hamartia

ἁμαρτία, ας, ἡ

(ham-ar-tee’-ah)

Sinfulness is at the core of every human. It manifests in almost every perceivable way. Even to a kid, sinfulness is innate and obvious, though they are not aware. We’re all very sinful and selfish beings, only wanting what can benefit us. It is not natural for us to seek the good of others, and if it is in some people, then it is noble.

I was at our medical mission in Espaniola, about three hours down south from town, and I observed this in many people I encountered. There was a much older kid who was trolling this little child, taunting him that his mom had left her. I assumed it was because in the sea of people present at the gym that day, he lost his mom in the crowd. Instead of helping the little boy find his mom, here was another kid laughing at the misery of another. At first it was entertaining to watch when he said, “iniwan ka na ng mama mo!” Then it got me thinking. What could the repercussions be to a child to know that he was abandoned? Of course he wasn’t. But put it in today’s context and say that to another person, “iniwan ka na ng mama mo (or some other loved one), wouldn’t that be devastating? How much more to a helpless, hapless lad? So why do we say hurtful things, albeit, joke-sounding?

Another instance was when I was talking to this group of senior citizens seated on the bench while waiting for their turn. One was fanning and the other was looking around. I asked how they were doing and where they came from. The old lady replied, “Diyan lang kami galing, pero kanina pa kami dito. Naku po, napaka init naman! Dapat kanina niyo pa kami inuna kasi senior citizen kami! Gaano pa ba katagal kami maghihintay?” She was irked that she had been waiting for hours, even though we had only just arrived an hour or so, and was just getting our supplies sorted out. Yes, it was hot. We were in the gym and it was humid and the people were beginning to fill the place. But they were at a medical mission, a place where doctors offer free services and free check ups and surgeries and medicines –all at no cost (except, on the part of the doctors and the volunteers, their service, their time, their resources and their talent). Instead of complaining, surely, a grateful heart is more appreciated?

Before you say I need to get off my high horse, I hope you do not misunderstand the point I am making. I’m not observing people to simply conclude “ah, what a sinful behavior.” I am merely pointing out (from the observations made) that in every person, even in us, it is very natural not tobe good and do good, and instead, to seek our own selfish wants. And we are unable to remedy this apart from a greater power that will enable us to win over it.

How to remedy sin? Like all illnesses, you must first recognize it as such. Call spade a spade, or sin a sin. Call it out for what it is. The dictionary defines sin as, “a transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate.” But sin is not just doing what is wrong. Sin, in its theological understanding, is missing the mark, falling before the righteousness of God. (Romans 3:23). It is derived from the Greek word hamartia, which means, as in archery, to miss the mark.

Do you think the child was aware that he had “fallen off the righteousness of God and missed the mark?” I doubt, which is why we are taught what is right and wrong as kids. Which is why there are laws governing our societies. Yet one’s blindness does not excuse his guilt. The person is still guilty even though he did not know. Now as we grow, we also begin to understand right and wrong, though in most cases, we only find right relative to what fits our standards. I mean, to one person, it is right to steal if it is to survive for a day. To another, it is simply wrong. So where do you draw the line?

The cure for sin is to lay our cards on the table and reveal the true nature of our sin problem. It is simply something beyond our changing, because it is in our nature. It takes God to cure us of sin that we simply are unable to fight against.

Once recognized (as in, admitting we are sinners and have sinned), then we must confess our sins, ask for forgiveness, and recognize our need for a Savior. Salvation and the cure for sin are found only in Jesus. We can be saved by looking to the Savior –Jesus Christ.

I am reminded, yet again, that even as I have already been saved, the tendency to do evil, to be unkind, and selfish, and impatient, and annoyed, and angry, are all very real and very human. Just as it takes God to cure sin for us, it also takes God again to transform us from the inside out. I must constantly rely on the Holy Spirit to change me and to always make me aware of my sinful tendencies, lest I be deceived and think I can be better on my own.

 As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

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