Daily Devotional

Is Dancing a Sin?

I grew up in a legalistic church. When I was in the high school youth group they said we couldn’t dance, because dancing is sin. When I asked why, they said, “Because dancing leads to sex before marriage.”

During high school prom each spring, my church would provide a ‘prom alternative’ called “Spring Banquet”. You could ask a girl to be your date. And it would be a ‘dance-free environment’. And in the minds of the planners, they were providing a sin-free environment for kids. I invited a girl to the Spring Banquet every year I was in high school. It was a lot of fun.

But what became confusing was, we weren't allowed to dance, but we could roller skate. And if you’ve ever roller skated, you know that you’re basically out on the rink dancing to all the popular music, you just happen to have little wheels on the bottom of your feet. And at some point during the evening, the DJ would clear the rink and say these words, “All right, our next skate is a ‘couples’ skate’.” Then he’d say, “You cannot be on the rink without a person of the opposite sex. So guys, go find a girl and get out there!” I would conjure up all the courage I could muster, and I’d go up to the cutest girl and say, “Would you like to skate with me?” She’d (hopefully) say yes. Then I’d offer her my hand. She’d grab it. And off we’d go.  

Well, I remember when I was skating with one girl who said, “I’m going to skate backwards.” I got a little freaked out saying, “What do you mean?” She said, “You skate forwards, and I’ll skate in front of you, facing you, skating backwards.” I said, “Okay.” So she skated around in front of me and faced me. Then she said, “You put your hands here on my hips and I’ll put my hands on your shoulders, and we’ll skate around the rink that way.” I did that, and off we went, bouncing and swaying to the music.

Well, some of you already see where this is going, because skating with a girl in that position, moving to the music, whether there are wheels on the bottom of your feet or not, you’re dancing.

The reason this was confusing is, nowhere in the Bible does it say “dancing is sin”, yet the way it was taught to us was, “Good Christians don’t dance because dancing is sin, but roller skating is okay because it’s not dancing.”

The act of dancing, or roller skating, as the case may be, is not sin, but it can lead to sin. No where in the Bible does it say “Dancing is sin.” So people who struggle with the sin of lust, struggle with dancing with a person of the opposite sex because in the past it has led to them having sex before marriage. So they made the rule for themselves that “Dancing is sin” because not dancing will help keep them from the sin of sex before marriage. The problem is, that person soon turned this into a rule for everyone. Which is legalism.

Now, it’s wise to set some rules that keep you away from your ‘sin of choice’, but you have to keep in mind that those rules are there to help you guard your heart, they are not biblical, therefore they cannot be applied to everyone.

True holiness starts in the heart and flows from an encounter with the gospel. It calls for repentance in response to the Lord’s grace and offer of salvation. And it gives us a way to be holy that has nothing to do with trying harder, and everything to do with relying on the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives to lead and guide us through His Word.

Ephesians 1:4 says, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”

When I realized that God’s desire was for me to be holy, and for that holiness to flow out of my relationship with Christ, not a bunch of do’s and don’ts, I started to experience freedom in Christ for the first time. True holiness is desiring to glorify Him as I become more like Him through obeying His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.  

Jenn loves to dance. When she was growing up, she was invited to every junior high and high school dance that was offered. I mean, you can see why, she’s gorgeous. Well Jenn and I were at a marriage conference at Hume Lake a couple years ago. After the session on Saturday morning the host announced that one of the activities being offered that afternoon was dance lessons. And when Jenn heard that, she looked at me with that ‘look’ all of us husbands have gotten from our wives. It’s not ‘the look’ that says ‘You’re in trouble’, it’s that ‘puppy-eyes look’ that says, “Can we take dance lessons?” I nodded and said, “Yes, sure, I’ll try it.”

We had great instructors who gave great step-by-step instructions and made sure everyone, even those who were terrible dancers like me, had some success. When it was all done, Jenn was very happy. And I had a great time. I might just do it again! Afterall, dancing is not a sin.
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