Overcoming Sin through Christ: Cruelty

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.


Would you consider self a cruel person?  A better question would be, “Would other people consider you to be a cruel person?”  Sometimes we can’t see ourselves as others see us.  More important yet is what God knows about us—does He consider us to be filled with cruelty in our words and actions?

We think of someone who is cruel to his family when he treats them badly or speaks to them harshly and unkindly. We think of someone who is cruel to animals when he is hostile toward his family pet or maybe a horse. We also think of a teacher as cruel when he or she publicly humilitates a student. Then there is the cruel manager or supervisor who is cruel with one or all of his employees. The examples could be multiplied. But what about you? Would God consider you to be a cruel person?

The English definition of cruelty is “disposed to inflict pain or suffering,” and the dictionary offers these synonyms: fierce, ferocious, barbarous, inhuman, savage, vicious.[1]  Although many may not think of themselves as sinful to this degree, even slightly cruel or mean or unkind is also wrong.  We may hear of a “cruel” boss, a “cruel” president, or a “cruel” husband.  We may think of a doctor or nurse that will kill unborn infants as “cruel” or a child molester or murderer as “cruel.”  Peter describes a master (we would say a boss or manager) who is “perverse” (NASB margin, NET Bible) or “unjust” (ESV).  

But what about you—have you ever done a cruel deed, failing to have the compassionate attitude you should have toward someone?  Scripture says, “The cruel man does himself harm” (Proverb 11:17b).  The wicked may be so evil, that Proverbs 12:10 says, “The compassion of the wicked is cruel.”  God says that the Babylonians were “cruel” and had “no mercy,” which shows that those characterized by this sin are merciless. 

Let’s never have a cruel attitude toward our husband or wife, our precious children, our aging parents, our employees, our students, or anyone else.  Instead, let’s have “a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).


[1] The American Heritage College Dictionary.



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