WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Q: What's the difference between boogers and broccoli? A: You can't make kids eat broccoli.
Q: What's the difference between an elephant and spaghetti?
A: Elephants don't slip off the end of your fork.
Q: What's the difference between a mistake and a sin? A: Good question!
OK, so the last one wasn't a joke. But it is a good question.
A lot of people confuse mistakes and sins. Some feel guilty for mistakes that aren't sins. Others shrug off sins as "honest mistakes."
It's possible to make a mistake and yet not sin. You may forget a person's name. You may hurt someone's feelings without meaning to. You may lose your permission slip for a school field trip. You may accidentally step on the dog's tail. None of those things are sins. They're mistakes.
It's also possible to sin without making a mistake. You may call somebody a name. You may mean to hurt someone's feelings. You may hide your permission slip from your parents because you don't want to go on the school field trip. You may step on the dog's tail on purpose! Those things aren't mistakes. They're sins.
It's important to know the difference between a mistake and a sin. Even more important is to react the right way to both. When you make a mistake, especially one that hurts someone else, it's natural to feel sorry. You may want to apologize for your mistake. But you don't need to feel guilty or ashamed.
When you sin, you should feel remorse. You should admit that it was a sin, ask God (and anyone your sin hurt) for forgiveness, correct any effects of your sin (like paying for the dog's tail to get fixed!), and try to make a better choice-the right choice the next time.
God doesn't expect you to never make a mistake, but he does command you (and he will help you) to avoid sin.
REFLECT: Think about the difference between a mistake and a wrong choice. Think about how you should feel if you made an honest mistake and how you should respond to sin.
Have you made any mistakes for which you haven't yet apologized? Have you committed any sins for which you haven't received forgiveness? If you answered yes to either question, do the right thing now to correct your mistake or sin.
PRAY: "God, help me to remember the difference between mistakes and sins, and help me to avoid sin, especially in situations where..."