In today’s blog, we explore the topic of “sin” and offer a new perspective which opens the door to profound and lasting healing, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and perhaps even physically.
I invite you to pause for just a moment and think of the word “sin”. What images, feeling, thoughts, memories, etc. arise for you when you ponder “sin?”
- Images of an angry, wrathful, disappointed God
- Recollections of Saturday afternoon confession
- Frustration with being unable to stop some of your “sinful” behavior
- More shame and more guilt
If you were raised in the Christian tradition, the above are most likely some of the things you associate with the word “sin.” And if you were raised Catholic, the most prominent memory might be the requirement of attending confession and any memories associated with that ritual. For me, sin was something that we were told we would be punished for – primarily by an angry God and if we did not confess our sins, we would go to hell after we died. Then my thoughts go to the Saturday afternoon ritual of my Irish ancestors – 4:00 confession so they could receive communion at 6:00 mass, followed by a visit to the local tavern where the sinning would begin again.
Sin and Separation
Sin, I was taught is what separates us from God. The image I get is of me facing God and every time I would sin, the ground beneath me would move backwards like those walking sidewalks at the airport and pull me further and further away from God. This image of being pulled away from God left me feeling sad, ashamed and hesitant to look God in the eyes. This definition of sin is founded upon the idea that we are separate from God and that God is judgmental and punitive and the chosen form of punishment is withdrawal…withdrawal of God and God’s love.
Sin and Perspective
Here’s the part I don’t understand……if Jesus really taught us that God’s love is unconditional, then how could anything we do cause God to push us away or to withdraw from us? Is God really withdrawing? Is God really pushing us away? OR…..is this just how it feels and is it in fact, we who are withdrawing? I have a sense that it might be the latter. If we are really One with God as Jesus taught us and if there is nothing that can separate us from God or from God’s love…..then might we be invited to embrace a new perspective on the idea of sin?
Nothing to Punish
Here is my proposal on a new perspective on sin. What if sin is simply a symptom of the unhealed perspective of separation within us? If we are still living within the perception of separation from God (which Jesus would tell us is false), then we feel icky – primarily we feel fear. This fear then drives our outward behaviors. These behaviors might manifest themselves in various forms of: gluttony, lust (power-over), wrath (resentment and revenge), envy, greed, sloth and pride. It is these behaviors that we call sin. Sin, when viewed from this perspective, is nothing more than a symptom of something deeper that is calling out for healing. Would God punish us for needing healing? From this perspective on sin, the only one doing the punishing is ourselves as we continue to live in the false perception of separation from God.
Healing the fear that causes our “sin”
So, if we truly want to change our “sinful” behavior, then we need to be open to allowing our false perception of separation from God to be healed. The good news is that this is really not such a daunting task. Remembering our Oneness with God is available to us each and every moment of every day….if we just take the time to pay attention. Here are some ways that we can remember our Oneness with God and thus heal our fears and our “sinful” behavior:
- Take a walk in nature and observe BEAUTY and WONDER
- Meditate, pray, contemplate
- Sing, dance, let your body, your voice and your spirit soar
- Practice mindfulness – pay attention to every moment, every action, every interaction
- Be creative – cook, decorate, paint, sculpt, draw, make music, dance, knit, sew, etc.
- Pay attention to where God might be present and active in your life
- Observe synchronicity
- Journal, write
- Indulge in healthy, intimate relationships
- Care for another person, mindfully…..how is God present in you, in the other, between the two of you?
- Watch a movie and look for the higher, spiritual message.
God is everywhere….in everything….. we are NEVER separate from God. Do we have the courage to know this and live the life God intended, a life of contentment, compassion and joy? HHHMMMMM Sounds good to me!
What are your compulsive behaviors?
How are you being invited to explore these behaviors for the deeper fears causing them?
How are you being invited to be healed of these fears so that you can live in peace?
Authentic Freedom Ministries