Sin. What a nasty word. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get some sort of ick feeling when they hear it. I certainly don’t like the word that much. It carries with it a drastic range of emotions from elitism, to shame, to the middle finger raised up to it. Images of street preachers on boxes preaching doom and turning from the fires of hell come to my mind.
Sin. No one really knows what to do with it. Christians don’t, atheists don’t, your average person just trying to do good in the world doesn’t either. In fact, not only do we not know what to do with it, we would rather pretend the word doesn’t exist at all. It truly becomes a place where offence can easily take place. It creates a sense of “higher/lower”, “us vs them”, you’re “in or out” that people strait up just don’t like.
But maybe we’ve got the idea sin all wrong?
The original greek word that “sin” came from is hamartes which means “to miss the mark”. I was sure it would mean, “to break the rules”, but that’s not the case. Interesting..
Each one of us carries a piece of the Father’s DNA in us. He carefully designed each one of us with His beauty and His wonder. My friend described God’s creation of us beautifully by reminding me that God “spoke” everything into existence, but with man He knelt on the ground, formed us with his very hand and breathed into us. He created us to experience the vastness of His realm. Inside each of us is His very kingdom. We all have a special part in this world that is valuable and honored by Him. Sin isn’t to do “bad things”. Sin is to miss this wonder. Sin is to become less than we were created for.
Yes, sin is to fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). This verse so commonly used has very often been shaming as if to say; “You have fallen short. You have been bad, wrong and God’s had to save your sorry butt so you better start writhing in sorrow for the awful things you’ve done”. I like the way Eugene Peterson’s, The Message refocuses the verse back onto God’s true intention. Romans 3:23 in the Message states: “Got set things right”. The focus is back on God’s heart to do whatever it takes to bring us back to our true identity, not on all the shit we get ourselves into.
If you’ve invited Jesus into your life, your life will be marked with trying, striving. Your emphasis will become, “I have fallen short”. You will focus on “sin” and “behaviour”. On the other hand, if you realize Jesus is actually inviting you into HIS life you will be able to receive what He is giving: restoration of who you actually are. You are precious, chosen and full of God’s wonder. He did all that was needed to provide the way for you to rediscover this. No striving, no effort needed; just receive it.
I just finished the most remarkable book I’ve ever read; The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. If you are on any journey to find true faith in Christ, or if you’re drained from Christianity’s do’s and don’t’s this book is something you need to dive into. One of the greatest revelations I received from the book was about forgiveness and repentance. I always thought that you “repent” so you can be forgiven. But it’s actually the other way around. God has already completely provided forgiveness. To repent (change our mind or destructive behavior) is actually a sign you’ve truly entered into that forgiveness. Mind blown. That completely has revolutionized the way I approach God, especially after I’ve screwed up.
As my friend Jen writes in her book, “Teach Us to Want”, “The truth about sin is that we want too little. We sin by wanting too much from God, but we also sin by wanting too little”.
Sin is settling for objects, behaviours and mindsets that take me away from who I was meant to be. I’ve actually said to my kids when engaged in negative behaviour, “Stop because this isn’t representing who you actually are”. Then I proceed to tell them who they are; you are kind, you are gentle, you are self controlled. Words are powerful. I’m in no way perfect at this and don’t do this in the heat of typical momma-reaction-mode, but it is something I’m trying to cultivate as I feel this is what God does with me. “Connie, that’s not who you are, this is who you are really….”
This mindset has not only helped me draw closer to God through mishaps that have come my way that usually would shame me to run from Him, but it has also given me a different point of view when looking at people caught in destructive behaviours, habits and mindsets. They are not “sinners” to me. They are beautiful people who have forgotten who they really are.