Can Sin Be Harmless?


There's a fine line between rule-breaking and sinning. How can you tell the difference?

More than 70% of the people we interviewed said “it’s okay to break the law or rules if I’m not hurting myself or others.” Music pirating, speeding, and underage drinking topped the list of behaviors they dubbed as harmless.  

Remember, we interviewed Christians, many of whom were leaders in their churches and youth groups. These aren’t the kind of people who regularly find themselves on the wrong side of the law. But, they were very honest about the fact that some rules seem made to be broken. They made statements like these:

  • It is not okay to break the law. It is non-negotiable, but in our society we negotiate everything. There is always a loophole. There is always some way that you can twist it to make yourself right. So, I guess it is not okay to break the law, but then it is.
  • I burn CDs for my friends all the time because I really don’t think that’s a bid deal. I bought the CD with my money so I should be able to give it to a friend and the majority of musicians already have all this money.
  • Cops don’t care or notice that you go five miles over the speed limit. I guess we think we can get away with some laws because we do break the law and we do get away with it.

In other words, “I can sin and get away with it.” 

Did I just use the “s-word?” These people were talking about harmless activities like music downloads and speeding. Surely these don’t qualify as sin, do they? 

Is it okay to break the rules/law if no one gets hurt? When does doing so become a sin?

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