"Sin is failure to hit God's target...Sin is coming short of glorifying God...Sin is really not an issue of what you do but of what you fail to do. It is that you fail to come to the glory of God."
I listened to a sermon by John MacArthur (one he did in 1978 before I was born!) last week and wrote down that quote. Things in my mind really came together after reading that, and I have been pondering it a lot.
My personality is one in which I desire to obey and follow rules. As I often told my second graders back in the day when I was teaching, obedience is "doing what you are told with a happy submissive spirit." (This was our school's definition of the character trait.) And while I am obedient on the outside and can follow the rules, I do not always do it with a happy, submissive spirit on the inside, which means I am just as guilty of disobedience as the person next to me who doesn't obey in action on the outside.
So as I have been pondering just how awful my sin is, this definition of sin by MacArthur has really made sense to me. In my human, finite mind, I have always wondered how all sin is the same in God's eyes while I see some sins (such as taking another man's life) much worse than other sins (such as not doing something with a happy, submissive spirit). And while I know that God's ways are higher than mine and that I certainly won't understand everything, this went a long way in helping me better understand all sin. Anything that fails to bring glory to God is sin. Period.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
I have been contemplating this in many different ways, not just in the all of the ways that I knew were already sinful, but even in little things that I never bothered to think about as sin. As you can imagine, there is no end to examining the sinfulness in your life, and while it can feel so depressing and defeating, I feel ever more grateful for Christ's death on the cross to save me!