Spiritual Post – Are There Really No “Levels” of Evil?

criminal sapd

My husband’s department just caught this man recently.  A fairly notorious criminal.  There are many out there just like him waiting to be caught.  It’s eye-opening to me when I see the photos and look into their eyes.  Which I have done… more than a few times.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my husband on the news, doing the “Perp Walk” as they call it, bringing in a man who just shot a bullet into another man’s head over road rage (they were actually both at fault – the man inciting the rage kept fighting with him… apparently, that’s normal in road rages cases).

When he arrived at the scene there were brains all over the inside of the car, and a giant gaping hole in side of the man’s head.  He can see this kind of stuff and eat a sandwich at the same time – doesn’t even phase him anymore.

But looking into the eyes of the murderer my husband brought in (and seeing my husband there as well, looking like a darn hero – because he is!), really put into perspective the difference between good and evil, and how shallow Christians are when they try to say everyone is the same in their hearts just because everyone sins.

It is true though that just ONE sin will send someone to hell.  But not every person will shoot a bullet into the head of their enemy, let alone a stranger who cut them off in traffic. Not everyone harms children and goes about with no guilt… for decades, like pedophiles typically do.

Not everyone is a reprobate, and we should never judge all people by lumping them in with the truly evil and diabolic.  Everyone is capable of such evil to be sure!  But not everyone decides to act on their most evil fantasies and basest thoughts.  Everyone is a sinner, but there are different levels of sin and evil that is within someone’s heart.

Something I’m grateful for when watching from the sidelines what my husband deals with on the regular, is that it’s taught me things like this.  It’s taught me to be more appreciative of the normal sinners, even though they clearly still need God, they are not the same, and should never be judged the same by us, as evil doers.  His work and the stories he can tell, have even made me be able to judge character better from afar, which is a safety measure against potential harm and evil doers.

This video above is excellent in explaining the principle God has of reaping and sowing.

The man in the video plainly states that if someone continues sowing sin, they will eventually reap a much harder life for themselves, full of all kinds of problems.  The point is not whether or not they can be saved from their sin, and it’s not even asking whether “big” sinners receive the same punishment as “little” sinners.  No, the point is that some sins have greater eternal consequences and judgments!  If you’re a Christian, this is a super important topic to understand fully, lest you get it wrong and lead many other people astray by adding words to the Bible!  The Bible warns that “not very many of you should be teachers,” because teachers (male or female) will be rightfully judged harsher when they get it wrong or lead others astray, because they have a huge responsibility to first, get it right, and second, to be humble enough to admit when someone has pointed out that they were wrong.

Personally, I’ve found that the Christians who do make these mistakes, are typically not able to admit their wrongdoing, but instead keep plunging ahead into more sin themselves by continuing to lead others astray.  It’s a problem of humility, when we’re not open to corrective discipline or criticism.  Even if an enemy is criticizing you, you always have to check if there is truth in it.

In the video, the man also talks about how Jesus reveals there are different levels of sin (or degrees of evil).  Not only do different kinds of sin have different kinds of real world consequences, they also are viewed differently by God in that they seem to have different eternal consequences.

Either way, the point or “takeaway” should not be that evil people can’t be saved – the murderer that my husband brought in may someday repent – and that would be wonderful!  God tells us in Ezekiel that He craves people like that to finally someday repent, and that He allows them into Heaven, even if they repent right before their death! 

We can’t have a superior attitude that denies even the worst of sinners God’s acceptance if they repent – but we should have a good attitude toward them and accept them back in.

So the takeaway should be a warning that yes, there are different levels of sin, and all sin separates us from God.  Jesus speaks on the different levels of sin a few times, warning people who repeatedly sow evil, or do truly treacherous deeds, that their punishment is harsher, both here on earth, and also in eternity.

Our God is a just and wonderful God, who sees everything and judges accordingly.  For that, I am so so grateful!

Stephanie

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9 thoughts on “Spiritual Post – Are There Really No “Levels” of Evil?

  1. “It is true though that just ONE sin will send someone to hell. ”

    That statement itself is problematic. Perhaps the problem with Christianity, at least Protestant Christianity here in the US, is that everyone is interpreting the Bible in their own subjective way. At last count, there are something like 28,000 denominations or splinter groups in the US claiming to be Christian. Such confusion.

    When I admonish people to govern their religious fervor with reason, they often miss the point.

  2. Can you expand on how the statement is problematic? Problematic to others hearing it? Well, sure, no one wants to know that ONE sin makes them ineligible for heaven, and that we are all born with the stain of sin to boot, meaning we are, from birth, condemned! That’s why the good news is the good news! We may be born with the stain of sin, but Christ’s sacrifice washed those stains away, provided we accept Him as our savior!

    I would definitely agree with the other half of your comment, though, and I have tried to be vocal about the fact that, yes, Protestantism has turned into a big ball of scriptural silly putty, with no two churches believing alike. It leads to confusion and frustration for both believers and non-believers, but try to tell a modern Western Christian that they should believe the words of the bible and not what others tell them they should believe and watch them go into fits of rage. Its a sad state.

