From Wikipedia: Hebrew hata “sin” originates in archery and literally refers to missing the “gold” at the centre of a target, but hitting the target, i.e. error. “To sin” has been defined from a Greek concordance as “to miss the mark”.
I imagined this message, which may be as crude as my drawing:
I imagined an archer practicing to hit the mark. This is similar to us trying to do things right. Whatever we practice at, we don’t always hit the mark, but we keep going.
Missing the mark means that we have to walk way past the target to where our arrows landed. This speaks to me of consequences. It’s no great drama to miss the mark, but this might require extra effort to resolve those consequences – maybe an apology or a journey to put things right. We gather up our arrows, clean up our mess and try again.
With some practice, we get better at hitting the mark and feel pretty good about ourselves. Our trainer, the master archer commends us for our great progress. Then he gets us to take a few steps back and continuing practicing.
Painfully, we miss the mark again. We have to walk even further for the consequences of our sin, feeling sorry for ourselves because we’re so useless, missing the mark again. But we’re forgetting that the master has allowed us to advance to a greater challenge. He is delighted in our progress and perseverance as we sin less against even greater challenges.
Our master doesn’t mind that we sin – only that we continue our training and we keep getting better. Sinning is part of the journey. Although it seems we’re as useless as the day we joined his academy, he delights in our progress and attentiveness to his instruction. He walks with us as we collect our arrows, teaching us along the way how we can do better. Each sin becomes a lesson for our improvement. When we repeat the same sin over and over again, we need to submit to the master’s instruction. Perhaps our technique must be rediscovered, Perhaps we need to strengthen ourselves or maybe we just need a rest.
Trust the master to coach us.
Shalom my friends