October 17, 2010

Unintentional Sin

Written by Wisdom Hunters

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- October 17, 2010

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, When anyone sins unintentionally…if the whole community sins unintentionally…when a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the Lord his God, he is guilty.” Leviticus 4:1-2, 13a, 22a

Unintentional sin requires intentional actions. You can sincerely sin unknowingly, but this does not diminish your guilt or your sin’s effect. Indeed, unintentional sins may do the most harm. They are harmful because the offender is unaware of their sinful stealth behavior. There is an inoculation to sin’s presence. It is a scary place to live.

You may be treating your spouse in a subtle but sinful way. It may be silence when you need to speak, or speaking when you need to be silent. Your behavior may seem totally innocuous to you, but in reality it is hideously harmful to him or her. Your acidic actions may be unintentional, but the hurtful consequences are still alive and well.

Do not justify your sarcastic humor by claiming to be “just kidding.” What was intended to be a joke can easily evolve into a put-down and deep discouragement. You may have intended to build up, but in reality you tore down. Good intentions do not guarantee best results. They may even lead to bad behavior. You cannot justify unintentional sin.

This is tempting. After all, you did not mean to sin. However, where you meant to encourage, you discouraged. Where you meant to help, you hurt. Where you meant to serve, you provided a disservice. Where you meant to make things easier, you made them harder. Your motive may have been pure, but the results of your unintentional sins are still real. It is time to stop this vicious cycle and become intentional in confession and repentance. Shift your energy and efforts toward asking for forgiveness and changing your behavior.

Another key element is to be intentional in understanding and obeying the Lord’s commands. This process of education and application will preclude a lot of sinning unintentionally. His ways are what’s best. His path is paved with the right intentions, which in turn produce right results. God’s ways are the best ways. By the power of His Holy Spirit, He can lead you out of a harsh relational environment to one of humility and helpfulness. He can replace the insecurities that drive you with security that allows you to rest in Him.

His commands are healthy and good. Be intentional in acknowledging His calming presence and His gratuitous grace. This is the path to peace with God and peace with people. Be intentional to listen first to God before you speak to people or about people. Be intentional to extend mercy to others; there is a good chance they will do the same back to you. Be intentional to not sin unintentionally and life will become better.

Mostly, be intentional with your heavenly Father. He is there waiting for you. He is waiting to forgive. He is waiting to give wisdom. He is waiting to extend comfort. He is waiting to calm your fears. Be intentional with the Lord and He will lead you away from unintentional sins toward people.

And when you do blow it, He will be there to forgive and redirect your path. The road to sin can be paved with good intentions, but the road to God is paved with right intentions. He will lead you to be intentional in doing what’s right, so that you avoid unintentionally doing what’s wrong. God is “into” intentionality. Therefore, be intentional with Him!

Taken from the Dose 22 reading in Boyd Bailey’s Infusion. This 90-day devotional book is a compilation of the reader’s favorites from Wisdom Hunters daily devotional. Andy Stanley says, “I have walked with Boyd for over 20 years and I am definitely wiser for it. You are going to love this book!”

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