Most people think of sin as something they intentionally do. Those a little more mature in their faith recognize sin can also be things we intentionally do not do. Traditionally, we refer to these types of sins as sins of commission and sins of omission, respectively. There are, however, other types of sin. We can sin based on what we allow into our lives. There may be no active commission or omission in the circumstances, but simply allowing certain influences and voices into our lives can condition and predispose our hearts to sin.
The same goes for what we tolerate. If we refrain from engaging in sinful behavior or attitudes but tolerate it in others, we sin by not upholding the righteous standard of our King. Recognizing that sin comes in the forms of what we allow and what we tolerate will close almost every loophole we’ve created in our lives regarding sin.
Numerous books and sermons cover well the topic of the sins of commission and omission, so I want to focus on the allowance and tolerance types of sin. What influences are you allowing into your life? The content we consume significantly shapes who we become. If you spend your days consuming the news, for example, I promise you will become a more negative and fearful person. If you spend your evenings surfing the latest on Netflix (or insert your favorite channel or service here), you will feed your mind a steady diet of immorality, selfishness, and greed. Perhaps you will escape committing no conscious sin, but you will not escape unscathed or clean.
What we tolerate speaks volumes about the regard in which we hold Christ. He calls us to be holy, just as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). When we tolerate blasphemy and abomination in the name of peace, love, and respect, we are spitting in the face of Jesus. Our refusal to stand on the authority of God’s Word and call people to repentance from their sins reveals the depth of our commitment to our Lord and King. If we love the Lord, we will obey His commands (John 14:15). We are to love one another as Christ loves us. It is not loving to allow someone to wallow in their delusion or to live in sin. Nor is it loving to watch someone go to Hell without saying a word. It is sin.
Allowance and tolerance are types of sin that are more subtle than most. We easily condition ourselves to succumb to their whim and power. Christians have become weak and ineffective not primarily because of what we do or don’t do, but because of what we allow and tolerate. I would be remiss if you left thinking what we do or choose not to do is any less important, though. But what we do or don’t do will largely depend on what we are allowing or tolerating in our lives.
If our opinions resemble those of the culture, it’s a very good sign we are guilty of the sins of allowance and tolerance. The life of a follower of Jesus will look different from that of the world, for if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15). Don’t become lazy in your walk with Jesus. Be on guard against what you allow and tolerate. Come out of the darkness and let your light, the light of Jesus within you, shine brightly for all the world to see.