I have been thinking a lot lately about sin. We all sin, (Romans 3:23), we all struggle with things, and we all are called to repent of our sins (Matthew 3:2, Acts 3:19).
It isn’t simple to define sin.
Lately, I have felt like God is trying to teach me more about sin. He is trying to point out to me some obvious sins, but also calling me to pray for my eyes to be opened to things I am doing that don’t realize are sinful.
Okay, so what the heck constitutes a sin, anyway?
We know murder is a big no-no.
Probably shouldn’t steal either.
Lying is probably bad, but when I tell my kid clients “that makes me sad” when they run down the hallway instead of using their walking feet, and really I don’t have a change of emotion from happy to sad… I mean is that a sin?
So to start this series, I wanted to delve into some named sins in the Bible. These are black and white areas, they are not up for question.
These are sins listed in the Bible:
- Having more than one god (Exodus 20:3)
- Serving other idols and gods (Exodus 20:4-6)
- Using God’s name as a curse or swear (Exodus 20:7)
- Not keeping the sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8-11)
- Dishonoring your mom or dad (Exodus 20:12)
- Murdering (Exodus 20:13)
- Cheating on your souse (Exodus 20:14)
- Stealing (Exodus 20:15)
- Lying about others (Exodus 20:16)
- Jealousy over what your friends have that you don’t (Exodus 20:17)
As I was typing out those commands from Exodus 20 where Moses is given the 10 Commandments from God, I was overwhelmed what each of those things might look like in my life:
- Having more than one god (Exodus 20:3)
- Serving other idols and gods (Exodus 20:4-6): serving money, caring about other’s opinions of me more than God’s (which plays into the clothes I buy, how I spend my money, what I say, how I do my hair, how much I might workout, etc.), working too much for the love of money or “fame”.
- Using God’s name as a curse or swear (Exodus 20:7): maybe this means all cursing, maybe it just means don’t say “God ___” or “oh my god!”…
- Not keeping the sabbath holy (Exodus 20:8-11): working 7 days out of the week, not taking time to focus my attention on God, taking no rest, spending all my time busying up my life so I forget what’s really important, not setting aside time for the Body of Christ.
- Dishonoring your mom or dad (Exodus 20:12): doing things that would shame my parents, or maybe this could also mean shaming my Heavenly Father, lying to my parents, being rude to my parents, abusing the things my parents have given me, etc.
- Murdering (Exodus 20:13): well, I did kill that fly… and that house plant… I kid, but this one seems pretty forthright.
- Cheating on your spouse (Exodus 20:14): don’t sleep with another person, don’t kiss them, don’t lust after them physically or emotionally; what about putting your job before your relationship with your spouse? what about having a friend you start spending more time with than your spouse?
- Stealing (Exodus 20:15): clocking in 5 minutes before your shift starts but not working, for me it’d be saying I saw a client for longer than I did so I could get more minutes towards my productivity requirement and, thus, earn my bonus. What about borrowing my roommates something-or-other without asking?
- Lying about others (Exodus 20:16): saying someone did something that they didn’t, lying to others
- Jealousy over what your friends have that you don’t (Exodus 20:17): this one is the worst for me – wishing I had their things, their relationships, their trips, their hair, their body, their clothes, etc.
So the bold parts are the black-and-white, we know we are commanded not to do those things. But where it gets fishy and so confusing are those italicized parts. I guess according to some moral standard I know I am not supposed to do a lot of those things, but are they sin?
The dictionary defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against a divine law.”
Well that was helpful.
I think this is where sin can be so rough. As a woman pursuing God, I am trying my best to live according to His commands for all humans, but also for my life. And I could beat myself up about sin daily, because we are all guilty and probably so each minute of the day.
The first step for all of us is to ask for forgiveness for sin – name them if you choose.
The next step is to ask God to reveal our hidden sins. By hidden I mean those that we aren’t even aware of being sinful.
Take the time to do that today.