Victoria Riollano of Victory Speaks
7 Sins The Church Must Not Ignore
From being a place for community to a gathering where we can grow deeper in Christ, the church is an important aspect of a Christian’s life. Whether you attend a small house church or a megachurch, we can see that the local church gives us an opportunity to live out our faith in a group, serve others, and get weekly instruction on how to follow God’s word. However, another important aspect of the local church is its ability to teach on topics that may be tough and bring conviction to the listeners. The messages we hear on Sunday from our pastors are not just to make us feel good but to inspire transformation.
A quick stroll on social media reveals that the church has a heavy focus on certain things such as sexual immorality, abortion, outward appearances, being judgmental, and having a lack of faith. But there are other aspects of the Christian life that tend to be “slid under the rug” and not discussed as often. Yet, when these sins are not addressed the entire body of Christ suffers. Pastors should run towards speaking the truth on these matters, even if they aren’t as readily received. Rather than preaching what’s popular, pastors have a responsibility to preach what will lead to transformation.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3
With this in mind, these are seven sins that churches should teach on to see their congregation grow spiritually.
Gossip/slander is one of the most toxic sins of the church environment. What starts as one person’s frustration can spread like cancer to the entire church body. Before long, church members can have grievances towards one another based on mistruths and even be angry with the church leadership. Gossip can ruin the reputation of everyone involved: the person sharing the rumor, the listener, and the person being discussed. When in doubt, if the person is not present to defend or share their perspective, we should avoid speaking about them at all costs. Even when talking to church leadership for prayer or advice, we should be careful to not spread falsehoods.
There are six things that the Lord1 hates, seven that are an abomination to him:haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
God is not pleased when we are willfully disobedient to His Word. Unfortunately, many Christians hide behind phrases like, “that’s not my conviction” or “God didn’t speak that to me.” In doing so, they make excuses for sinful behavior. We must realize that, as Christians, we carry God’s presence. Having the Holy Spirit within us should make us want to run away from sin not ignore it. When we choose to deliberately act in ways that contradict God’s word, or co-sign disobedience, we are acting in rebellion. We must make a conscious choice to follow God’s word, even if it's counter-cultural or demands us to transform our life. This should be a basic aspect of every Christian’s life.
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. Hebrews 10:26
Witchcraft can easily enter the church if we aren’t careful. From those who believe in the power of crystals, to “speaking” to family members who have passed away and those who trust in horoscopes or tarot cards, these practices take our trust off God and unto objects. And although we may not practice witchcraft or sorcery like what we would attribute to a witch, we may be using our words to speak curses over people. Words such as, “I hope she gets what she deserves” or “I hope he suffers for that choice” are acts of witchcraft. Some also believe that practices that derive from Hinduism such as yoga, chakras, yoni cleanses, or burning sage to ward off spirits can also fall into this category of inviting unclean spirits into our daily lives. We must pray and ask the Lord to reveal to us any open door we have given to the enemy. When we fail to do so, we place ourselves in a position to never walk in the true freedom of Jesus Christ.
Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. Ephesians 5:11
In a day where we can easily take selfies with perfectly polished filters, it is no wonder that so many struggles with vanity. The word vanity is defined as excessive pride and obsession over one’s appearance and achievements. This form of pride leads people to believe they are better than others. Before long, those obsessed with themselves will struggle to relate to others, talk down to others and be selfish. According to Desiring God, there are five clues you struggle with pride or vanity.
You find fault in others but never yourself.
You are easily irritable and judgmental of others.
You are superficial, caring a lot about what other people think.
You are defensive.
You are not humble before God.
You are an attention seeker.
You neglect others.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
5. ) Racism
Racism overtly and indirectly should not be tolerated within a Christian’s life or the church. I have personally seen churches be racially split. These racial divisions are most apparent during times of political transitions or when social injustices occur. Before long, church members tend to gravitate towards those who look like them and believe like them politically. Social media becomes a place where church members can see what their “church friends” really feel about them. Sadly, the problem can become too big for the pastor to handle as people can feel betrayed by the pastor’s stance on certain matters. Its important the pastor teaches the value of cultural diversity and loving people beyond our personal biases or prejudices. Failure to talk about these matters and address them can cause more hurt.
But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 1 John 2:11
Being lazy is a sin that often goes ignored by the church. Yet, laziness is one reason that many churches have 20% of their members doing 80% of the work. Many fall victim to not wanting to put in any extra effort for their personal lives or for their church. Yet, when we make a choice to work and be diligent, a blessing is attached. God blesses the work of our hands. As we sow good deeds and are willing to show up and be present, the Lord rejuvenates us. If pastors called out this sin, they would see members pursuing their purpose, walking in more joy, starting businesses and more. Yet, until we run from laziness and procrastination, we cannot expect more than a mediocre life full of struggle.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4
Whether we want to believe it or not, there are people in the pews on Sunday morning who struggle with addiction. Some addictions may be more noticeable such as drug and alcohol abuse. However, others may secretly struggle with pornography, gambling or social media addiction. Whatever the case may be, addiction can wreck the life of a believer and their relationships. These secret vices can cause them to feel ashamed to be in fellowship with other believers. Fear that their sin may be exposed keeps them insolation. Yet, because addiction can be very personal and convicting, churches may never preach a message of repentance for those who struggle.
Pastors must realize that preaching on topics like this bring freedom. If the church is truly to be seen as a hospital, we cannot run from opportunities for people to be healed. In order to grow in our faith, we must make a choice to repent from anything that may cause us or others around us to stumble. Even if our pastor never preaches on the topics at hand or others that oppress us, we should seek to live a life that reflects the God we serve! There is freedom in honoring God’s word above all else.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
For more on living a life of everyday victory, I invite you to purchase the Victory Walk: A 21 Day Devotional on Amazon today by clicking here. While you await your new book, head over to itunes, Spotify, Youtube or Amazon Music and sing out your victory with my latest single, "My Victory."
* Excerpts from the above article was originally written by Victoria Riollano on ibelieve.com*