Sin, the missing of the mark, is such a layered topic. The visceral responses within can be extreme. Some tied to ignorance, others tied to childhood experiences that no one should ever have to experience. Sin, has lost a lot of its power over the years as I strive to develop a stronger relationship with a loving God of my minimal understanding. I’ve accepted that I may never fully grasp what sin truly is, but that doesn’t mean I reject the concept either.
From a spiritual standpoint, it’s said that sin can lead to death. While I haven’t fully grasped how far reaching that is in my own personal experience, I can objectively see how lack of faith chaos havoc in the lives of others. From a basic assessment of my actions in life in reconciliation with the ten commandments, I’m batting 90% on the sin spectrum. If someone pissed me off enough, I’m sure I might even be able to cross off that one last commandment of “thou shalt not kill” too. At that point my falling short of God’s grace would be absolute, that’s if I don’t already qualify. From a physical standpoint, if sin leads to death, I must have been blessed with a thousand lives, because I have a wretched side of me that has yet to be fully removed.
What has never fully made sense to me over the years when ruminating on Sin, is how we could possibly assume there is no hierarchy. Can coveting after someone else’s possessions hold the same weight as taking of someone’s life? I hope not. Sure you might be forgiven for either sin, but to me there has to be a varied degree of consequence for each action/choice. The reconciliation of the sin won’t be made truly apparent until we find ourselves knocking on the gates of heaven, but judgment from a righteous God has to be made. Some call this notion of reconciliation with truth, Karma. I personally don’t necessarily believe in Karma though, because that implies forgiveness for action is null and void. I wasn’t involved in the decision making process of me being born here on earth, and I sure as heck never got to select the degree of mental computing power that I was allocated, not to expediency to my emotional maturation. Following that train of logic, can I totally be blamed and held responsible for all of the erroneous decisions I’ve made? My brain couldn’t possibly process the myriad of variables that are impacted by my decisions. Therefore, I seem to miss the mark more frequently than I would like to admit.
Recently I listened to a friend make his case for dishonesty being the ultimate sin. I was caught off guard by the idea because it didn’t jive with my long-held beliefs, but I really couldn’t come up errors in his logic.
A few days passed and I continued to ruminated on the discussion. I couldn’t help but to start to feel that he really might be onto some truth with his theory. Honesty is such a complex issue. Can people be cash register honest all the time? Sure! Are people completely honest with others? Hopefully, most of the time. Am I totally honest with myself? Far from.
On a macro level of honesty, I find myself doing extremely well. While this certainly hasn’t always been the case, I think I have evolved into a very honest person. My accountability training through several years of recovery have helped immensely to make that about-face turn. If we were to zoom further to the fine details of my life, it might become more and more apparent that I seem to skip over truth quite frequently. Embellishment, omission and avoidance seem to be the biggest stumbling blocks for me when it comes to truth. It is so easy to rationalize my lack of honesty when I have overstated something through hyperbole, merely hoping to get that extra laugh or reaction from others. Or what about when withhold minor details to a story because you know it could make you look bad, or maybe even at fault. This lack of full transparency, while easily justified, is simply not being honest. You tell yourself you didn’t tell a lie, but lying by omission is still sidestepping the truth. These psychological coping strategies of avoidance seem to have woven themselves deeply in the fabric of my being. I’m always left feeling quite perplexed, questioning my motive when I catch myself lying by omission, or in the smallest white lie. At the end of the day when I place my head on the pillow, I know deep down inside the crimes that I’ve committed. While this ruse seems highly insignificant, these tiny errors in judgment compound themselves and give rise to suspicion in the minds of others. Being slowly released from the trap of identified intellectual superiority, it has been made clear to me that most people are far smarter than I’ve given them credit for. Their ability to pick up and see through bullshit is very strong.
Chances are, you might be just like me. You too fall short when it comes to rigorous honesty. The problem is when truth isn’t present, trust seems to remove itself from the equation too. Trust, a nourishing staple for the soul, births life. It’s built into the core of creation. This cornerstone is used as a landmark to indicator safety and stability. When trust is lost, it brings forth all kinds of varied forms of suffering and disconnection. Honesty is an irreplaceable bedrock that all lasting things have been built from.
On a personal level, it took a lot of years of investigation into my own mind to even begin to grasp the power of self-deception. Even as I write this sentence there is a part of me that reflects on it with disgust. How could I have been so blind? In hindsight, this subtle little trick of the subconscious functions to protect me from pain, but like any good drug, it comes with side-effects.
One day the imperfect being that I am may be made privy to just how deep the deception runs within. But until that day arrives, I will diligently pray for the courage to operate in more truth, and in-turn hopefully more connection.