My friend, and fellow pastor, Bo, recently told a story about how the early church didn’t have a word to accurately describe the kind of love they saw expressed and live out by Jesus, so they made one up – Agape. Pretty cool, huh? To love so outrageously they have create a new word?
But that got me thinking about a word that church has misused for centuries. It’s a pretty word. One that’s been used to control, to manipulate, condemn, and hurt. That word is Sin.
In greek the word for is “Hamartia”. It means to miss the mark. It wasn’t always used to describe moral failure, we use it that way now, but it simply meant falling short of an objective for any number of reasons.
1 John talks a lot about hamartia. He basically breaks it down like this:
- We all miss the mark.
- Don’t miss the mark.
- If you do miss the mark, Jesus covers you.
1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin. We have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the righteous one.
So how can we start using this word how it was originally intended?
Often, we like to take things to extremes. The pendulum has swung from a strong holiness movement to a strong love movement, but I think what John is saying lands somewhere in the middle. The tension we must hold is grace AND truth. They must coexist for either to have any meaning.
Focus on the mark not the miss.
We all sin. What you put your focus on, is where you’ll usually end up. We have been born of God, and are new creations The old is gone, the new has come. It’s time to focus on that.
If you see something, say something.
Don’t make a practice of sinning, make a practice of confessing your sin. We all sin, and it’s time we start sharing about our brokenness instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.The best way to talk about falling short, is in the context of unconditional love. Do you have someone in your life you can share with? James 5:16says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
It’s time we started using the word “sin” correctly, and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring life and change to areas that are broken.