Something I continue to think about is how our faith is being communicated. As someone who likes to share the gospel, I am constantly wondering how to communicate the faith. When it comes to the word “sin,” I find myself struggling. It is both personal and yet can be corporate. The language I have heard trying to describe it usually misses the mark. That is until I heard the original meaning of the word.
Sin in a literal translation is to miss the mark. The Bible uses the word to also talk about a tribe that could use a slingshot and not miss the mark of a hitting a hair off someone’s head. When I apply this to the story of God and humans, we (humans) have missed the mark. We are not living up to our full potential. We are made for so much more than our selfish, self-centered, tribal thoughts and actions. If we are honest, we put ourselves first. We put the people we know and like first. We even put the people who act, think, and look like us first. This is not a hard conclusion to come to when you look at human history.
When we talk about the 10 Commandments, they can be categorized as loving God and loving others. That is why when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, he pairs loving God and neighbors together as one commandment. In fact, it can be argued that to love God is to love the people and to love people is to love God. These two thoughts and actions are so inseparable that they are one side of a single coin.
We fail to be truly human or live up to our fullest potential when we fail to love others/fail to love God. Sin then is missing that mark. When we fail to help, serve, comfort, and care for others, we fail to live out God’s love and God’s ways. We fail to help, serve, share, and love God.
If we are honest with ourselves, we miss the mark daily. We pass the homeless person without even an acknowledgment of them, we yell at people in the car, we get frustrated with the retail worker at the store for something they can’t control, we pretend not to hear the person trying to get your attention hoping they will leave you alone, you tell a white lie because you really did forget that important date or event, and so on and so on.
With Jesus the one who never missed the mark, we have hope and faith that what is true of him is true of us. That our failures do not get to be the full picture of who we are. Our moments of selfishness and weakness do not define us. Instead, God’s love, mercy, and grace do.