Is It a Sin If You Never Knew It Was a Sin?
Written by T.M. Gaouette | July 16, 2015
Ladies, have you ever wondered if a sin is considered a sin if you weren’t aware that it’s a sin?
Sure, there are actions that are obvious sins, such as murder and theft. And even in the most remote of countries, where God’s Word has never been spoken, these actions are considered wrong and therefore sinful. And those who commit them cannot deny that they are sins. But what of the actions that are not so obviously sinful?
For example, many Christians are not aware that gossip and laziness are sins. So, if you had a tendency to gossip, but then later on, you learned that gossiping is a sin, did you then commit a sin?
The answer is yes and no. You see, the sin is still a sin in the sense of the word and the act. Even if you do something wrong, but you don’t know it, the act itself is still wrong. Gossip is still wrong, whether you know it is or not.
However, if you’re not aware that gossip and laziness are sins, then you’re not as accountable for them. The following verse is from Psalm 19:
But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
David writes of his “hidden faults.” These are the “innocent” sins. David wants to be cleansed of them, and whether they are sins that he later realized were sins, or are still hidden, he wants no part of them. He also asks to be kept from future transgressions. And this is how we too should pray. We should ask God for forgiveness for past sins, known and unknown, and for God to help us recognize all sin in the future so that we avoid that also.
So, what happens when you find out that an action you take in your life today is actually a sin? Maybe you’ve just learned that gossiping is a sin and you gossip all the time. Now what?
Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” (John 9:39-41)
“Now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” So, basically, Jesus is saying that once you’re aware that an act is a sin, you then become accountable. You own it! And you need to make amends.
Once you find out that the actions you committed in the past are sinful, you ask for God’s forgiveness, repent and sin no more. And once you do this, you receive God’s grace and your eyes are opened so that you recognize what actions are sinful in the future.
Now ladies, let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean that you can pretend that you didn’t know something was a sin. God knows your heart. He knows when you are fully aware that something you’re doing is wrong, but you do it anyway. And even if you’re not sure whether it’s a sin, that doubt is an indication that you’re not sure that the action is fully righteous, so why take a risk and do it? If there is any doubt as to whether an action is sinful, it is your responsibility to learn the Truth. You do this by learning God’s Word.
The Bible is clear, although not always so specific. You’re not always going to find exact references to certain actions. If you’re not sure whether an act is sinful, speak to your priest or pastor. But never try to ignore the fact that an action may be sinful. James 4:17 states, “Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.”
All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. (I John 5:17)
Ladies, have you ever done something that you thought was okay and later found out was a sin? Share your story—we so love to hear from you!