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Mistake or Sin?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -I John 1:9

Baseball players have their own way of explaining things. For example: when a pitcher gives up a home run, the pitcher says, “The curve ball was flat; in the middle of the plate.” Or he might say, “I left the pitch up.” But one of the most colorful descriptions I’ve seen was some years ago by Chicago Cubs pitcher Bob Patterson. The Cincinnati Reds’ Barry Larkin had hit one of his pitches for a game-winning home run. Patterson described it as “a cross between a screwball and a change-up. It was a screw-up.”

Ever “screw-up?” Every “blow it?” Have you ever made a wrong choice or decision which you lived to regret? Or have you done something, or failed to do something which was just wrong? Join the crowd. We all have and do. It’s the nature of flawed, sinful creatures. And we all know it.

But there’s an important distinction in how we look at it. Patterson’s pitch was a mistake. He didn’t intend to make a pitch like that. He was trying to make the right pitch. Some of our failures are mistakes. We didn’t know better, so we made the wrong decision. We tried to do the right thing.

But we also make choices, take actions that are clearly wrong. A popular sports or entertainment figure commits a immoral or illegal act. When, caught and held accountable she/he says, “I made a mistake.” It becomes a means of denying responsibility, an excuse.

The difference between these two attitudes is important for our relationship with God. Mistakes are the result of being human (They still can be very costly). Intentional choices to do wrong are the result of sin. And, unless we accept responsibility (confess) and turn away from them, prevent us from knowing God and his forgiving grace.

As followers of Jesus, we acknowledge our sin, by God’s grace are forgiven and given new life.

This also is in the Messiah July Newsletter.
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