Are You Shocked At Sin?



Question: Are you shocked by the sins of non-Christian?

Let me bring this home a little bit. When your non-Christian son, daughter, neighbor, or friend takes part in some wicked sin, are you shocked? Disgusted? Do you want to stay away from them?

We shouldn’t be shocked by the sins of those who don’t know Christ. Romans 1:28 says of those who don’t know Christ:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Apart from Christ, our minds are debased. Darkened. Filled with wickedness. We can’t think correctly about spiritual things. The result of trying to live apart from God is a debased mind, which always leads to debased actions.

So how do you treat your homosexual neighbor? Your workaholic friend? Your arrogant coworker? Your rebellious son?

We shouldn’t expect them to be righteous people. We shouldn’t stay away from them. They’re debased and darkened. But they can be rescued, just like we were.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)

Two questions:

  • Are you ever turned off by other people’s sins?
  • How should we relate to non-Christians who are enslaved by sin?


  • Caroline says:

    # Are you ever turned off by other people’s sins?
    oh yes many a times… its sad though that i expect my unbelieving friends to behave in a Godly way… coz like you said they don't know God and have a debased mind.

    # How should we relate to non-Christians who are enslaved by sin?
    To be patient with them(remembering we were once unbelievers) and explain as to why they sin and continually remind them that they need a Saviour. Also that they cannot conquer sin on their own and they need Christ.

  • Beth says:

    Thanks for your post, Stephen! I'm going to answer all in one post…..

    I'm not really turned off as you ask, because being a new believer, I can see SO MUCHof my "old self "in the non-Christian friends/family in my life….and if I start to feel turned off by them when I interact with them, I remember…I was them. I was revelling in my sin. I was running away from God…and MY sins are always greater than theirs. So it doesn't turn me off, so much as make me THANKFUL! (: for God's grace, mercy, care and faithfulness toward me!

    I think it helps to remember too, something I just read in Piper's, "Finally Alive". A non-Christians "preferences for sin are so strong that he cannot choose good. It is a real and terrible bondage." Praise God for freeing me from that! and prayers that He will mercifully free my Non-Christian friends and family and use me to share the Gospel with them.

  • You're right, it's so helpful to remember that they *cannot* conquer sin unless Christ saves them!

  • Wow that is a great perspective to have Beth! It's so cool that you can remember what God saved you from. That probably also helps you pray for your friends/family too!

  • Jörn says:

    great post stephen! There is no othery way to be godly than be seaved by god.

    But isn't there a perspective to be shocked of unbelivers' sins?
    I mean – if we look at the world we should be shocked by their sins and pray for them, isn't it?

  • Dan Smith says:

    This has riled me up before. It bothers me when Christians put the same standards we're supposed to follow on the unsuspecting unbelievers of the world. I was a believer when I was in my deepest "backslide" so how can I judge someone who is without Christ entirely? It will naturally shock our sensitivities when someone does something particularly horrid, but it should drive us to prayer. They have a sickness of sin, and only God can heal it.

  • Debbie Smith Bensen says:

    Yes, sin shocks me, and sometimes makes me grieve…my own, and others'. I hope I never get to a place where I am desensitized to it or accept it as the norm. Without Christ freeing a person from the power of sin, what chance do they have to choose differently?
    So, concerning relating to someone who doesn't know Him, I guess it depends on the opportunity God gives me with that person as to how I interact with them. With some, I am vocal, with others I allow my life to speak, as they observe the choices I make or my opinions and on what I base those, and some I can only reach by prayer.

  • Jeff Coulter says:

    Excellent post!! I’m re-posting.
    We, as believers, need to only expect God to be sinless. Everyone else we should preach the gospel and live it out ourselves.

  • I'm not shocked by sin. I feel like I'm used to it now. i know that unbelievers are going to do crazy stuff – i would to if I weren't a Christian. I don't even know if that's a good thing or not that I'm not shocked anymore. I like what you said about it in your post though.

    Right now, I'm trying to live my life so amazingly (but not fakely) that those who are sinning will see how amazing my life is and want what I have. Again, there might be a better approach, but that's what I'm doing now.

    This is a provocative topic though. Thank you for bringing it up.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

  • I think there's a place to be disturbed by sin and saddened by sin and pray for unbelievers. I don't think that I should be surprised though when I see someone sinking into sin.

  • That's a great point Dan. It should shock our sensitivities when someone does something wicked, but it should then drive us to prayer.

  • You're right Debbie, I don't want to be desensitized to sin or accept it as the norm…but in some senses isn't it the norm? I mean, we live in a world where people are enslaved to sin so there is some sense in which wickedness is normal. Know what I mean?

  • I like this: "Right now, I'm trying to live my life so amazingly (but not fakely) that those who are sinning will see how amazing my life is and want what I have."

    So what exactly does that look like?

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