the weblog of Alan Knox

Radiating ripples of “private sin”

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in blog links, discipleship | 3 comments

Radiating ripples of “private sin”

One of my favorite bloggers of all time is Brant Hansen. I’ve followed him through at least two different blogs. His series “If Jesus had a blog” is perfect combination of sarcasm and creativity, mixed with some genuine discipleship.

But, his latest post – which is not sarcastic at all – is one of my all time favorites from this all time favorite blogger. The post is called “The Myth of Private Sin.”

The point of Brant’s post is that sins that we may consider to be “private” actually affect the people around us. Some of those effects are obvious; some are not obvious. But the effects are there nonetheless.

Here are a few excerpts:

The older I get, the more convinced I am there is no private sin. They don’t all wind up on page two, but the surface of the pond is never undisturbed by the pebble. The ripples move well beyond ourselves, and, in many cases they radiate through generations…

But even if they didn’t know [about your ‘private sins’], the sins in your head aren’t private. Mine affect my attitude. They keep me from being concerned about other people. They make me a jerk, in seemingly unrelated ways. (“Why’s Brant a jerk?” “Probably something seemingly unrelated.”)

I would just add one more thought to this excellent post – and, please, take a few minutes to read his post.

There is another reason that “private sin” is not really private. If I am sinning, then I am disobeying God. If I am disobeying God, then I am not obeying God. This affects myself, and it also affects my brothers and sisters in Christ around me.

No, “private sin” is not private.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-11-2012

    Finally!! Finally someone has written about this and hit on the issue of the mind. I had recently begun (though I can never seem to finish) a study on “the sins of the mind.” The reason? This has been one of my biggest struggles lately. I’ve probably heard thousands of sermons, but I can’t really say I’ve ever heard a sermon or read an article (from all those journals) on the sins of the mind. I used to think to myself, “Am I the only one who struggles with this or wants to know more about it?” I’ve sat and considered there must be a reason Paul said to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Nothing has made me struggle more as a Christian than my mind. So I decided I have to study it because I can’t seem to find a study or even one article on this issue.

    I can dress up well, sing loud, raise my hand in the air, speak Christian things, etc and its all on the outside. But all day long I have to deal with my mind. This was an excellent post, very helpful and thought provoking and has sent me along a path I’ve been looking for on this issue for a long time. I agree, there is no private sin and I’ve probably done a great deal of harm to those around me under the guise of the “do no harm ethic.” The following hit home the most and I’m thankful he had the guts to say it:

    “The as-long-as-it-doesn’t-hurt-anyone-else construction of morality is built atop the swamp of affluence. We afford this lie, because affluence loves not only privacy, but the fantasy of it.”

  2. 4-11-2012


    Yes, those “issues of the mind” definitely affect us and the people around us.


  3. 4-15-2012

    Thanks Alan. That was well-put. My thought today was that we are more interested in the sin of other people that we cannot understand (i.e. usually issues of sexuality) than we are about issues that we all understand (e.g. spite, envy, jealousy, etc.). This isn’t well thought-out, but your post reminded me 🙂