Male sin vs. female sin?

I’ve heard variations on this idea before. Do you think it is the case — as presented here — that men and women are tempted to different kinds of sin?

Many women have negated self so much that we no longer have a self to surrender to God. The primary meaning many of us find is in identification with the lives of others. When the husband or children are joyful, sad, or pensive, we feel likewise, taking on the feelings of others, instead of being a self that is related to God apart from these relationships. Women are not inherently more “good” than males. Women are just as sinful, but in different ways. Valerie Saiving provided a valid list of the sins women are tempted toward: sins of distraction, diffuseness, triviality, sentimentality, avoiding responsibility, mistrusting reason, lacking centeredness, disrespect of boundaries, and passivity. These temptations seem trivial to males (and may even appear to males as virtues). But for women, they’re sins just as much as lust, rage, and power-seeking. Women can be tempted to find their identity completely in others instead of God and are tempted to give their entire selves to others, leaving no self left to surrender to God.


11 thoughts on “Male sin vs. female sin?

  1. A lot of times women are taught to ‘die to themselves’ in the name of submission to their husbands – to think of one’s self is selfish – and this teaching is so strong that there’s a point where a woman will think it’s too selfish of her to go to the doctor to seek medicine for her own health concern when she ought to be cooking / cleaning / caring for the kids all day, every day. But I believe that men and women have the same sin nature, just a different emphasis on what is sin and how they sin. The last thing Christianity needs to do is to look at sin through pink glasses or blue glasses and try to color them by gender – ultimately they are all equal no matter who does which sin or why.

  2. The writer makes a valid point unrelated to misogynistic unbalanced teaching on what should be MUTUAL submission. Leanne Payne called those sins the “ersatz” feminine much like the twisted masculinity of the “macho man.” Loss of true gender identities that are forms or pictures of the true feminine and true masculine impoverishes the pastoral and healing ministries.

  3. This is not the sin of women. This is the sin of the church that has historically and theologically decided that women have no value outside their ability to make babies and serve men.

      1. Yes. I think that women have been church-conditioned to deny themselves in creation-dishonoring ways and then take the blame for sinning in such an egregious manner.

        1. Thanks for the reply, Christy. So you think the sins women must be wary of are anger, lust, etc., that the author suggests are more male ways of sinning.

        2. John, I think the sins women must repent of are the sins men must repent of: worshiping anything that becomes an idol that replaces God. Things like lust, anger, etc, are just surface results of our decisions to make ourselves “god” and turn the Holy One into our divine Santa Claus whose job it is to make us happy. That is the unrelenting temptation, common to all.

  4. These distinctions are interesting as I think about the capital vices. The author’s “male” sins are rooted in the classic warm vices – wrath and lust. The author’s “female” sins are more difficult. Do most of these have their roots in sloth, or is another vice at root?

    I tend to think these distinctions are more enculturated than inborn as genders go. But it’s interesting to see how the lines are drawn – between warm sins of commission and the more slothful sins of omission.

  5. It looks like Mr. Ray has read St. Thomas and is aware of the “seven deadly sins”. I am wondering if you have any female readers who utilize the thousands of years of Christian understanding as background for their thinking, or are they all committed to viewing even such traditional topics as sin through eye glasses that focus every issue on gender and identify issues of some sort, as I assume Ms. Thomas does.
    Although there may be a violent, angry response to my question I’m not trying to start a fight. Just wondering if there are such women still around.

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