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Is it sin even when you don't know it?

Discussion in 'Requests for Christian Advice' started by DirectionSeeker, Jan 6, 2021.

  1. DirectionSeeker

    DirectionSeeker New Member


    There are some instances in scripture that suggests that if the person didn't know something, then he/she won't be guilty for the wrongdoing, i.e. for him/her it's not sin. However, there are also instances where a wrongdoing is still sin (e.g., if I remember right, Jesus parable of the ignorant servant still receiving beats, but fewer than if the servant knew). The only way to reconcile this is that for certain things, wrongdoing won't be counted as sin in ignorant situations.

    And so that makes me wonder, would you consider these situations to be sin even though the person wasn't aware of it?

    1. You say something thinking it's the right answer, but it was actually wrong. Was it sin for that person to say what was wrong? For example, the person gets asked where the keys are. The person replies: "On the couch", because that's what the person really thought. The keys were on the table. I mean, God didn't make us all-knowing, so this can't possibly be sin, can it?

    2. You download a picture from Google and send it to some family members, or screenshot your screen showing something you want to share. You broke the copyright law by doing this. Now, I'm not sure if showing a downloaded picture to a few people is actually violating the law (is it? I'm genuinely curious), but let's say it is, did the person sin?
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  2. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

    United Kingdom

    Sin is an offence against God. It has nothing to do with our rules and laws on earth.

    So your example of keys would only be a sin of the respondent deliberately lied about the key location.
    Copying a picture, would be theft if that picture was protects by copy right. Many sites are happy for people to copy a photo for personal use but not if it is being done for commercial gain.
  3. Rene Loup

    Rene Loup Saved Wolf Among Sheep

    ~Luke 12:35-27 (KJV)

    ~Luke 12:35-27 (NKJV)

    ~Luke 12:35-27 (NIV)

    ~Luke 12:35-27 (ICB)

    My own interpretation of this passage so far is the grace God is willing to give us for sinning in ignorance. However, the more we are educated about sin and its effects on the world, the less excuse we will have on the Judgement Day. I would say it has to be genuine ignorance and never willful.

    We discipline (within reason) our children to teach them that their words and actions have consequences.[2] Either the parents do this, or the law does.[3][4] If neither does this, then an essay titled, "The Fate of Empires" by Sir John Bagot Glubb would be a very interesting read.[1]
    1. http://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/glubb.pdf
    2. Ephesians 6:1-4, Proverbs 13:24-25, 19:16-29, 22:15, 23:13-14, 23:22-25, 29:15-27
    3. Why Do Youths Commit Crime, Teenage Crime Risk Factors
    4. Statistics
    I wouldn't say so. It was not willful deception, just ignorance because we are all fallible, human beings.

    Now, unknowingly spreading conspiracy theories about COVID-19, on the other hand, would be an entirely different story. That actually would put human lives at risk by spreading more ignorance about the nature of the crisis and put more lives, and ultimately society, at risk. The proverb, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." would apply to this sort of situation.[1][2][3][4]

    The Sermon of the Mount (found in Matthew chapters five through seven), shows that the motive matters MUCH more than the deed itself.

    In essence, it would depend on the situation and the severity. God is the only rightful judge on this.[5]
    1. (PDF) Conspiracy theories and their societal effects during the COVID-19 pandemic
    2. Eight Persistent COVID-19 Myths and Why People Believe Them
    3. https://phys.org/news/2020-10-conspiracy-theories-covid-outweigh-science.html
    4. This is the conspiracy theory that prompted a pharmacist to destroy 500 COVID-19 doses
    5. Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, Matthew 7:13-29, 12:30-37, 25:31-46, Revelation 20:1-15, Romans 2:1-16, 14:10-12
    If there is a genuine copyright law broken, then yes, I would say it is sin done in ignorance. If it was intentional because of either apathy or thinking one is above the rules would be completely unacceptable.
  4. Palmfever

    Palmfever Active Member Supporter

    United States
    Don't if this will help any. It deals with knowing and not doing.
    James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.”

    The following deals more with those who have not heard the gospel.
    Romans, 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
    12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
    13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.
  5. xaris

    xaris Active Member

    United States

    What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." (Rom 7:7)

    for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
    (Rom 5:13)