When you see the word sin, or someone mentions the word sin, do you get an ill feeling that runs through your mind and body?
When I was young I grew up in the Catholic Church. Now that I am an adult I can look back on those days with gratitude for the seeds that were planted that have brought me to where I am today, but there was a long detour before I got here...when I was a child, some of the lessons taught were harsh and stayed with me for much too long.
In a very early grade, one of the nuns/a teacher told all of the children in my classroom that each sin that we commit creates a black dot on our soul. She went on to say that if our heart was consumed by these black dots, there was no return and we would spend eternity in hell. Then we were shown depictions of what hell was...
A young child does not question an adult. And no one ever disputed this to me in those early years.
Let me just add, she did not mention the words "repentance" or "grace" or even the "forgiveness of sins" by the sacrifice that Christ made for us.
So, imagine possibly the mentality of a 1st grader trying to grasp this concept...
I am sure she meant well, right? Just trying to keep us from sinning... not realizing the consequences her words yielded.. Now fast forward to a freshman girl in high school, who is standing with a group of brand new friends, from a brand new school (peer pressure) in a sports field and watching them all smoke marijuana... feeling like this would be wrong, but... hey, my soul is most likely fully black with the dots of my accumulated sins, and I am already going to hell, so why not smoke that stuff...?
Yes, this was me.. not too smart.. not educated on sin, or repentance, or the LOVE of Christ and the forgiveness of sins. This was an innocent sin, but there were far more dangerous sins that followed me through my teens and young adulthood because I truly thought I was already damned. I was never taught differently. How was I to know?
There was no real study of the Bible in my parochial school. We were taught church dogma and doctrine, but not the beautiful words of the New Testament, that would surely have enveloped me with a better understanding of Who our God is.
So, what exactly does sin mean?
During our Bible study today, our leader, Donna, had researched many Greek and Hebrew words."Cheit" the Hebrew word for sin, which simply means, "missing the mark" The Greek word for sin is "hamartia" again, this means to "miss the mark."
Missing the mark. Not as radical as an unforgivable offense that leads you to hell.
We also covered repentance today. When we realize that we have "missed the mark." we can turn to God and ask for His forgiveness. AND WE WILL BE FORGIVEN! Somehow this concept was not alluded to in my childhood, so I was forever feeling like I was a horrible person, and the big scary God that I was taught of was ashamed of me.
In Hebrew the word for repentance is "teshuvah." which means literally "to return." This implies that transgression and sin are the natural and inevitable consequence of man's straying from God, and that it is mans destiny to be with God. So we return...
In Greek the word for repentance is metanoia. The word is translated as repentance, but this kind of repentance is not about regret, guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to, turn around, to face a new direction. We see it as turning back to God.
While I cannot cover everything that was discussed in our lesson today, this is what stayed with me so strongly. Never again do I want to see someone hurt or shamed by people, when our Lord is just waiting for us to know His truth and to fall into His arms, in our days of missing the mark, sorrow and days of praise.
We are imperfect people. We make mistakes. We sin, yes...we fall short sometimes. Our sin separates us from our Father, but there is always a way back!
We are loved so deeply by a gracious God. He asks us to sin no more, because it hurts us and those around us. That is what sin does, so it is only right that we should turn away from sin and turn back to our Father.
If you live with shame, please give this to Jesus. He died to take away that shame. Holding on to sin and shame will keep you under the constant cloud of self condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.
Remember, repentance is a beautiful thing! It leads us to the most glorious freedom! (KWI, Journey)
Now go live that glorious freedom! Enjoy this life! Keep turning back! You are loved by a gracious, merciful and understanding God. He forgives you... remember to forgive yourself! ❤
Beautiful scriptures for your week::
1 John 1:10
Homework for our ladies and those who wish to follow this week:
Read from, Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge, Chapters 20,21
Read Philippians 2