I recently experienced the awful grief that comes from missing the mark of my target.
I sat in the deer stand for a little over an hour and after hearing some rustle in the woods beyond my vision, I grunted, drawing in a decent sized buck (for my nonhunting friends, Ashley and I have taken up to add a low cost natural meat to our food budget.)
For those who don't hunt much, there is a specific area of vitals we want to hit that brings about a quicker harvest and less suffering for the animal. That's what we practice bow hunting for, to hit that mark.
The buck came within 40 feet, and when I made a little noise, he turned to give me the perfect broadside shot. I pulled the bow back excitedly, but momentarily forgot how to aim! I realized I wasn't laying the bowstring on my cheek, I wasn't looking through the peepsight, wasn't sure which pin to use to line up my distance! I hurriedly made adjustments as he started to move. I released the arrow and immediately knew I hit him (I could see the point of impact) but knew I missed my mark. I missed it by hitting too high and toward the rear of the animal, missing the vitals.
Over three hours and a half mile of tracking later, we had to call off our search. We had lost the blood trail and had no deer meat for the freezer. Missing by 6-9 inches of that "bullseye" mark was enough to give me guilt in knowing that the deer went through extended suffering that I didn't intend or want. It gave me guilt in know that I spent over 4 hours away from my family with nothing to show for it. It gave me grief knowing that in that moment of testing, there were no excuses, I ... missed ... the ... mark.
"Hamartia" (ἁμαρτία) is the word for "sin" in Greek. Strong's lexicon gives this defintion of the root "Properly to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize)." Thayer's lexicon gives a little more:
1) to be without a share in
2) to miss the mark
3) to err, be mistaken
4) to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong
5) to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, SIN.
Like missing the mark for a hunter, sinning for all of us humans leaves us without a share, wandering from the path of uprightness, violating God's law.
"For the wages of sin is death..." - Romans 6:23a
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," - Romans 3:23
As a hunter I understand that missing the mark on the hunt brings needless death & suffering and disqualifies me from my prize. It certainly did on this deer hunt. It's also not too hard to understand that we all as humans have missed the mark God has set for us in life, and thus are qualified only for death, no prize.
"...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 6:23b
In hunting there is no grace nor forgiveness for missing the mark, but thanks be to God through His everlasting love Christians have grace and reward in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Share His good news of grace with all.