Friday, March 15, 2013

Walk with Dogs: Sin and Repentance

This morning while taking the dogs on their daily constitutional, I meditated on sin and repentance.

The word sin congures up images of absolute:
God's Mad
Separated from God

Early in my 20's I became acquainted with Grace. A word thrown around a lot in churches, but not really defined. "Unmerited Favor" is the usual definition. "Not getting what I deserve" is also a classic, but those definitions are the skin of Grace. It was when I learned the definition of sin and repentance that I found freedom.

Setting aside the cultural and political definitions of the word, I went to the Hebrew and Greek Lexicons. "Sin" at it's core, simply means: miss the way, go wrong, to err, be mistaken, (and my favorite) miss the mark or target.

The application is simply, I miss God's fullness when I choose for myself.  I choose a candy bar for lunch over a salad, I am missing the target of health. If I speak an unkind word about someone instead of praying for them, I am missing the target of relationship and possible damage is the result.

Sin cannot exist in a Christian discussion without its counterbalance: Repentance.

Visions of tears, grand words of regret and prostrating at the front of the church come to mind. All theatrical and overwhelming. I turn to the Lexicons and again I find beautiful simplicity: regret, turn back, to change one's mind for the better.

Freedom came when I changed my mind about a choice, admitted my mistake to a loving God and purposed to learn the lesson. Sometimes it is as simple as a candy bar or an unkind word. Other times the action is bigger but the point is-big or small- a change of mind about the aim. The best companion we have for this is Holy Spirit, who we are sealed with when we accept Jesus.

Recovering from an eating disorder for 21 years has been a long journey. Often I would recognize my off-target eating and change my mind about it. The recovery gained traction when I accepted Holy Spirit's help to implement change. Part of Grace is accepting the partnership between God and I. It is only with Divine help that true change can happen. Sin and Repentance need no longer be extreme or alienating words.  With Jesus, sin and repentance are the facts of true change that lead to the great freedom of Grace.

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