This entry is part 12 of 23 in the series Via Negativa

I have heard it often spoken in churches, you are a sinner! We most often base this on a handful of verses out of scripture like the famous “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of god”. And so we fall into the trap where we think that we are what we do, that our identity is our personality or our ego is who we are.

It is commonly agreed (among Christians and theologians) that out of the over twenty different words used for sin in the New Testament the most often used is hamartia missing the mark. From this point of view sin is whenever we act, not according to our true self, our essence, we sin. And while it is true that we all do this and sometimes we do this a lot, almost all the time. The truth is that it also means that we are not sinners, we are in fact children of god. We are loved by god and it is when we act not according to this true identity that we sin.

It also means that most of the time our definition of sin is sinful (miss the mark). This is true because it is when we are sad on the inside and plaster a fake smile on our lips that we sin, when we pretend to be strong and courageous, while on the inside we know that we are vulnerable and fearful. It is when we allow ourself to feel what we are really feeling deep down inside and express it that we are being true to ourselves. For example, when you hit yourself on your thumb with a hammer and you let out a litany (swearwords or not) that is a true expression of what we are experiencing in the moment, not sin. when we loose ourselves in lovemaking and we become one with our beloved with no hidden agenda or distracting thoughts we are being true and not sinful. But when our ego getsto dictate our actions and we act based on fear and unnecessary self preservation that is when we miss the mark, that is when we do not express our true identity (child of god, beloved of the divine, part of the oneness of creation).

You are not your personality, you are not a sinner not at your core, it is not your identity. John Eldredge writes in his book Wild at Heart: “Your sin is not what is most true about you.” The scriptures assert over and over again that you are loved, you are holy, you are sacred, you are divine.

This is why holiness is such a relief. Holiness is taking of the masks and relaxing into who you truly are, your essence, your origin and your destiny. It is why Jesus says come to me all who are tired and sick of it (tired of pretending, sick of playing games) because the path I will show you is easy and will give you no burden to carry, no role to fulfil. No more pretending, no more acting, no more grandstanding or posturing, no religious games or shallow piety. It is living deeply out of who you truly are giving your unique gift to the world by manifesting your essence.  Scripture tells us that we are works of art (poema) created for good works that are prepared along the way, nothing we must accomplish or make happen but moments that become beautiful just because we show up as ourselves giving our unique, deep gift, being who we where meant to be as integral parts of gods spectacular creation.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Series Navigation<< Our humanity is not the enemyTattoos are not evil >>

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Awesome essay! It seems to me though that the majority of the modern churches’ dogmas seem to be the complete converse of what Jesus himself actually taught. But then the teachings of Jesus are usually about becoming a free and holistically happy person who extends their love to all, rather like a young child. I feel that an instrument of control such as the catholic church requires you to feel guilty for being you, then it has power over your life.


Your last paragraph took me in deep blissful meditation 🙂
A beautiful article, so true. This concept of sin was always what reacted to the most in religious class, even as a young child- and with the Roman Catholic background, sin and guilt are almost part of the genetic build up!!
I really enjoy how you explain this idea or concept of hamartia.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x