Dangers of Minimizing

To minimize something is to lessen, to reduce, to make smaller or to keep to a minimum. It is also to belittle, or to dismiss, to shorten, or to play down or to make light of something. It can also be to underestimate the importance of something, and thus to brush it off as not important or as no big deal.

I find that many people who are caught up in sinful practices make it their practice to minimize their sin and to call it something else, both to alleviate guilt and to excuse away their sinful behaviors. And, that is a trap that anyone of us can fall into if we are not careful, and if we are not diligent to be completely honest concerning our faults and the sins we commit.

For example, someone might be living in addiction to a particular sin, or perhaps to multiple sins, and so he or she will minimize the magnitude of the sin by calling it something other than addiction. He or she will look at each sin as a single incident, a small failure, and will refuse to look at the whole big picture. And, so these individuals keep on in their sinful practices because they refuse to see that they are living in addiction.

So, some will say, “But sin is sin, right?” True. And, they will say, “But we all sin.” We probably all do from time to time, although there may be people who are living in sinless perfection. I can’t discount that. But, what do the scriptures say? They teach that we are not to sin, that we are not to make it our practice. They allow for the fact that we might sin at some time (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but they make it real clear that we are not to walk in sin or else we don’t have eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, the Bible differentiates between an occasional sin, committed irregularly, and usually not the same sin over and over again, and regular habitual sinful practices which are repeated over and over and over again. The Bible does not say we have to live in sinless perfection, but it does say that we have to not live in sinful practices (habits, addictions), willfully, knowingly and in God’s face defiantly repeating the same sins over and over again.

Minimizing God’s Truth

On the flip side of this is the minimizing of truth. For, in order to keep on in sinful practices, and to keep on minimizing the magnitude of sin, some people (or a lot of people) have turned to minimizing the truth of God’s Word as another way to alleviate guilt and to keep on in their sinful ways.

So, instead of teaching or receiving the whole counsel of God, which Paul said he taught, they cherry pick scriptures to support a watered-down version of the gospel of our salvation, or they follow after people who teach a diluted gospel which appeals to human flesh. Then, they console themselves in their sin, saying God’s grace covers it all, and they also console themselves with the false hope of eternal life with God.

And, there are many false teachers and false shepherds of the people today, especially here in America, who gladly say what human flesh wants to hear.

These false teachers secretly bring in destructive heresies. Many people follow their sensuality, too, and the way of truth is being blasphemed. These false teachers exploit people with false words. They revel in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They have hearts trained in greed, and they entice unsteady souls.

And, “they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (See 2 Peter 2:1-22; cf. Jude 1).

Basically, what this is talking about today is what we call the “cheap grace” gospel. It ignores the bulk of scriptures which teach on the subjects of sin, judgment, repentance, obedience, salvation and eternal life. And, it minimizes the truth of God’s Word to a few hand-picked scriptures taken out of context which reduce the gospel to nothing more than a mere acknowledgment of Christ as the only prerequisite to eternal life with God.

In this diluted gospel, “faith” in Jesus Christ is rarely defined, although scripture goes to great detail to define exactly what this faith should look like. And, they forget that even the demons believe in God, and they tremble. And, they ignore the fact that faith is faith in action, and that our faith is proved genuine by what we do, not by just what we profess.

See to It

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 ESV

So, how do we guard against being taken captive by humanistic philosophy based on the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ?

First of all, we need to own up to our own sin, and we have to be honest with God and with others to whom we owe a confession of sin regarding the sin. And, we have to not minimize the magnitude of the sin, either, or to call it something other than what it is. We have to not lie to ourselves, in other words. We have to be completely honest, and we do this by allowing the Spirit of God to show us the reality of any sins in our lives, and then we have to not deny what he shows us. But, we have to own up to it.

Next, we have to remove from our lives all input which is leading us in a wrong direction. For, if we are filling our minds with the attitudes, behaviors and philosophies of this sinful world via the media or any other source, then that is what is going to be in our thinking, and that is what is going to come out in our behaviors, too, for “garbage in, garbage out,” as the saying goes.

Then, we have to be filling our minds with the right things. We have to be studying the Word of God in its fullness IN CONTEXT, and then we need to be putting the Word of God into practice in our daily lives, putting off the flesh daily and daily putting on Christ and his righteousness. We have to not ignore the scriptures we don’t like, but we need to take it all to God in prayer and seek his counsel for how it is to be applied to our lives.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

This really is the crux of the whole matter here. We don’t “get saved” and then live our lives however we want and then one day when we die we get to go to heaven.

If we have received Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord (owner-master) of our lives, we must also walk in him. We must live holy and godly lives set apart to God and to his service. We must no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we must be transformed (changed) in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin to God and to his righteousness.

By the Spirit, we must put off all that is of our sinful flesh, and this continues daily, and we must put on Christ and his holiness and righteousness via applying the truths of His Word to our daily lives. And, we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and not according to our flesh (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-24; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, instead of minimizing sin, we are honest with God and with others to whom honesty is due, regarding our sin. And, then we turn away from the sin, by the grace of God, and in the power of God’s Spirit we turn to God to walk now in his holiness and righteousness, which is pleasing to Him.

And, we forsake all idols of men and all humanistic philosophy and all input of this world which might lead us into sin, and then we fill our minds and our hearts with what is of God, and with what is wholesome, and which will bear fruit of righteousness and not fruit of sinful practices.

And, then we put into action what the Word of God tells us, and we walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands. And, then we can have victory over slavery to sin, and we can now become slaves of Christ’s righteousness, by God’s grace. Amen!

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

*copyright status is public domain

Sunday, November 24, 2019

2 thoughts on “Dangers of Minimizing

  1. Minimizing is a big problem for me, and perhaps one of the biggest reasons I still consistently fail after all these years. If a sinful pattern is seen as in the past, or a slip, or ignored as a pattern or habit because it’s not as frequent as in the past, it can be dismissed by the one who still lives in addiction. This is a disaster, of course, and leaves the sinful habit festering, like a cancer ignored as if it will go away on its own, or only part-way removed from the body. Even with the vast amount of conclusive evidence against me and my lifestyle, through minimizing I find a pathway back to pride, and I excuse or ignore or deny my failures. Yes, I feel terrible and full of remorse and shame when I give in to sin, but soon enough I am back comparing myself to others or to my past, seeking a way to explain how such a nice guy like me could have slipped up again, rather than taking a hard look at who I really am and repenting deeply and honestly and turning away once and for all from my sinful habits. Until I stop minimizing my sins, I will never fully deal with them before the Lord and understand just how much I need to die to myself and my flesh and never take it up again. Sue, your article is right on target.

    Liked by 1 person

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