A missionary showed the chief of a primitive tribe a mirror.
'Who's that?', the chief asked as he looked into it.
'You', replied the missionary.
'How dare you say that!'.
The chief didn't like what he saw.
We act very much like that chief when the word ‘sin’ is applied to us. We don't mind phrases like 'human weakness' or expressions such as 'None of us are perfect' but the word 'sin' is rather insulting.
Sin means missing the mark
'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.' Romans 3 verse 23.
Are you better than Adolf Hitler? - Most people are.
Are you better than the Yorkshire Ripper? - Most people are.
Are you better than your neighbour? - You may be.
But are you better than Jesus Christ? - Of course not.
God doesn't compare you with others but he does compare you with his perfect Son, Jesus. And perfect means 100% right. In thought, word and deed.
If the pass mark for an exam is 100%, then even with 99%, you have failed. You may be better than someone with 20% but you have still missed the mark.
We have all missed God's mark and failed, and are therefore rightly called sinners.
Sin means breaking God’s law
‘Everyone who sins breaks the Law (God's Law ); in fact, sin is lawlessness.' 1 John 3:4.
The 10 commandments are a summary of God's law. And we break them by doing what we are commanded not to do. 'You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.' So often we use the name of God and Christ lightly, and even as a substitute for swearing.
We break them by our words. 'You shall not give false testimony...' - Remember, God sees our secret thoughts.
We break them by our attitudes. Jesus tells us -
'You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, "Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement." But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement.'
'"Do not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'
Jesus was showing us that we can break the law in our hearts by our attitudes. In another place Jesus said that the greatest law is - 'to love the Lord God with all your heart,...soul and mind.'
Do any of us love God in this way? No - so that makes us breakers of the greatest law.
Sin separates us from God, as a cloud separates us from the sun, because God is pure and holy and can't have sin in his presence. The Law has been broken and the penalty must be paid.
To live separated from God is mere existence, not life. If a fish jumped onto the riverbank it would soon die, because it was designed to live in water. We were designed to live in a relationship with God, but we jumped out of that by sinning. So, all that awaits us is death and then, eternal separation from God, in Hell.
However there is a way we can know friendship with God now, and the eternal joy of Heaven.
'The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.' Romans 6 verse 23
The only cure for sin is Jesus Christ. He, the Son of God, became a man and willingly took the wages of sin, by suffering death and Hell for us.
Religion is not the cure; prayers are not the cure; even your good works are not the cure. Jesus is the only cure.