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?
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?
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
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
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
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
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.)
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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).
students don't list dishonesty?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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)
5). 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
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.
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,
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.
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).
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
(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.
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!
I have is a top four (in no particular order) that my wife and I were
discussing last night:
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
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.
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
I think maybe their sin is buying into a culture that says no one is more
important than ME!
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.
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!
not that men CAN'T preach about women's sin, it's that many men DON'T.
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?"
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.
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
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
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!
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?
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
Could low self-esteem lead to idolatry? I don't know.....
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
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
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
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!
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.
your students need to read James 4:17 again.
Perhaps women tend more toward sins of omission...
reading more comments I must say that I agree that "men's sins" are
treated MUCH worse than "women's sins".
Anger is an emotion NOT a sin. It can lead to sin but doesn't have to
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.
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.
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.
Keith Drury winds
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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?