“The more Christian the environment, the higher the propensity of sin.”
This was said by a well respected man to me 3 days ago, and it got me thinking. This goes against the thought process I grew up with. Growing up, it was well understood that Christian environments were less sinful than the non-Christian ones. While it hit me hard when I heard this man say it, I also had a heart-felt agreement.
Parents (where I grew up) went to great lengths to have the children brought up in Christian schools, thinking that it would protect them against “the world”, at least that reflects my parents thoughts. When we had a decision to make of whether my first child would attend public or private school, my wife and I labored over sending her to private school. When speaking to my pastor, his thoughts were that while a Christian school environment is important, it is a higher priority that the family life at home be Christ-like as that will have more of an impact in the life of the child, rather than the school he/she is attending. He also mentioned that the child must have peers in the children’s ministry at church. We made the decision to have her and her three siblings attend public school, and have never one day regretted that decision.
What would lend to making this statement credible?
Christians should act like Jesus. They should have a lower view of themselves than others. This one concept permeates the teachings of Christ, and is mentioned in many new testament books. Some examples of scripture reflecting this:
Matthew 18:4, Matthew 11:29, Romans 12:3, James 4:6
Jesus consistently lowered himself in view of others. He served others, washed their feet, and had action inspired compassion for others even when he was physically tired. After a long day, the disciples rebuked the children that were brought to him. Jesus took the time to bring the children in his arms and blessed them, using the opportunity to teach the disciples about coming to God as a little child (Mark 10).
In my view, this self-humility is lacking in Christian circles. Christians tend to be more critical of “the world”, or sinners, lifting themselves above others. There is little humility or compassion that pushes them to see themselves lower than others. Many in the world view Christians in this light. Christians view themselves as better than the non-Christians, with little compassion and a lack of seeing past the situation at hand.
Another aspect that would bring credibility to the statement is the attitude of Christians towards dragging sin into the light. Many sermons are given that concentrate on lighter aspects of Christ-living, but lack in pushing the listeners to deal with issues they are having. Everyone has issues. Many issues are dealt with by blaming the devil, or lack of faith. This causes Christians to be ashamed of what they are dealing with rather than get the help needed to overcome their problems. Because of people hiding their sin, it is not dealt with in a proper manner and the issues get worse over time. Non-Christians are (many times) are less likely to be ashamed of their issues and are more apt to getting help. They are not hiding behind “lack of faith”, or a fear of getting medical or therapy assistance when needed.
Christians are not protected against sin, they are just not comfortable about talking about it openly. It is usually hidden from discussion or open confession. In my opinion, this is more dangerous than outright sin.