A family member recently told about hearing a lesson in church on respectable sins. At first blush most might respond that no sin is really respectable, especially in God’s eyes. These respectable sins were described as those the church likes to ignore and therefore tolerate in its own midst. In one sense, “respectable” could imply lower order or only marginally bad, unlike rape, murder, and theft- the really important sins. The respectable sins were given as things like pride, judgment, and self righteousness. The antidote to these respectable sins would seemingly be the fruits of the spirit enumerated by Paul in Galatians 5:22.
Unfortunately, Orthodox doctrines encourage these so called respectable sins in its adherents. One cannot logically teach a plan of salvation which culminates in my decision to act in accordance with God’s requirements (repent, confess, be baptized, attend church) and then accept a commission to instruct the rest of mankind in the right path to righteousness without tending toward pride in what I have accomplished and without passing judgment on those who have not done the same. Thus these “respectable sins” are more aptly designated as “inevitable sins”. No wonder they are largely ignored by the church. They cannot be both the cause and the cure of the same malady.