Sins that Clutter the Heart (and How to Remove Them)

Spring is the season for addressing untidiness at home. Like stuff clutters a house, sins can clutter a heart.

Although transgressions like bitterness, jealousy, and unforgiveness are often discussed, let’s look at a few other sins – ones that blend in with the current culture and may be hidden within hearts and justified in behaviors.

Below are 10 sins that may be cluttering your heart as well as biblical insight in how to remove them.

1. Needing to Always Be Right

Do you have to be right and have others agree with your rightness?

Wanting to always be right is rooted in pride, about which Scripture has a lot to say. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom,” Proverbs 11:12.

Instead of spending your time and energy to prove you’re right, or getting angry when others don’t agree, ask God to show you if you’re wrong. Choose to humble yourself to the possibility of being wrong, even if you believe you’re not. When you do, Proverbs 29:23 states you’ll gain honor: “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”

Also, pray for God to reveal what’s true to those who don’t agree with you.

2. Finding Fault with Others

Finding fault with others has become a national pastime. If you’ve found yourself caught up in Social Media’s obsession with critiquing others, your heart may need a good sweeping to remove that critical attitude.

Matthew 7:3 asks, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Because it’s easier to see others’ weaknesses and failures, while ignoring your own, Scripture continues with, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see more clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:5.

Proverbs 11:9 states that a hypocrite’s mouth destroys his or her neighbor. If you need cleansing from a hypocritical attitude, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves,” 2 Corinthians 13:5.

3. Withholding Good from Others

Have you thought of doing something good for someone but then talked yourself out of it or let others change your mind? Do you stay silent when opportunities arise to say something complimentary to someone?

If so, you’re withholding good from others. Proverbs 3:27 states, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”

God freely gives as Psalm 84:11 states, “no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”

Additionally, Scripture encourages to, “Give, and it will be given to you. A Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” Luke 6:38.

Realize your reluctance in giving may be holding back what others want to give you and choose to resist temptations to withhold good from others.

4. Practicing Partiality

Is your main objective in meeting new people to create a network of connections to help you achieve your goals?

If so, how do you respond to individuals who don’t have anything to offer you as far as connections, opportunities, or status?  Do you find yourself bypassing them for more opportune and advantageous mingling?

Although there isn’t anything wrong in wanting to build relationships, Proverbs 28:21 advises, “To show partiality is not good.”

If you find yourself practicing partiality, ask God to help you be more like Him. Romans 2:11 states God does not show partiality or favoritism. Ask Him to give you His wisdom, the kind that comes from Heaven and is impartial and sincere (James 3:17).

5. Seeing Others As Competition

Do you find Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with its quest to collect the most likes, comments, and followers, causing you to see others as your competition?

Jesus made it clear to the Apostles that, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all,” Mark 9:35.

Whether online, at work, in church, or in the neighborhood, seeing others as rivalry conflicts with Scripture’s urging to, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves,” Romans 12:10.

The good news is you don’t have to compete to be valuable because God has already given you the highest worth possible. Colossians 1:22 describes how “He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Rather than competing, look for ways to encourage and uplift those around you knowing that you’re serving God in doing so.

6. Being Argumentative

Online sites offer opportunities for ongoing arguments and controversies to exist, making it socially acceptable to argue about everything.

Still Scripture describes this type of atmosphere as “an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, and evil suspicions,” 1 Timothy 6:4.

Although society promotes being argumentative, the Bible urges to, “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen,” 2 Timothy 2:14.

In place of arguing, 1 Peter 3:9 encourages you to “not repay insult with insult but on the contrary, repay evil with blessing.”

Choose to avoid adding fuel to volatile discussions by looking for ways to diffuse disagreements and controversies.

7. Boasting in Yourself

In an over-achieving world, it’s easy to feel insecure and want others to notice you. Self-promotion is applauded and at the forefront on Social Media sites. However, Jude 1:16 warns about seeking attention by boasting about yourself for your own advantage. Still Scripture encourages godly boasting stating, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 10:17.

God describes more in Jeremiah 9:23, 24 stating, “‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this; that they have the understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.

Instead of boasting about yourself, seek to delight God by boasting about Him.

8. Living out of Selfish Ambition

Present day culture is very much into a “me first” mentality, stressing how you need to follow your dreams above all else, not letting anyone stand in your way.

Still Scripture urges to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” Philippians 2:3.

Selfish ambitions have lead individuals into things such as undermining co-workers to get ahead, abandoning spouses and children to reach their aspirations, and leading countless people into destructive lifestyles. As James 3:16 describes, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”

If your dreams are leading you astray, ask God to refine your ambitions to line up with His will for your life. Realize He has dreams for you, too, stating in Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

9. Indulging in Questionable Activities

Do you ever use the excuse of being “culturally relevant” to justify participating in questionable activities? Are you rationalizing taking part in things your flesh just enjoys doing? Do you choose irreverent music, films, jokes, books, words, and more under the guise of it?

If so, Ephesians 5:15 encourages you to “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise.”

Scripture also warns, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,” Isaiah 5:20.

Some claim by participating in worldly activities, they’ll gain a better understanding and ability to truly reach out to lost individuals. But Jesus ministered very well to fallen humanity without ever partaking in sinful deeds. Remember He is your example of how to care for people, not the world.

Likewise, Romans 12:2 urges, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Before choosing what you indulge in, study God’s Word so that you know the difference between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14), and ask Him to lead you (Psalm 143:10).

10. Wearing Debatable Attire

How are you choosing your outfits? Are you more concerned about looking sexy and provocative than being godly?

1 Timothy 2:9 encourages women “to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.”

Many may argue that dressing modestly is subjective, yet some choices are obviously more wholesome than others. One approach helpful in choosing clothes is to consider how you hope other women will dress around your husband, boyfriend, father, sons, and brothers; apply that criterion to your own choices.

Romans 14:13 urges to, “make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.”

Instead of following the latest celebrity or fashion trend in deciding what to wear, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. If you’re unsure about certain styles, take your hesitation as a clue of its possible affect on others, regarding them as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3). Seek to please God in how you dress remembering, “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” 1 Samuel 16:7.

Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman,,, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.