Literally speaking, to sin means “to miss the mark.” It may also be described as failing to be and do what God commands and doing what God forbids (1 John 3:4). Sin is not an action against an impersonal set of rules. Rather, it is a rebellion against God’s personal desires and requirements. This is true even when our thoughts, words, or actions are not consciously directed against God himself. Even seemingly small wrongs against other people are serious in God’s eyes, because every wrong is a violation of his will.
Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 119
Food for Thought
When you reflect on sin in your life, do you consistently characterize it by something you do? Or have you also considered something you haven’t done?
For most of us, our daily (perhaps hourly) confessions frequently revolve around us telling God how sorry we are for something we have done–a “sin of commission.” This type of confession is indeed necessary, but can quickly become mere repetition–we know we’ve done something to offend God and so we confess it, almost flippantly, to restore right relationship. This indicates a level of immaturity in our walk with Christ.
However, there should come a time in our spiritual walk when we become aware of the things we should be doing but aren’t–the “sins of omission.” They are no less serious in their nature. Many of these are in the form of missed opportunities. Did you ever have a chance to tell somebody about a great thing God has done in your life but you said nothing? What about failing to apologize or to reach out in forgiveness related to an offense God brought to memory? While these may not seem like “confessionable” sins, if God was truly prompting you and you ignored that prompt, then they are characterized as rebellion against God, and therefore do require confession.
Think about the righteous things you may have failed to do, particularly in a conflict you may be facing today. Don’t walk away without realizing they are sins of omission rather than mere missed opportunities. It’s not always what you do, it’s frequently what you haven’t done. Yet if your heart is repentant and you confess, Jesus stands ready to forgive and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17
|Resources to Help You Respond to Conflict BiblicallyHave you appreciated nibbling on the morsels of wisdom contained in PeaceMeal? The quotes come straight out of our flagship resource, The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande. If you haven’t read this book, we encourage you to buy it and dig into the “main course” of biblical principles in it! If you have already read it, consider buying an extra copy of the book to give away to friends or family members who would be blessed to read it. The Peacemaker is available through our online bookstore or call our Resource department at 800-711-7118.
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