Calling Sin a Mistake Is a Mistake

mistake

noun

1. an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, etc.

2. a misunderstanding or misconception.


sin

noun

1. transgression of divine law:

the sin of Adam.

2. any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense:

It’s a sin to waste time.


Recently, I read the apology of the mayor of Nashville, TN about the affair she carried on with a member of her security detail where she said that she had made “a mistake.” After all, we are all human and all prone to make mistakes. I have made mistakes in actions. I have made decisions that I thought were wise and beneficial, only to discover that those decisions were poor ones because I didn’t possess all of the information I needed. I confess that I am not as proficient as my math teacher sister and have often made mistakes in calculations. My opinions are not infallible, so I have made mistakes there. Poor reasoning, carelessness, and insufficient knowledge as well as misunderstanding and misconception have all played a part in the many mistakes I have made during my 62 years of life. I certainly regret these mistakes and the consequences which have followed them.

However, when I hear people describe deliberate, premeditated, and serious breaches of morality and ethics as “mistakes,” I bristle because it seems that they use it to minimize or excuse these breaches.

1 John 3:4 (WEB) Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.

I think it is a mistake to call sin a mistake, because it seems that we are seeking to deflect the severity of our trespass and alleviate our guilt. We downplay the hurt and the consequences of our sin. We seek to excuse our wrongdoing by giving the impression that we didn’t know what we were doing, or that we didn’t realize the consequences. It’s not really our fault or, at least, not fully our fault. If you knew all of the extenuating circumstances, surely you would understand why this happened. But trying to blunt the reality of our sin and its consequences only keeps us from fully embracing the responsibility for our sin, deeply feeling the remorse for its hurt to us and others, and truly repenting of our sin and seeking to turn away from it. It also minimizes the price that has been paid for sin (Hebrews 9:26; Isaiah 53:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3).

Embrace in one act the two truths–thine own sin, and God’s infinite mercy in Jesus Christ. ~ Alexander MacLaren

We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. ~ C.S. Lewis

Let us stop the progress of sin in our soul at the first stage, for the farther it goes the faster it will increase. ~ Thomas Fuller

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2 Responses to Calling Sin a Mistake Is a Mistake

  1. LINDA R. TUNKS says:

    I feel that she is trying to minimize what she did because she got caught. The public is not stupid here. They realize that tax payer funds were used to carry on this affair…stealing is a sin as well as adultery.

  2. Mark Mills says:

    Well said. While it is not ours to judge, that does not mean sin gets downgraded. Loved the comments at the end as well. I’m a sucker for C. S. Lewis! Have a great day, brother!

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