The way we tend to view different sins and attach a relative importance to them has a profound influence on American culture. The church’s incessant preoccupation with sexual sins and capital crimes and its relative inattention and even silence about sins of the heart serves to establish a traditional mindset which deems many sins as relatively insignificant in terms of societal impact. As long as sin management programs, both religious and secular, address sex and violent crime then both religion and government supposedly are doing their job. In fact, this grading system for sin has fostered the very concept of necessary evil- the idea that sinfulness can be righteously employed as a weapon against sinners.
The institutional church routinely turns to politics as a proper means to leverage its war on the big sins. In doing so, the church inevitably has to engage in the various ways sinfulness (deceit, arrogance, and maliciousness) is used to advance political causes. Thus political expediency justifies the use of perceived lesser sins in order to suppress the big ones
If Jesus is to be believed, our typical notion of big and little sins is just an illusion. We still operate mentally out of the Old Testament mindset, attaching greater weight to those things that maybe drew particularly strong rebuke or maybe even capital punishment under the Mosaic Law. In continuing to view sinfulness now in the same way the Jews did before Jesus, we effectively dismiss a large part of the wisdom that Jesus came to convey to mankind.
There would be no reason for a new message from a new messenger, i.e. Jesus, if the message remained that we have big and little sins and the little ones are okay if engaged in order to counteract the big ones. Ironically though, the contention that necessary evils can promote righteousness is part and parcel of current church politics.
Jesus is no ally in this kind of thinking. Even the Old Testament hinted at the unimportance of the scripted religious pursuit of righteous with its sin grading system. The condition of the heart was said to be what mattered, and that condition was maintained by avoiding the “little sins” that so often become the “necessary evils” of the church/state partnership.
Proverbs 6: 16ff- These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Micah 6:8- He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?