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Following our own will instead of following the will of God, thereby being centered on ourselves instead of God and distorting our relationships with God, other people, and creation (see BCP, p. 848). Sin is intentional disobedience and rebellion against God. It alienates us from our true selves. Sin is a misuse of human free will by one who is capable of choice (see BCP, p. 845). St. Paul states clearly that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23; see 1 Jn 1:8). The harm of sin is ultimately not in the bad act itself but in the damage caused by sin to one's relationships with God and others. Sin is identified with death, as our life-giving relationship with God is impaired by sin (see Rom 6:23). Distortion of our relationship with God results in our loss of liberty as sin gains power over us (see BCP, p. 849). We may recognize our sin and need for redemption more clearly through the Ten Commandments and the biblical law (see BCP, p. 848). St. Paul also notes that the law can provide the occasion for sin, although the law is holy (see Rom 7:7-12). Roman Catholic thought has distinguished mortal (deadly) sins from venial (slight) sins, but Protestants have generally rejected this distinction. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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