March 4, 2011

Unintentional Sin

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- March 4, 2011

“If the entire Israelite community sins by violating one of the Lord’s commands, but the people do not realize it, they are still guilty.” Leviticus 4:13

Unintentional sin still has very real consequences. For example, I can forget to report extra income to the Internal Revenue service, but I still owe the taxes and interest on the overdue obligation. Or, I can make a flippant remark to my spouse or children as a weak attempt at humor and not realize how badly I hurt their feelings. My good intentions can mean well, however the consequences of sinful actions still need genuine forgiveness.

It’s not enough to say, “I didn’t mean to”, or “That’s not what I meant”. Inadvertent actions that bruise relationships, question our integrity or violate the Lord’s commands require a response of confession and repentance. It’s woefully inadequate to blame memory loss or ignorance on behavior that assumes things are ok—when sin is present.

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

This is especially true with children for they need behavioral boundaries. Parental love defines and enforces limitations with their little ones (soon to be big ones!). Children in their formative years need to understand: respect, honesty and obedience are rewarded. But disrespect, dishonesty and disobedience are punished. Grace gives good guidelines.

Perhaps with your older children you draw up a one page “contract” that clearly defines appropriate attitudes and actions. Access to their cell phone and car can be contingent on carrying out the commitments outlined in the agreement. Other family members can witness what’s written down with their supportive signature and prayers. Indeed, intentional actions that create clarity and accountability impede unintentional sinning.

“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, Amplified Bible).

Furthermore, what intentional guidelines do you have in place to preclude unintentional sin in your life? Fundamental is educating yourself in the ways of God, as defined in His word. Spend time listening to the Lord and to friends who hold you accountable with caring questions like, “Is your company compliant with government regulations?” “Are your motivations in alignment with Almighty God’s agenda?” Be intentional to be right.

“Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21).

How can I be intentional with my attitude & actions to not be guilty of unintentional sin?

Related Readings: Psalm 90:8; Ezekiel 45:20; Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 9:7

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