clarified by Augustine that there are indeed “greater  and “lighter” sins. So I can accept that some sins are lighter than others—in consequences and even in their offense against God.  Sin is falling short of God’s intention—but to fall short by unintentionally saying something that hurts another person is lighter (even to God) than murder.  Hardly any American believes this today having been totally brainwashed by the Baptistification of local church theology—but I go with the early church on this one. 


2. Of course women sin—the question is a silly one if that were the real question.  What was behind the question is why college women have a difficult time naming the besetting sins of women, and when they did do so why the list does not appear “serious” to men.  I am still not clear on this, but some of you have made a good argument that younger women may be less aware of their sinfulness than more mature women.  Though at least some of you thought this visual impairment continued in married and older women as well.


3. I think you may have convinced me that women’s besetting sins may be equally serious as men’s in God’s sight even if humans do not consider them so.  Especially a woman guilty if spiritual pride.  And I was easily convinced of this for I don’t have a place in my theology for males somehow being more evil than women.  I might even reject hard evidence of this based on theology alone!


4. Yet I am also more inclined to admit that women’s sins do not seem to have the same consequences—if their sins are just as great their (social, church, family)  penalties are lighter.  Several of you have repeatedly made that point well.  Some of you have argued that women’s besetting sins are more internal and attitudinal and thus have less social and church penalties while God may actually view them more seriously—it is an interesting argument.


4. I am not ready to lighten the penalties for “male sins.”  Even if poor self esteem is somehow idolatry I am not prepared to say, “well, my wife is an idolater and I am an adulterer—so what?”  I know this leaves me with a dual standard gender-wise, but I am not prepared to equate adultery with poor self-esteem.


5. I resist naming infirmities as sin.   I do not believe poor self esteem is a sin—it is an infirmity.  (Likewise I do not believe anger is sin, it is an emption).  Infirmities can be treated, helped, recovered from, counseled but not forgiven.  I know almost all the women students in my classes will disagree with me on poor self-esteem not being a sin but I am yet unconvinced.   Women sin and I have found on the lists above (especially from women) some real serious ones that are detestable in God’s eyes, but I am unconvinced that poor self-esteem is one of them or even a root cause of all other sins. I shall not list the ones above I think are women’s besetting sins—I need to have a sit-down with my wife first . ;-)


6. I don’t know how to help women be more sensitive to their sins.   Usually our answer to making people more sensitive to their sins is convicting preaching. Amanda thinks men should be able to do this as well as women.  I am less confident of this than her.  Perhaps men should be able to do this but I know few who are either equipped or willing to do so.   Maybe male preachers need help from their wives in this area.  Maybe we all need a sit-down with our wives to make the very lists I called my students to make.  Male preachers may need two or three “feminine sins” to list with their usual pornography or lust examples. 


7. Thank you for you thoughtful input.  Wow!  You’ve really helped clarify some of this for me (and perhaps for each other).  I gathered most of the comments and listed them above and closed down the responses several days early—when they reached 50 responses… my self-imposed limit for responses.  I’m not finished thinking about this, and I bet you aren’t either.  If you write something on it send it my way, OK?

--Keith Drury