What Does "Sin" Actually Mean?
By Fr. Bjorn, OES
Let's talk about sin. What is it, exactly?
The Christian bible tells us repeatedly that Jesus "died for our sins", but never addresses the nature of these sins.
The Hebrew bible addresses sin as failing to keep the law of Moses, which leads to having to make an offering of some kind to atone for said sins.
The word sin is also used by non-Abrahamic faiths as well, which I assume has a similar meaning to the word "sin" as used by the Abrahamic faiths.
The word itself means "to fall short", or "to miss the mark". Interestingly enough, this is not what many, if not most of us think of when we hear the word sin. We thinking of eternal suffering, abandonment by God and the pointing fingers of those around us.
Perhaps if we approached the idea of sin as "not quite getting it", we might come to a place where our own self-hatred takes the back seat, and the love of God can fill us with the understanding needed to make what we have done or have left undone right.
I believe this is where and how forgiveness begins. It is not that those we offend by our ignorance and arrogance (or vise versa), forget about the incident of our "not quite getting it right", but that they and we ourself choose love over anger and resentment.
I would encourage each of you to challenge your own pre-conceived notions about sin and forgiveness alike, and reflect on how you might shift your view from one of a wrathful, angry God to one of a loving parent who rejoices at the growth of their beloved child.
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Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.