Each and every one of us sins every day. There are times when we may sin and do it intentionally. We think about what we want to do, we know what we are doing, and we do it. Some of these actions in life may be thought out thoroughly and well in advance, and then we follow through with these actions. There are times when we do not think about what we are doing, we consciously do not contemplate our intentions and actions, and we do them. We may do something in the spur of the moment without thinking at all about what we are doing. We just react. Whether an act is intentional or unintentional, the act itself can be a sin.
What is sin? The Hebrew word for sin is “hata.” The Greek word for sin is “hamartia.” The meaning of each of these in each of these languages is “to miss the mark.” Anytime each one of us sins, we “miss the mark.” What does this mean? When we sin, we distance ourselves from Jesus. We do things that are in contrast to Jesus’ teachings. The more we live according to the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 22:37 says, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:39 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”), the more that we will “hit the mark” in life.
Even though we all sin, there is something we can do to help us refrain from sin as much as possible, thus drawing closer to Jesus Christ. It is called an Examination of Conscience. Before you retire to bed for the night, find a quiet place in your home where no one will interrupt you so that you can be in God’s presence. Talk to God about each of the following:
- Thank God for the gifts that He has given you and the blessings that He has bestowed on you.
- Acknowledge the sins that you have committed and sincerely ask God to forgive you of your sins.
- Pray to God that you will do your best to live your life according to His will. Ask God to help you and be present with you throughout the next day when you try to do this.
- Make a list of those items you want to focus on the next day. Write down this list on a small piece of paper and keep it in a pocket or somewhere in your possession as a reminder to focus on these items.
It is my hope and prayer that going through an Examination of Conscience each night will help you with growing closer to Jesus Christ each and every day of your life!