That's what happened when I read the below snippet on what a sampling of college-aged women think about what their chief sin is, as found by blog-brother Empathalogicalism and referenced in Elspeth's recent post entitled "Why The Focus on Feminine Proclivities?":
In a spiritual formation class we work on how Christians can get victory over sin as a part of their spiritual growth. To start the unit I ask students to list the sins Christians face most today. They list four sins immediately:For my surprise, I have only myself to blame. A clear-cut case of projecting a typically masculine self-awareness--and assuming that men and women who claim to be Believers both grasp in equal measure that they are equally fallen--onto the female half of the species. Yes, I'm talking generalities here. NAMALT and NAWALT are stipulated Mrs. Wapiti, to her credit and in a fair example of why I married her, is an example of the latter; she was able to rattle off three or four sinful tendencies disproportionately afflicting women than men in short order without so much as batting an eye, chief of those being the #1 female fave since the Garden, envy. But if the author to whom Empath linked is to be believed, this phenomenon is really quite extraordinary. I mean, come now...Womenfolks' chief sin is not thinking highly enough of themselves?
Then they pause...they run out of sins. These four got listed quickly each time. In fact I’ve come to call them the “foul four” sins. Then they run out of gas and just sit there thinking.
At the pause I usually ask, “OK, for each sin on our list let’s decide as a class if men or women are more inclined to this sin. In all three classes they have agreed that while women are sometimes tempted in these areas men are more inclined to these four sins.
So I say, “Only women participate now—decide among yourselves what four sins you’d add to the list to that you think women are more inclined toward. Silence. Furrowed brows. Thinking… [long pause]
Really! Each time the women who (along with the men) had quickly offered the “foul four” are at a loss to quickly add “besetting sins” that women seem more inclined toward. And now for the part that got me to write on this subject.
The last two times I did this activity the women unanimously agreed on what they considered the chief besetting sin of women:
Lack of self esteem
I’m serious. So were they. The last two times I did this when a women offered “Self esteem” the entire group of women audibly responded, “Yeah—that’s it!”
You see where I’m headed? Lack of self esteem? To the men in the class these co-eds were saying, “While you men struggle with pornography, lust, pride and anger we women struggle with not thinking highly enough of ourselves.” (Several men in the class always visibly roll their eyes.)
To be fair, the women (after considerably time) usually add three other sins: resentment, bitterness, and lack of trust. But even their expanded list appeared to the guys in the class that men struggle with really bad sins while women fight minor sins. This male response was actually summed up the last time I did this. One male student exclaimed, “Gee, if I just struggled with those sins I’d be a saint!” To him “women’s temptations” were misdemeanors while his own besetting sins were obviously capital crimes.
Quite stunning, frankly, when one sits and thinks awhile about the long-run implications of that.
Before I continue, and discuss the heavy duty sins to which women do fall victim, I regret that I must take the time to state for the record that, yes, we menz have a lot of sinful stuff for which we must answer. I mention this self-evident truth as prophylaxis against the inevitable cries of misogyny and/or lack of balance. Indeed, I take some comfort in noting that the below partial, un-ordered list of women's sins was written by a woman, the better to convict you with my dear, since some readers may resent mansplaining about women's sins and therefore reject them out of hand based on little more than the sex of the 'splainer.
Anyways, comes now April, blogging at PeacefulWife, with her take on the matter:
We have “low self esteem” – instead of labeling ourselves as having pride, envy of other women, idolatry of beauty, idolatry of our husbands, idolatry of being a certain size/weight, idolatry of trying to be in control ourselves and seeing ourselves as sovereign instead of God.The last paragraph above struck me as noteworthy, as the sin that one doesn't see coming is the real threat. In this, men are advantaged over women. Our sins are very public domain. Most are criminalized to a certain degree or another, so we have a lot of quote-unquote help with managing them. Women on the other hand have no such benefit. In fact, I daresay it's the opposite...a culture fully invested in whitewashing, even celebrating in some cases, the sins that frequent women more than men.
We focus so much on being “right” that we justify treating our husbands with hatred, contempt, bitterness and disrespect because our husbands “deserve” it in our view.
We have “hormonal problems” like PMS and menopause – and while this may be true, while these medical issues may have a huge contribution towards our behavior, we are STILL guilty of sin when we react in a rage, yell, scream, cuss, pridefully judge others, hold grudges, refuse to forgive and treat people with hatred and contempt.
We talk about depression and anxiety, which CAN be medically based – but we ignore that many times our depression and anxiety are direct results of our lack of faith in God, our huge faith in ourselves instead, our disobedience to God’s Word and our lack of being Spirit-filled because we are cherishing sin in our hearts.
We are “venting” or “sharing” – so we don’t count that as gossip – which is a sin in God’s sight. We HAVE to talk about how wronged we were and what victims we are, we feel it is just a part of being a woman to need to do this.
We “HAVE” to take over control in our marriages because our husbands “won’t” lead. That is what I thought. I was so wrong! When I stepped back and WAITED patiently, my husband stepped up and became a stronger and stronger man of God and leader. My perception that he couldn’t or wouldn’t lead was wrong. I just didn’t give him a chance.
We don’t usually struggle with lust (not to the degree men often do) and that allows us to self-righteously look down our noses at our husbands if they do have visual temptations and struggles. We don’t even see our ugly, prideful and self-righteous attitudes. Jesus had stronger words for these sins than almost anything else – that is what He spent so much time confronting the Pharisees about.
We are easily deceived. So we can be completely blind to almost all of our own sin. I was. And when we think we aren’t REALLY big sinners, we think we don’t “owe” Jesus that much and we think we are in a position to judge, condemn and criticize our husbands spiritually (again – big sin). Because we don’t think we are big-time sinners, we don’t love Jesus like we should. We don’t see how much we truly owe Him. So we don’t have a good grasp on how much grace Jesus offers to us. We often don’t have much grace for ourselves, and we often don’t have much grace for our husbands and others. Because we don’t think we are that sinful, we also really struggle with forgiveness because we feel we are justified not to forgive, since we believe we haven’t sinned much ourselves. We set ourselves above God when we do this, saying we are better than God. Yes, God forgives, but I don’t really have to because I was hurt too much.
As an 80s-vintage Saturday morning cartoon used to claim: "Knowing is half the battle".