Ancient Israel called sin hamartia, or missing the mark. The sin of a person's selfishness misses the mark only insofar as it harms both parties affected. "Sin" is such a loaded, judgmental word that I don't even like using it. Unfortunately, another one hasn't been found. To deny its existence because overtly religious folk have abused and twisted its meaning is simply burying one's head in the sand. Evil happens. Sin is. And our sins and regrets from the past seem obdurate, stubborn. They are sticky, like gum spit out in July on hot asphalt. You step in it, you'll know its stickiness.
In Hazelden's devotional Twenty-Four Hours a Day a phrase continues to be an earworm from my treatment days: those two awful eternities. Basically what they are saying is that the past and the future, with its sticky sins and its terrible fears does us no good. Here's the quote:
Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.
Sin may seem to stick to us. The past may continue to haunt us. Obdurate and stubborn, sin missing the mark is difficult to shake off (especially for perfectionists like me). But as a believer who hears the story as "truth-building", I believe that the haunting of the past or the fear of the future are just phantoms of a different reality, a reality without Jesus of Nazareth.
Fortunately for us, we have a different story.
It makes the sin a whole lot less sticky. I hate being sticky, don't you?