AN EMERGING PATTERN seems to indicate that more-common sins are ways to cope or deal with situations: like alcohol is used to numb the brain, so are other things. If “I don’t want to think about this just now” there are distractions with which to numb the pain.
Those brain-numbing pain solutions are sins. Yes, addictions are less culpable than open revolt, but still, they are sins. It seems the sin is not in the action (although the action is sinful) but rather in the rejection of God.
For the actual thing–not-thought-about is not whatever was the trigger, but rather the deep, abiding love God has for his sons and daughters. We reject the possibility of thinking about – of resting in – this love. We don’t want to be reminded of it. We push it away. Resting in this love was what the trigger distracted us from. It’s what the on-going sin distracts us from.
So, for example, if you’ve had a bad day at work and you don’t want to come home to whatever that might mean, instead go to visit what we called a “package store” when I was growing up, and having acquired some products, you go sit on the lake and watch the stars come out as your forget your job and your spouse and kids… the unspoken thing you forgot – in the middle of the bad day – is God’s love. Meditating on that could have addressed the bad day at work and addressed (or avoided) everything else. All that followed was an unfolding of that first action of forgetfulness.
I posit that the initial forgetfulness is willful. We don’t want to fully live into being loved that much. It’s a threat to our self-indebtedness. That love demands a full and total response and sometimes, you want to hold back just a little, to forget to give everything so there’s a little something just in case it’s needed later.
Every sin – even the “little” ones that happen without thought or planning (“voluntary and involuntary, known and unknown” we say in the Byzantine rite) – is predicated on stepping out of that relationship, on holding that relationship at bay.
It’s safer if we don’t fall into that Love. It demands everything.
And having stepped out of the line of fire, even briefly, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re safe now, over here. That this is normal. This distance is a good thing. We push away our only hope and then wonder that we fall further.
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