Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unintentional Sin

***Please see update below***

"Suppose you sin by violating one of the LORD's commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin."
Leviticus 5:17

Have you been there? At the time you were completely unaware and it wasn't done with intent, but suddenly you find youself asking forgiveness. In a moment of temptation you are caught off guard and yield to anger, lust or jealousy. You succomb in weakness and frustration. You hadn't planned to sin. You didn't spend days planning a scheme and cover-up, it just happened.

There is a vast difference between intentional and unintentional sin. One is wilful rebellion, the other accidental disobedience. Christ prayed from the cross to forgive those who crucified him, because they did not know what they did, Luke 23:34. Yet, whatever the qualifier, sin is still sin and must be confessed in order to be forgiven.

I frequently find myself praying from Psalm 139, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Father, show me where I have inadventently refused to follow Your commands.

When the Holy Spirit points out a sin, we are to immediately confess it, denounce it as unworthy of the Kingdom of God, renounce it and have nothing more to do with it, and call on the Lord for the strength to keep us from repeating it.

I find most often it is the unintentional sin that has me on my knees. A casual word has hurt a friend. A simple action offended. A decision made did not honour my parents. Too much time at some activity has made it an idol. I shared an answer based on my understanding, but it wasn't truth. A root of jealousy caused a reaction. I made a joke about something that didn't show respect for my husband. The list goes on and on.

I no longer need ceremonial offerings because of my sacrificial Lamb. The final price has been paid. With humble confession I can be restored to a right relationship with the Lord.

Thank You Father for the many times You have pardoned me from the punishment deserved. May the indwelling of Your Spirit quicken me to Your ways as I respond in love to You.

UPDATE: Well, I think the Lord wanted me to be able to share a personal example.

Before Christmas I had made some purchases on behalf of our Women's Ministry at the church. I submitted my receipt and was waiting to be reinbursed. The treasurer who looks after this is so efficient, I knew I would not wait long to have the funds returned. However, a couple of weeks went by and I couldn't remember receiving a cheque in payment for the purchases made. In speaking with this gal she felt she had already given me a cheque, but because I was so positive that I hadn't received any money she graciously agreed to issue me another one saying that when, or if, the original cheque showed up, to just return it to her. I honestly didn't think this would happen, as I strongly believed I hadn't received it.

I was cleaning out my purse. A little book in which I keep prayer requests had been tucked into my purse as I was going to be somewhere and I thought I would have some time to quietly pray for some needs. As I pulled it out of my purse, a larger envelope tucked inside caught my attention. Guess what it was? The original cheque.

Had I intentionally told this gal that I hadn't received it? No. Had I lied on purpose? No. This morning I went to her with the envelope in my hand, shared with her about my writing here today and told her I was coming home to update this post and leave this example.

Ladies, it can happen so easily!!!! After writing this earlier this morning I was thinking about other unintentional sins....like allowing Satan to make us discouraged or fearful...attitudes of the heart that might not necessarily be sinful, but can lead to sin. Oh how we need that shield of faith, breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation. Dressing in His full armor.

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Nicole said...


Luanne said...

Joy--thanks for your thoughts. As I read today, I kept underlining the phrases that referred to our unintentional sins.

When you become aware...

When you realize it's foolishness..

When you realize what you have done...

Praying that God will open my eyes.

God bless!

Laura said...

Oh, Joy, if I shared my experiences with this particular issue, I could fill a book! For me, often it is unexamined speech--I talk before I think! I'm working on holding my tongue, and thinking before opening my mouth!

Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

Very well put Joy! And your timely example was truly a "God moment".


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

My "unintentional" sins usually involve my mouth in one way or another. I speak before I think; sometimes it is immediately obvious that I have wounded and other times, not. How I pray for discretion over my words. It's been a life lesson, friend, but one that is finally sinking in...

except when it involves under garments.


Tracy said...

What a powerful post. These tend to be the sins that trip me up the most! Oh, that I would guard my heart against the unintentional sins BEFORE I commit them. Asking Him to put a guard upon my mouth and heart tonight...May the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart be pleasing to you O God...

Thank you for your kind prayers for my surgery! The revovery is going very smoothly. God is so good!


joy said...

Hi, I hope you have a good day. Thank you for inspiring us. You bring joy to our face.



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