How often has a new Christian or friend asked is ____ a sin? You can fill in the blank with any number of responses. Smoking, drinking, pre-marital sex, gossip, divorce…the list goes on and on.

I often wondered why this question was asked so often…are we trying to find out how much we can get away with and still make it to heaven?

When we consider “what is sin?”

By the Strong’s definition sin is:

  • To be without a share into
  • Miss the mark to err,
  • Be mistaken
  • To miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honor,
  • To do or go wrong
  • To wander from the law of God, violate God’s law,
  • Sin – that which is done wrong,
  • Sin – an offense, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act collectively,
  •  The complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many

So just pick your poison and define what is sin.

Psalms 19:12 (KJV) asks “who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”Then the Passion Translation asks the same question in a slightly different way it asks, “Without this revelation-light, how would I ever detect the waywardness of my heart? Lord, forgive my hidden flaws whenever you find them.

Collective sins are referenced in Romans 3:23 (KJV): For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…

And sins that are a bit closer to home are talked about in James 4:17 (ESV): So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Could these secret faults, these hidden flaws, these collective sins, these close to home sins be those things that come from the doors and windows of our mouths because it’s living in the hidden corners of our hearts.

I am remembering the story of Peter denying JESUS that fateful night before His crucifixion.

After the resurrection of Christ and before he went home to  glory, Jesus gave Peter a job interview. Jesus knew Peter’s resume (Peter betrayed and denied knowing Jesus in His hour of need, Peter was impetuous, Peter assaulted with a deadly weapon military personnel, all of this on one night) but after a three question interview , (do you love me more than these); Jesus reinstated Peter, he gave Peter the position with the job description to feed my sheep.

The Bible is silent on Peter’s “these” just as it may not spell out our “these,” but we can examine ourselves, asking ourselves ‘do I love God more than my pet habit, more than my rituals, more than my pet addiction, more than being in my comfort zone?’

When I was a young new Christian it seemed everything was a sin (wearing pants, wearing lipstick, roller skating, dancing, pop music, going to church without hose). If it was fun it was spelled “SIN.” The only things that were not sins seemed to be eating and going to church.

Through all the don’ts I emerged  strong in my Christian faith knowing that like Peter if I loved God more than “these”  then He could use me in His service, if I loved God more than “these” I could be His light.

The next time the dilemma of what is sin comes up consider this: do I love Jesus more than THESE?