There is a lot bound up in every sin. Sin is missing the mark—an arrow that has veered so far to the left or the right that it has flown past the target. Sin is transgression, disobedience toward a known law or standard. Sin is iniquity, premeditated rebellion against God. And lately, especially as I’ve been examining my own life, I’ve also been seeing sin as immaturity. Sin is a failure to grow up.
We expect that children will behave in immature ways. It may dismay us—but not surprise us—when a toddler responds to his toy being taken away by throwing a temper tantrum. It does not surprise us when a pre-teen rolls her eyes and slams her door when her parents take away her iPad. Toddlers and children are immature and behave in immature ways. They lack the maturity to respond in more appropriate ways.
The Bible acknowledges that when we become Christians we are spiritual infants. We are immature. We are immature in our behavior because we are immature in our thinking. We have not yet put on the mind of Christ so do not yet display the actions of Christ. As we grow up in the Lord, we begin to think maturely and this allows us to behave maturely. Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Corinthians 13:11). This is the challenge for each one of us—to put away our childish ways.
Thus, in its own way, sin is evidence of immaturity. It is immaturity. If I get angry and act explosive about petty things, it is evidence I’ve not yet grown up to the extent that I can put such slights in their proper perspective. I’ve not yet grown up to the extent that I can allow myself to be sinned against without acting out in sinful, angry pride. If I allow my eyes to constantly wander, it is evidence I’ve not yet matured to the degree that I can exhibit self-control. I’ve not yet matured to the degree that I can show mastery over my eyes and imagination. If I constantly gossip, it proves I’ve not yet understood the full horror of that sin and the damage it causes. I’ve not yet allowed my understanding to transform my actions. And on and on it goes.
With every year that comes and goes, the more disturbing it becomes to see the childishness that remains in me. With every passing day, the more deeply I lament my lack of maturity. With every sin, the more I long to give up my infantile ways and be fully grown up in the Lord.