It’s time to be honest with ourselves; call a sin a sin


Are you a mistaker or are you a sinner?

Most people are ready to admit their mistakes. That feels so much different than admitting you have sinned. A mistake is accidental. It is about insufficient knowledge. You didn’t know what you were doing. You didn’t know where it would lead.

You can plead ignorance when you make a mistake, but most of us have used the term mistake to talk about things that were not about insufficient knowledge. I am talking about those times when you knew for sure what you were doing was wrong, but you did it anyway.

Sometimes, people make their mistakes on purpose, but is that even possible? Can you really call it a mistake if you did the wrong thing on purpose? Have you ever heard of someone confessing to a mistake they had been making consistently for the past few months?

Can a mistake be planned or premeditated? And what do you call a planned mistake anyway? And what do you call it when you keep making the same mistake over and over again? That’s worse than a mistake, isn’t it?

Why do we resist the idea that we are sinners and not just mistakers? When you consistently do things that hurt you or the people you love, it’s hard to chalk that up to a mistake.

Perhaps there is a deeper issue in play. Maybe there is a bigger problem. Could it be that we have sinned, even though we would prefer to call it a mistake?

Sin is a willful transgression of God’s known law. A sinner is basically somebody who knows what is right, and they willingly go ahead and do what’s wrong. They know better. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they do it anyway.

When Jesus talked about sin, he often talked about sin in connection to relationship. And Jesus taught something that we have all experienced at least on some level at some point in our lives. Sin breaks relationships.

If you’ve ever broken a relationship, it’s because you did something that you shouldn’t have done or somebody else did something they shouldn’t have done or both of you did something you shouldn’t have done.

This may be a new thought, but when Jesus talked about sin, his goal was restoration, not condemnation. When we think of sin, we typically think of condemnation.

That is why we don’t want to talk about sin. How would it change things for you to embrace this understanding? We’ll pick up there next time.

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at or you can email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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