So, let us return to the “Three Flavors of Sin” Theory for a moment. Although my wife has mad skillz concerning the ability to upload pictures, I don’t. Therefore, if this works, be impressed.
Wrong idea of “righteousness” and God’s standard:
Right idea of “righteousness” and God’s standard:
Missing the Mark
I believe that the Hebrew idea of sin supports this. Although there are a whole bunch of different words for sin (for example, “Pesha” means a deliberate, rebellious act against God, while “avon” basically means a moral failing), there is a word for sin, “Chata’” which basically means “to miss the mark” and is intended to make the reader think of an archer.
So let’s play with that for a second, being that I have been playing the Archery on Sports Champions for my PS3. You are an archer, seeking to aim straight and true for the bullseye. Your archery coach comes up to you and says “Alright, listen up. Good archers don’t hit the top left area of the target.”
“Alright. Thanks. I got it.”
“No, seriously. No archer who hits the top left area can ever hope to be good enough to get to the finals.”
“Okay. Top left area, bad.”
“Young archery padawan, I cannot emphasize this enough. Listen closely, to shoot the top left sector is a grievous and morally atrocious error.”
“Alright, got it. Geez, here goes.”
Cautioned by your teacher, you aim and fire, and you hit the bottom right corner in order to ensure that you do not hit the top left. Do you get to go to archery finals? No. You didn’t hit the bullseye.
I hope that this example strikes you as absurd, over the top, and kind of stupid. Because it is stupid…no archer thinks “I better not hit the top left portion.” They are single-mindedly targeting the bullseye.
Likewise, Christian maturity is not about “not hitting the wrong spots” but rather about hitting the right spots. Christian maturity is not really about avoiding sin, but rather it is about being constantly conformed into a Christlike person (who, by the way, didn’t sin…but “not sinning” is a pathetic way to describe the incredible life that He lived).
Because GOD FORBID THAT WE SHOULD STEER SO FAR AWAY FROM SEXUAL SIN THAT WE FALL INTO SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. Equally so, GOD FORBID THAT WE SHOULD FLAUNT OUR “FREEDOM” (to show those legalists that we can freely do these things and still be in the will of God) AND END UP SLIPPING INTO IMMORALITY.
A quick battleground – Cohabitation
Let me take a quick example…cohabitation (boy and girl living together, while unmarried) is not biblically forbidden anywhere. However, most conservative Christians have it pegged as wrong because they assume that if you’re living together, you’re sleeping together. (And does the Bible actually say premarital sex is wrong? Interesting question. Read here to find out!) The problem is, they teach that the cohabitation itself is wrong.
Now, I can get out there and teach everybody that cohabitation is not wrong (because I believe this to be a true statement), but honestly, I believe that teaching this would do more damage than good. Because if I were to teach this, then my reaction against legalism (pride of life) would land a good many people into the temptation zone, where there is a much higher chance of failure. In the fight against legalism, I place people closer to following fleshly lusts.
If you want another, more controversial example, read the next post…parenting. (Written by a non-parent, of course.)