What is Sin?

I am preparing for an upcoming sermon on the topic of sin. I needed some ideas so I posted the question What is sin? on the home page of a Facebook group I belong to. The group’s purpose is to foster discussion on how one might best follow the example of Jesus in our modern world.

People in the group were obviously interested in my question since I received nearly a hundred responses. Here are some examples.  I have combined or summarized ideas that were very much the same. 

Sin is………….

  • Missing the mark like in archery. You aim for perfection but fall short. 
  • Spending your time and energy and money on the wrong things. 
  • Selfishness
  • The opposite of good
  • Anything less than love
  • Using an illegitimate means to achieve a legitimate end
  • Disrespect
  • Not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • Ignoring love
  • Going your own way instead of God’s way
  • Idolatry
  • Something that breaks trust
  • Something that leads you away from a good and purposeful life
  • Pushing God away
  • Not listening
  • Missing an opportunity to love
  • Abusing power
  • Thinking you have the right to choose your own reality
  • A lack of integrity
  • Making bad choices
  • Sin and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin and the relationship between them is hope 
  • Anything that is out of kilter with what you were created to be or meant to be

There are two definitions that I am going to expand on in my sermon. 

  • Sin is anything that causes harm to your relationship with yourself, others, the earth or God. 
  • Sin is the refusal to grow. 

I am very grateful to all the people who took the time to respond to my query. How would you answer the question What is sin? 

Other posts……..

Silent Prey

Blaming Satan is Misguided and Dangerous

A Black and White Religion




Filed under Religion

3 responses to “What is Sin?

  1. litolabrador

    It’s interesting that the most succinct and poignant biblical ‘definition’ of sin, “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4), is not among the suggestions above.

    Living without ‘law’ (Torah) – God’s norm is sin.


  2. Hmm, this is really interesting. Sin’s more than just a behaviour. Maybe it’s more of an attitude . . . of fear. It definitely defines us as humans. Animals and trees don’t sin.


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