I have this crazy idea that I should be wise in the words I use. For example, the use of the words mistake verses sin. There’s a difference here. Let me illustrate it quick for ya with a childhood story filled with embarrassment and growth.

When I was Four, or so my mama tells me, I loved the sprinkler like it was nobody’s business. And really, it wasn’t anybody’s business. I do remember I loved that blue bathing suit with a cut in the belly button and the same place on the backside, with a little frill around the waist and black letters boldly strewn all over it. So. Cute. What I don’t remember however, is this particular incident my mother has to clasp her mouth over her hands every time she tells it so not to laugh too hard. I wince and purse my lips in childhood memory horror.

It was time to clean up and eat my KD or whatever was for dinner, so my mother said Deanna Marie, time to take off your suit and wash up. Again, I shudder at the thought. You know where this is headed.

So of course I just stripped right there on the front lawn and tried to shower off all the grass, ran to the house to find WAY more grass on myself, and ran back to the sprinkler to try once, twice, three times more to get that stupid half browned grass off the back of my calf and both of those sopping wet ankles. My mother is screaming from the living room window now, and my eyes grow big like a deer. What, what, WHAAAT!? I was thinking in Four Year Old anger while I sat in the grass which now invaded spaces it should be ashamed of. Was I not taking off my suit and washing up as I’d been told?! Before I knew it my mother has my naked butt on her hip running inside and apologizing to the strange teens passing by. This, I would learn from my giggling mother, is called a mistake. I had no idea what was and was not appropriate, nor the protocol of going inside the house before stripping.

Safe to say, a mistake is doing something you have absolutely no idea is wrong, while sin is acting out a temptation you know deeply goes against moral code (acting immorally), or law of scripture (though yes, we are saved from the law under the new covenant of Christs’ redemptive power). That which you know is wrong and choose to do so anyhow. I won’t give examples, because to Christ all sin is the same, so none should receive more public awareness than others. But say I were to go get plastered at a hot tub party and people were to find me in a similar position as my Four Year old self, there’s probably some things I’ll need to be honest with myself. Oops, I got drunk by mistake would probably be the first thing to really take a look at since I know full well what it takes to get me drunk.

I believe it’s safe to say you understand what, even for the most part, sin is. And when you genuinely don’t know, it’s a mistake… just like my sprinkler incident. So take it easy on yourself; sometimes sprinkler incidents happen, and then those you love to your rescue while your naked in innocent honesty. And when you DO know its sin, you are able to ask Christs’ forgiveness, forgive yourself and others you may have hurt, and move right along since we are living under the new covenant of Christ. He’ll treat you just the same as my mama treated me in my mistaking: He’ll come pick you right up when your naked in your honesty and frustration, bringing you back home to clean you up proper.

Because of His death and resurrection, it is no longer about keeping a list of laws and regulations to stay out of trouble, but rather an opportunity to dwell in those places that are pure, lovely, admirable, and righteous because of Christ, those now bring your joy and life rather than the false pursuits of a sinful nature.

There you have it. I’d made a mistake. I also learned from it and wouldn’t be caught doing that again. I’ve also sinned a ba-zillion times, in which I’m asking God to keep me open and wise to see these darker parts of my life. Even when I find myself confused or concerned about the actions of my life, opening up my spirit to the conviction of Holy Spirit releasing any shame or fear I might find myself in. So my friends, call it as it is. If it’s a mistake, call it out. If it’s a sin, call it out. There’s a difference here, and we owe it to each other to be honest.