The 3 Failures of How we see Sin

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This is a guest post from Tyler Braun (Twitter, Facebook, Blog). He’s a 27 year-old writer, worship leader, and pastor from Portland, Oregon where he lives with his wife Rose. If you don’t know Tyler, you should get to know him. He speaks winsomely and with great conviction for my generation. His blog (and his book) are worth the read for sure.

Tyler’s first book has just released, through Moody Publishers. If you buy a copy before August 10, he’ll throw in all kinds of goodies. Click HERE for details, and to pick your copy up.

AND…I’m giving a copy away here on my blog. Just leave a comment below with your mailing address, RT this post, share it on Facebook (being sure to tag me), and I’ll pick one winner.


image credit: CreationSwap user uncredited

Sin is a subtle and deceiving creature. Often masked in my life as a new adventure, new opportunity, or new discovery about myself, sin pulls me away from the purposes of God into a world where I become the main character, rather than being a part of the subplot.

I often see sin being reduced to only the biggest of mistakes I’ve made in my life. Is that the totality of sin?

Sin is lying to our parents or children. Sin is committing adultery. Sin is breaking the law. Sin is slandering others.

Sin is all those things, but when we reduce sin to only the worst mistakes of our lives we’re slowly allowing sin to become a bigger part of our lives without ever noticing it. Remember, sin is a subtle and deceiving creature, and it goes far beyond the worst mistakes we’ve made in life.

I saw this happen quickly in my life while watching a few seasons of a television series. What pulled me in was the riveting storyline, but soon enough it was effecting my thoughts and how I lived my life. I noticed lust entering into my mind. I began to have more violent thoughts, and before long it was apparent all of my thoughts revolved around me. All this from just watching a television show.

In making sin out to be merely the worst offenses of our lives we commit 3 grievous failures.

Failure to See the Subtle Sin

Sins such as pride, a calloused heart, and lust can run so far underneath the surface of our lives that we never recognize how powerful they are until it’s too late.

Often we view living the Christian life as more of a sin management strategy than a pursuit of a deep relationship with the Creator. When we do this we become good at making sure we stay away from the “big” sins but often fail at evaluating how our hearts are wandering.

We’re all prone to wander. Failing to see the subtle sin can make the wandering devastating.

Failure to Recognize Sin’s Communal Repercussions

The ministries of many of the minor prophets in the Old Testament were often more focused on how our relationship with God flows naturally in how we relate with those around us. God used the prophetic ministry of Amos to the nation of Israel to explain His coming wrath against them, not for the sins of individuals, but the sins of the whole nation.

The prophets understood the reality of corporate and social sin.We look at sin as an individual, personal issue, often overlooking the overwhelmingly strong, yet difficult to see, connection between humans.

The sins impeding our lives affect more than just the person committing the sin.

All sin affects the whole body of Christ.

Failure to Understand the Sin of Not Doing What We Ought

We spend the large majority of our time focused on the sins of commission (the sins we commit) while failing to understand the sins of omission (not doing what we should).

The sins of omission are powerful because they take time to evaluate.

I try spend time every night evaluating the entire day in order to see where I missed opportunities.

It’s easy to overlook or brush aside not doing something we should. Be careful though, inaction is often the worst sin, because we slowly slide into a comfortable life where we fail to grow into who God desires us to become.

What failures do you see in how we view sin?

What other ways have you seen sin deceive you, or others?



Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Joel

    Umm… “This is a guest post from Tyler Braun….from Portland, Oregon where he lives with MY wife Rose.” Ben, that could lead some to confusion and great misunderstanding bro, lol.

  • Pierre

    I’ve always found it more helpful to think of sin as a condition; rather than as a series of acts (whether by omission or commission)… although there are also dangers in that view.
    Looking at sin as (for want of a better word) trespasses sometimes leads to an onus on us to fight sin – as if we were alone in this battle to better ourselves; whereas looking at it as a condition allows us to offer that condition up to God and to truly turn around from it *towards* God.
    Subtle sin no longer is subtle from that perspective; it actually takes some form of precedence over the rest, as it is exposed for being the root of trespasses.

    Of course, the risk is to then just rest on that identity – but that’d be forgetting that we are now new creations!

  • Tyler Aman

    True. Sounds like a great book.

  • Mpalomaki

    “Often we view living the Christian life as more of a sin management strategy than a pursuit of a deep relationship with the Creator. ”

    Loved this bit of wisdom and truth…

  • Carey Green

    Wow… just this morning my family and I were discussing Psalm 36:1-2

    “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.  For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.”

    It’s often our own justifications and “positive thinking” about ourselves that keep us from seeing sin AS sin, and therefore from being able to truly hate it as we should. I find justification to be so subtle (as the post indicated) that it’s almost like breathing.  Thanks be to God for giving us His Spirit who can reveal “all truth”

    Great post!

    • Tyler Braun

       Positive thinking has a place in life but I don’t know that it will keep us away from sin, just as you said. We do need the Spirit’s guidance toward the purposes of God, instead of the appeal of sinful patterns we often drift away to.

  • Shannan

    Amen!  God bless you for your boldness!  “All sin affects the whole body of Christ.”  We so often fail to realize or acknowledge that sin also affects generation to generation.  My life is not all about me.  Thank you for telling the truth.

    • Tyler Braun

      You’re welcome Shannan. Glad this connected well with you.

  • Chard

    I have a question, though. Grace is never mentioned here, And I feel it is especially needed on the sin of omission part. I agree completely that there are things God calls us to do, and that by refusing, we do sin. But the idea of thinking on all that we didn’t do makes me feel like the Christian day is a list of tasks, and by failing to do all on that list we fail in our “performance” before God. I just read the post “the tiring life in the performance trap” and it reminded me that God’s grace, not our performance, makes us acceptable before Him.