The Sins of Older Christians

noseInTheAirAs an “older” Christian, it is so easy for me to rant and rave about the sins of “younger” Christians and non-Christians: lust and laziness, impropriety and indifference, irresponsibility and irreverence, immaturity and immodesty, folly and foolishness, spendthrift and stupidity, disobedience, despair, despondency, duplicity, dishonesty and the like. If I keep on picking on their sins relentlessly and persistently, then maybe they will someday repent and change and grow up!

But it seems to me that primarily doing so would quite certainly “ignore” the sins of older Christians. Of course, older Christians sin in similar ways. But with age, I think that it is a lot easier for older Christians to “hide” their sins behind the austerity of being older, wiser, more mature and more spiritual, whatever that means. So how then can I address the sins of older Christians, including and primarily beginning with myself? What might they be?

Vanity. I want to look good as an older, mature Christian. So I will act like an older, mature Christian. I begin by trying to make myself look younger than I actually am. I definitely do not want to look as old as I am. I act like the image I imagine of myself in my 20s and 30s. Even if I want to look younger than I am, I expect that others treat me appropriately according to my real age.

Dishonesty. I want to be very careful not to disclose or expose my sins too much, and only those that I think are acceptable. I am reluctant to share how I angrily hurt my wife, or when I stayed up for many hours playing video games, or watching TV or movies, or doing something else that would be unmentionable for an “older, mature, spiritual” Christian to do.

Honor. I want to make sure that I am properly honored and respected, even commended, as an older, exemplary leader in the church. I try my best to act like a good strong capable and positively influential leader. I will not tolerate any younger person who treats me with what I perceive to be disrespect. If they do, I will find some creative way to put them in their subordinate position below me. If others ignore me or criticize me or are condescending toward me, I will burn inwardly and find ways to expose their sins and faults for the whole world to see.

Self-righteousness. This might as well be my middle name. In fact, it should be my first name and last name as well. If someone corrects me, disagrees with me, or points out my faults, I become defensive. I become like a hungry lion ready to pounce and devour its prey until everything is eaten completely. I want to prove my point and to make sure that others understand how right I am and that they simply lack imagination, understanding or humility. Even if on the rare occasions that I do keep quiet and do not respond, I am simply trying to show how magnanimous and mature, gracious, generous and gentle I am toward them.

Showing favoritism. Those who like me, listen to me, and support me, I respond favorably toward them. But those who do not, I will regard and respond to accordingly. Those who seem obedient and attractive I will pay attention to them more than to those I regard as disobedient and unattractive.

Revenge. If self-righteousness is my first name, middle name and last name, then revenge is my lurking hidden name that is always forcing itself into play.

Lording over others. This is second nature to me. Correct that; it seems to be my first nature!

Do I do all of the above? Unfortunately, I think of all of them. Then some of it “slips out” unintentionally and sometimes intentionally!

I am sure that there are tons more sins of older Christians. But to keep my posts under 800 words I will stop here.

What sins of older Christians do you think are neglected, ignored or unmentioned? Does the church need to address “the sins of older Christians” perhaps even more than the sins of younger Christians?


  1. A great post that might identify a few other sins of (older) Christians:

  2. darylPeace

    others are judgmental (like me), they can hide their own desires, always argue with somebody , afraid to lose their professionalism

  3. Good list, Ben. I am a classic “older brother” sinner. I am far more aware of this now than ever before. In fact, starting in 2009, I’ve been on a rampage to get rid of older brother sins.

    I would add one more to your list: bible idolatry.

    I think the biggest sin of modern older brothers among Christians is making the bible into an idol, in the name of “honoring God” and “being keeper of the truth”.

    For example, most Christians (hopefully) laugh and dismiss the following as utter nonsense. But there was a time when bible idolaters took this very seriously. They claimed that left-handed people were inferior human beings and some claimed lefties were condemned to hell. Why? Because of “the truth” in the bible. They pointed to both the old Testament and the new Testament, Genesis 48:13-18, Galatians 2:9, Exodus 15:6, Psalm 118:16, and Psalm 110:1 to prove the truth that God loves right-handed people (the majority) and hates left-handed people (the minority). God blesses the right hand, they taught, and curses the left hand.