Saving the Word Sin

sinI recently listened to a sermon that made an interesting comment. While this wasn’t the whole focus of the sermon the point was this: we’ve moved from a culture of confession of sins, to managing mistakes.

And I think this is true. We often no longer think of ourselves as “sinning” but instead we make a mistake. We made a poor choice, which we are sure to improve upon next time. We made an error in judgment but we will improve. We have a problem that needs a little alignment. We have virtually removed the language of sin from our vocabulary.

Now this is probably in response to a very poor understanding of what sin really is. Sin is not a moral term, it is not a term that means you don’t have value or worth. Sin is a theological term that reminds us that our relationship with God has been broken and needs fixing.

And here is why I think we need to keep the language of sin in our vocabulary (as misunderstood and abused as it has been). The reason is this: I never take my mistakes to God. I acknowledge them, recognize them, and even give reasons for them. But I don’t take them to God.

With the language of sin we are reminded of the need of confession, and confession is a practice we need to keep. Confession invites God into our lives for transformation. Confession is where we acknowledge our weakness and limits and ask God to do something miraculous. Confession is where we often start to see God work. The problem with the language of “mistakes” is that we never take them to God. And therefore, we don’t invite God into our lives to do a powerful, transformative, and redemptive work.

So while I surely make mistakes, I also sin. And lately I’ve been realizing the importance of naming what is really happening in my life. Because when I honestly name what is happening, and call something in my life sin, I am also simultaneously inviting God in. And I just think that’s important.

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