  3. The real problem is people selecting certain sins to criticise while ignoring others. Many conservative Christians love to criticise the heresy of Islam, but they keep silent about homosexuality iand abortion nstead saying that we need to “love those people”. It is true that homosexuals and women who seek abortions need to be told the truth in love, but this same principle of love applies to Muslims and any other heretic, be it Hindus, pagans, atheists etc. Yet, so many Christians, including the author of this blog seem to think that the principle of love only applies to certain sinners, eg. women who seek abortions and homosexuals, but yet not to others, such as Muslims

    You may not have said explicity that only Muslims are evil, but it seems to be what you imply.

    Many of these conservative Christians of course keep silent about abortion, because they don’t want to offend “women”, who are their pet group who are of course, a group that is not be criticised in the west. The pro-life movement always takes responsibility for abortion away from the women, because they are biased towards women. This is the truth.

    Before you question my sincerity, know this: just because someone has a different view from you, or who challenges you does not mean they are not sincere. Yes, I say this to you, in reference to a previous conversation. Before you dare accuse me again “selfishly taking time away from your family by asking you to write extensive posts”, no one is asking you to do that. Rather, the problem with the professing Christians who criticise Islam in America is that they are almost always silent on homosexuality, and abortion, out of fear of criticising sinners.

    Yes, I dare challenge anyone boldly and openly where there is any problem.

    The problem is with conservative Christians in America who are full of hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and pride, who thinking on sin and evil is totally messed up. Only certain sinners are to be rebuked, but yet others are to be justified, excused or sought to be “understood”.

  4. JoJo, you have hit on one of my pet peeves. For example, we don’t dare let the active homosexual perform a role in the church yet we let the active liars and adulterers play roles in the church (each of which the Bible says will keep the unrepentant one out of heaven, so why discriminate among them). One could argue that this happens because one “sin” is obvious and the other two are not. But this discrimination of emphasizing certain sins over others goes deeper than that. And what follows is the only useful response to that problem so far as I can see. JoJo, I wonder if you have ever considered the following.

    Is it really useful to debate whether all sins are the same? We don’t care about sin so much as we care about the result of sin – being separated from God forever at the Judgement seat. Does a big sin cause your name to be striken from the Lamb’s Book of Life but a little sin does not?

    In the larger scheme of things, we are concerned with what will cause our name to be striken from the Lamb’s Book of Life. If the behavior won’t cause our name to be striken, is it worth stressing over? If it WILL cause our name to be striken, is it OK to ignore it or de-emphasize it?

    Note the two different outcomes of sin:

    ** The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people ,,, (Romans 1:18-32)

    ** My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. BUT IF ANYBODY DOES SIN, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)

    Two instances of sin. One results in the wrath of God being revealed. The other results in the activation of our advocate before the Father.

    What gives here?

    The truth is, it is not a particular behavior, a particular sin, that will get you separated from God forever at the Judgement Seat. Rather – it is the failure to heed the Holy Spirit’s call to repentance when it comes that makes the difference. Repentance is the key; not the sin. (See the difference between Peter’s response when made to face his denial of Christ versus the response of Judas. Think those two different responses through in light of the two sets of Scripture quoted above.)

    Focusing on the “size” of the sin, or the numbers of sins, totally misses the point.

  5. jojo – it occurs to me that I don’t know if you are familiar with what follows here. What I am stating here informs the comments I made in my post above. If you are familiar with it, then nevermind.

    Hebrews 9:22 says that, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin – big or little, many or few. That explains the Temple sacrifice ritual in the Jewish Temple throughout the Old Testament / Jewish Bible. Jesus willingingly became the final sacrifice for us and became that shed blood that the Bible says God requires for the forgiveness of sin.

    In what I wrote in the post above about two different outcomes of sin – note that Jesus becomes that advocate for us only when we point to his shed blood on the cross as that shedding of blood that God requires before sin can be forgiven. We aren’t likely to do that if we aren’t in a repenting mood. And we aren’t likely to point to that shed blood if we believe that Jesus was only a good man, or a good teacher, and not actually the final sacrifice that we can point to for the covering of our sin when we repent,

    This last part explains much of why so many fingers get pointed at Muslims. They believe that shedding their own blood is sufficient to give the shed blood that God is looking for. If God will only accept the shed blood of Jesus – and only then when we purposefully point to it – then the Muslims are in a bind when they flagellate themselves, draw their own blood, in their petition to God for forgiveness.

    If you don’t really know what I am talking about, go to Google Images and search on “Muslim Flagellation” – with the quotes. Trigger warning: it is quite gory. And very sad, when you understand that it is their way of asking for God’s forgiveness – assuming that the Bible is right that the only shed blood that God will accept is the shed blood of Jesus, that we point to intentionally (thereby demonstrating that we “believe on Jesus” as the New Testament commands us to do).

    Complicated subject. Just wanted to give you a glimps, to trigger your curiousity to discover more. But, if you already know this, then nevermind. Perhaps someone else will come along who does not.

  6. My husband read your comments this morning, RP, and he agreed with you. He’s already off on doing the next thing 😀 but just wanted to let you know that!

  7. @RichardP, WIth due respect to the author of the article, I agree that the focus on the size of the sin or number of sins or even the nature of the sin misses the point. Such only distracts from the need to know one has sinnned against God and is deserving of His just wrath, and eternity in Hell, and hear the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved from His just wraht.

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