Most religious traditions have an equivalent of the word "sin" …
Having been a Biblical Christian for most of my life, I have been well familiar with the word, though it's meaning for me has changed over time.
When I was little, it meant doing something bad. Like breaking one of the Ten Commandments.
In college, my understanding of the definition broadened: Missing the Mark of Perfection. Either by commission or omission, disobeying God.
As I have continued to pursue God throughout my lifetime, this word means less and less to me, primarily because so many other people place such a heavy emphasis on it. They get all black and white and dogmatic - which makes me cringe and run the other direction. In addition, it just doesn't seem all that useful to get hung up on details and jump into the guilt box.
Somewhere along the way, I think I began to think of sin as not listening for the Voice of God. Or not heeding it if I did hear it. This has been a good rule of thumb for me, yet I feel it falls somewhat short.
The other day I was having a very interesting conversation with a profoundly deep friend of mine and I asked him what he considers sin to be, because I just can't believe it is doing or not doing something on The List. His answer blew me away and felt so accurate the moment he spoke it.
He said that sin is breaking the Shalom and / or failing to Believe God.
Most people know that the Hebrew word shalom is understood around the world to mean "peace." However, "peace" is only one small part of the meaning. According to Strong's Concordance Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
When the Shalom between us is disrupted, there is most likely something that should be repented of. When the Shalom between me and God is absent … yes, some grievance has occurred. And my guess is, in either and both of those instances, somewhere along the line, I have failed to Believe God.
Such good food for thought! Its like my brain went to Yoga and I feel so more flexible! : )