There are many different ways to describe what sin is. “Missing the mark” is perhaps the closest definition to this complex, three letter word. It is a good description of sin; we try our hardest to be holy and righteous, to please God, but all too often our broken, human nature causes us to miss the perfection that we receive when we live with God.
I’ve heard of another definition of sin that I really like. I’m not sure exactly where I heard it, but another definition for sin might be “the twisting of something good.” Allow me to explain.
The twisting that sin causes can be related to “missing the mark.” We are trying our hardest to obey God and live pure lives, but we continually miss the mark, or our ways are actually twisted.
Basically, God has given us something good. He has created us in His image, we have been created to do wonderful, good things that are pleasing to God. We are good, until sin entered the world. Now we continue to sin, by taking this wonderful life God has given us, and twisting it into something horrible.
This word twisting is quite descriptive or almost violent. Imagine you have some brand new Play-doh right out of the container. Its perfect, cylindrical shape is quite appealing. Suddenly you grip it in both hands and violently twist the Play-doh. It’s no longer a nice, perfect form. It’s original shape has been destroyed, however it is still Play-doh, it may even have some similarities to the original shape. But it has become mangled and turned into something different.
That is what happens in our lives when we allow sin to take hold of us. We have something good and perfect, a life with God, and sin has come around and messed everything up. It may still look like we are following God’s design for us, but in reality our vision has become skewed.
Need something more applicable to our lives? How about all the different world religions? All throughout history humans have fallen into sin as they worship false gods. They seek something good, they seek after God, but sin twists their view and they begin worshiping idols. They take the image of God and twist Him into something that will fulfill their earthly desires.
Another example is in concern with the Sabbath and we see this frequently throughout the Bible. How often do we see Jesus heal on the Sabbath and then be criticized and rebuked by the religious leaders for working on the Sabbath? These religious leaders have taken one of God’s commandments, something good and holy, and they have blown it out of proportion. They would go so far as to ignore serving those in need in order to follow the commandment they had twisted.
I’m not sure if this definition can be applied to all of the atrocious sins mankind has created throughout history but it certainly can be applied to many.
Can our twisted selves ever be repaired? Well, we can get close. Going back to our Play-doh example; truthfully, the only way to form it into it’s original shape would be to start over. You can try to reshape it and come close to that cylinder but you will never recreate it exactly. Right now, God is reshaping us back to that perfect form and eventually the time will come when He will start over and we will finally be made perfect again.
I like this idea that sin is “the twisting of something good” because when we see people caught up in sin, or when we find ourselves drowning in sin, we can know that sin has skewed our view of what we believe is good. We need someone else to help guide us back to the proper life, or we need to guide others to proper understanding. By constantly asking the Holy Spirit to fill us continually we might better avoid the the skewed image that sin presents us. We believe that what we are doing is pleasing to God but sin can easily blind us to the truth and twist our lives if we are not careful.