That’s a word we don’t like to talk about very much. It is uncomfortable to talk about something that isn’t going to make us feel good. But it is there.
My readings today really brought this reality out. Genesis 3 and 4 tell the story of “the first sin” and the after effects. The two humans in the garden disobey the command of God. One of their sons murders the other in the years that follow and asks that age old question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Answer, yes you are). Other descendents follow similar paths as Lamech says that he killed another for hitting him and the pattern continues in the chapters that will follow.
The Matthew story is even more heart wrenching. It is the story of Herod, afraid of losing his power and having the children under two murdered in order to make sure no other king rises to rival him. This story, which we don’t often share, is known as the “massacre of the innocents.”
Sin is that which leads us down paths that may not seem bad at first but the further and further we miss God’s mark for our lives, the more it all compounds. This is seen here in Genesis and then again with Herod.
CS Lewis captured it brilliantly when he wrote of how “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…”
So here I go back to the creation story. We were not created sinful. We were created “very good” and in the image of God. But there is a part of us that is out of alignment and missing the mark. Just like this one piece on the bridge in this photo. It stands out, trips up, and won’t change unless fixed. And here is the hope of Christ – those broken places made whole, getting us aligned with God, correcting our aim so we are no longer missing the mark.