I see many threads on this board where atheist or agnostics bristle at the concept of sin or particularly Original Sin. I had opportunity to write the following story for a different occasion a few months ago. It is not profound or deep or life changing. I simply share it for the purpose of presenting another perspective.
A few hours ago I was going through the normal nightly routine of getting the kids ready for bed. I have a daughter (10) and a son (7). No matter how many times we do this, if an outsider were to observe us on any given night they would swear that they were witnessing the first time. The kids always seem shocked that they would have to take baths and put on clean pajamas. "Did you brush your teeth?" is always confronted with a blank stare, as though I am suddenly speaking gibberish.
My wife and I do our best to try to read to them before bed. As of late, I am experimenting with reading more advanced, inspirational type books with my daughter. My son is there, but at age seven he rarely retains interest in anything past the first page. The last few nights I have been reading The Cause Within You, by Matthew Barnett. I am amazed at how well they have both have taken to it. I do have to censor a bit and I pause often to make sure they understand a given word or story and to see if they have questions. They understand well more than we give them credit for and their questions often force me to consider things from a new and different perspective.
Finishing, I began tucking them in and asked my daughter to start the bedtime prayer. Instead of the normal "Now I lay me...Ã¢?? for some reason she chose the Lord's Prayer. I kissed them both, told my son to put away the Nintendo DS, and headed toward the door. Something stopped me as I was turning off the light and I returned to the bedside.
I asked them both if they knew what "trespass" meant. "Sin", was the answer from both. They were also able to give me age appropriate examples of what sin might mean as well. I decided I would take it a step further and explain the origins of the word.
In its original classical Greek form the word used was hamartia and it meant "to miss the mark." When translated in the King James version the Old English archery term sin was used. When an archer would shoot at a target and miss, he was said to have sinned. The further off target, the greater the sin.
My daughterÃ¢??s eyes came alive and I could see the wheels turning. "Then does sin mean that we didn't do our best?" she asked. "No," I told her. "It simply means that we did not do God's best. God is perfect in all He is and all He does. We are never perfect. That is why the Bible says that "all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God." Even though we can never be perfect, we should always do our very best for God."
My daughter took just a moment to digest all of this. The most beautiful smile came to her face and she said, "Then we should always take our best shot." I smiled and told her that she was absolutely right. I kissed her forehead, tucked her in again and headed down stairs.
My wife and I talked for a bit and then she quickly dozed off. I tried to do the same, but I kept coming back to what my daughter had said. I began to realize that there was a depth to her comment that I failed to pick up on at the time. She said that we should always take our best shot. Said more simply, she was saying that we should always take a shot. In other words, take action. Do something.
I began to examine what it would mean to do the opposite of her suggestion. In other words, if one were determined to avoid sin at all cost could he or she do so by attempting to do nothing at all. No shot, not sin. If you don't try you can't fail.
It was then that I realized that I may have stumbled upon the biggest sin of them all. The furthest one could ever miss a target is to have never taken the shot at all. Infinite miss, infinite sin. Perhaps the closest we ever come to the glory of God is when we are taking action to the best of our ability, when we are giving our best to the task at hand.
Too often we tend to overly complicate things. We try to "pick the fly shit out of the pepper." We get bogged down in the minutia.
In the end, God asks us to do a few very simple things...
Love each other,
and to strive to constantly and consciously behave and think in a Christ like manor.
Don't over think it.