Proverbs 6:30-31: Sins of Affluence vs Sins of Insufficiency

Krissa Lox

Active Member
Proverbs 6:30-31:
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

Sin always carries consequences regardless of what kind of situation prompts it, but there are differing levels of condemnation that are appropriate to go along with it if our goal is to reconcile people to Christ and restore them to wholeness and God-serving functionality rather than simply punish or ostracize them for not being perfect.

A lot of what gets high visibility and generates understandable righteous indignation could be classified as sins of affluence -- people in positions of power, fame, or material wealth who get bored and restless because they're not taking on the responsibility of directing their abundance in God-honoring ways, so they get caught up in an abundance of temptations in seeking out entertainments to make up for the lack of God in their lives.

Because such cases are often deemed more media-worthy to publish all their controversies, they can end up taking up a far more disproportionate share of our attention and discourse than is productive, since realistically these people have a different level of personal issues than the average person's condemnation or willingness to try to influence for better or worse is going to affect. These aren't usually people going astray from a lack of knowledge of Jesus -- there are no shortage of churches willing to create outreach programs to attract the well-resourced -- but a lack of desire for Him.

However, there is another class of sin that we might be able to do something about if we can restrain ourselves from giving the affluent more of our attention and energies than the communities God has placed us in. Sins of insufficiency are the result of wrong choices or reactions made while going through a severe hardship, threat, or injustice without the help of a godly support network (like, a real support network, not just people who quote Romans 8:28), and often with a lack of knowledge of what better choices might exist.

Because such sins tend to stem more from externally-imposed struggles and lack of knowledge and resources in dealing with them rather than willful, internal rebellion against God, there's a lot more opportunity to help lead people toward Christ, or at least try to provide some Christian companionship to leave them less vulnerable to more ungodly influences that will lead them further away, and provide a real-life example of Christ's love and care for the Holy Spirit to work with in their hearts.

There is no shame in insufficiency itself. It's an intentionally God-ordained state of being for us all to experience at times to keep us humble and lead us closer to Him. But sometimes wealthy cultures or bad church teachings confuse insufficiency with irresponsibility, which can end up having the opposite effect of pushing struggling people away from the Lord if they get the wrong idea that they need to figure out how to fix their lives themselves before coming to Him.

Usually this ends up causing a bigger mess instead of making anything better because what people really need is God, not just a better life plan. So finding such people and working with them to bring them the love of Christ is, while not nearly as glamorous or entertaining or socially respected, is usually a lot more productive for God's Kingdom than getting worked up over whatever celebrity drama the media finds most profitable to keep us informed of.