The Starting Point Series by Andy Stanley has had me thinking. He is hitting close to home, because even though I have been in relationship with God for many years and even have a little spiritual maturity, I still wrestle with sin. The series so far is laying the foundation for taking responsibility for our own brokenness. He has given the most practical definition of what ‘sin’ and being a ‘sinner’ is that I’ve heard in a long time. The earliest definition of sin that has remained with me for the last 20 years is “to miss the mark, to miss the bulls eye of perfection.” It does not differ from what Andy is teaching but his explanation goes much further.
Mistakes are errors resulting from defective judgement, deficient knowledge or carelessness and aren’t uncommon or without consequence and they happen all the time. But what happens when you do have sufficient knowledge of the consequence and it is hurtful to you or someone else but you continue to make the ‘mistake’, actually looking forward to doing it over and over? Is it still a mistake or something that runs a little deeper? Though it may or may not require forgiveness from someone, it is hurtful to you. Andy called this behavior sin and I agree with him. I wrestle with a sin over and over that could have consequence in some circles and in others its no big deal. Mostly, for me this ‘sin’ affects my relationship with the Lord because it weakens our intimacy. I ask for forgiveness from the Lord for being separated because I miss Him.
His forgiveness is required for us to have intimacy and for His presence to remain in my daily life. Anytime offense is repeated you can’t blame one side for removing themselves from relationship because they weary of the pain it causes. As I desire to grow in spiritual authority I have become increasingly aware of my need for His forgiveness. I wrestle with a ‘repeated mistake’ knowing it is more then just a mistake so I own up to it, know its sin and understand I am a sinner because I ‘miss the mark’ of perfection and miss it on purpose. I acknowledge that I offend Him taking responsibility for my repeated offense that separates us.
My struggle is not in acknowledging my sin but rather in confessing it. It takes wisdom to know “Who” is safe to make a confession of sin to for the purpose of getting free from it. As Andy explains, acknowledging a need for forgiveness is to bring about relational restoration. and should not be met with condemnation. Jesus died not to condemn us for our sin but rather to restore us to relationship with Himself. Jesus addressed sin to teach of restoration rather then condemnation. Somehow, the reality of this gets lost in christian circles. Most often, I have found condemnation from the church and not support toward restoration.
Through experience I find myself afraid to confess my sin because I don’t want someone in authority over me to suddenly deny what ever truth I do know and take away whatever authority I do have and condemn me rather then provide loving accountability. If I struggle as a mature christian with the fear of condemnation from the church even though I understand the process, how much more would unbelievers and young christians struggle with getting free?
I don’t want to ‘miss the mark’! I want to strengthen my aim at perfection. I am a sinner seeking a safe place to confess my sin for continued restoration to grow in deeper intimacy with the One who loves me. How I would love to be restored to deeper intimacy with Him through the accountability of people who love God like He loves me. I need trusted support to perfect my aim.
How about you? What about your aim toward perfection?