Dr. Dan Hayden • 

If you shoot at a target and miss the bull’s-eye – that just means you’re not perfect. But if, when you shoot, you miss the whole target – that means you’re really bad.

Missing the mark is the idea behind the concept of sin in the Bible. For instance, in Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah writes, “Come now, and let us reason together says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow…”

The word for “sins” here is the Hebrew word, chata, which means “to fail, or forfeit.” It literally means “to miss.”


When our family went to Fort Wilderness Camp in Northern Wisconsin, my grandson, who was eight, loved to spend his time at the archery range. Over a few years he had gotten pretty good. One day I watched him put 3 of his 5 arrows right in the bull’s-eye. Then he turned to me and said, “Come on, Grandpa – you try it.” So I took the bow, strung the arrow, took aim, and fired. Well, the arrow didn’t even hit the target. I missed it by a mile – how embarrassing! Actually, my grandson and I both laughed at how bad I was.

Now that’s the idea behind this Old Testament word for sin. You see, the righteousness of God is the bull’s-eye; and in this case, the bull’s-eye is the whole target. That’s what we’re aiming at. But, so often, our actions and thoughts aren’t pleasing to God at all. We don’t even hit the target. We miss it by a mile, and that’s what God calls “sin.” To sin is to miss the mark of God’s righteous standard, and that’s no laughing matter.
“Come now and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow…”

Listen. The Bible says we’re all sinners, so don’t laugh when someone misses the target. You can’t hit the target, either!