A violation of a commandment. The sins that offend God are not the errors, weaknesses, and foolishness of the past. He is offended when one is forgiven by Him and then returns to the same sin. That shows a lack of gratitude for His forgiveness. Even then, however, there are addictions, compulsions, and weaknesses that people sometimes struggle with for years, even decades. “When the sin is due to some difficulty based on biology, physiology or an inherent weakness that we fight for years to overcome, then His patience with us is far greater than our own. He will help in the fight. He will walk alongside you as you fight. He does not expect you to run faster than you have strength. When, because of age or infirmity, a troubling weakness is at last overcome, He will readily accept your repentance and let you move forward clean, whole and forgiven. That is His ministry — to forgive and make whole.”1 The only one who can forgive sin is Christ. He requires men and women to forgive one another but will Himself determine whose sins He will forgive (see T&C 51:3). He is the only gatekeeper for forgiveness (see 2 Nephi 6:11).2 The Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) defines sin as missing the mark; not hitting the target; a mistake.3 “Sin is waste. It is doing one thing when you should be doing other and better things for which you have the capacity. Hence, there are no innocent idle thoughts. That is why even the righteous must repent, constantly and progressively, since all fall short of their capacity and calling.”4See also INIQUITY; TRANSGRESSION.

    1 “God is no respecter of persons,” April 27, 2010, blog post.

    2 “Repentance,” March 8, 2012, blog post.

    3 Strong’s Concordance, G266.

    4 Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, 66–67.