By Daniel Shafer
Heading into week two of our series Making Sense of Sin, we need to have an honest discussion about OUR OWN sin.
Last week David McNeely led us through what sin is, and why it is so important to deal with. As he said in his follow up blog post “The ultimate reason we are to deal harshly with it is because we want to LOVE what God loves and HATE what God hates.
With the idea that we should love what God loves and hate what God hates in mind, we need to realize how we JUSTIFY and MINIMIZE our sins.
One of the ways Christians (or anyone) justify or minimize sin is by labeling it as a “mistake.” It’s much easier to admit to making a mistake than it is to confess a sin. Using the term mistake is an easy way to deflect our sin as something less, something that was an accident, something for which we don’t really need forgiveness.
A mistake can be glossed over; after all, it’s no big deal. Everyone makes mistakes, so, therefore, no one should judge you for the mistake you made.
So, what is the difference between MISTAKES and SIN?
James 4:17 states, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
When you read this, and you’re honest with yourself, it’s nearly impossible to not recognize when your actions are sin and not mistakes. Knocking over a cup and spilling its contents is a mistake.
Or you typing in a web address incorrectly and stumbling onto a porn site, that’s a mistake, until you linger, or keep looking. Then it’s sin. Purposefully doing it, when you know you shouldn’t, is a sin. The difference is knowledge and the heart.
Why is it so important to not only recognize our sin as such, but also to acknowledge and confess it? The Bible gives us a clear reason.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1 John 1:8-10
Acknowledging and confessing our sin is the first step in repentance and forgiveness. As 1 John states, if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us. But if we deceive ourselves, if we try to lessen our actions in our own minds and to others, we make a mockery of what Christ has done for us.
To restate what David told us last week, we should love what God loves, and hate what God hates. If we are to do this, we need to acknowledge and confess where we sin, not try to pretend we are just “mistakers.”