Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guilt And Sin

Guilt.  The very word itself hangs over us like a suffocating blanket, blocking out our ability to see the light that is around us.  “Guilty as charged” – whether for violation of the prevailing social code or a heinous crime – may be a necessary owning up to our actions, a necessary step in learning and contrition, a prerequisite to necessary punishment and retribution.  But the fact of being proclaimed “guilty” is only intended to then give way to moving beyond that moment and into a new future.  More often, the judgment of guilty becomes an ongoing, perhaps never-ending drama of repetition.  The original act is continually reimagined; the verdict is re-pronounced by a series of mental juries; the judgment is reiterated from the faces of new stand-in judges that come into our life; punishment is inflicted without end.  The punishment that society deems appropriate may be levied over a long duration.  But the weight of culpability that should be momentary is transformed into a life-long burden we call “guilt.”

If “guilt” is the secular statement laid upon our errors, “sin” is the parallel language of the cleric.  Certainly when we turn away from God, forget the calling out of our best self, and lapse in our judgment of doing the highest good for the most beings, such forgetfulness needs to be identified, acknowledged  and accepted.  It is only from identifying-acknowledging-accepting that we learn what better choices were possible for us, what is the clearer path to God.  Making good choices usually gives us a valuable confirmation of what we have learned, but rarely teaches us new things.  Errors more easily demand our attention and our reflection due to the significance of their consequences.  If we are open to it, our errors are our greatest teachers of Life.  In the context of our true Purpose, our errors are to be welcomed and treasured even though they may cause us (and others) pain in the moment and thereafter.

Unfortunately, guilt manipulated in the hands of some secular authorities (parents, teachers, bosses), or sin in the hands of some religious authorities (priests, ministers, rabbis, imams), simply becomes another tool of control and domination over the mind.  For these “authorities,” a continual emphasis on avoiding guilt and sin seems more of a priority than living positively in truth within the actual experience of God.  Administered with a heavy hand, continually reinforced, guilt is used to equate our actions with the very worth of us as a human being.  “Guilt and sin” swallows up our soul like an anaconda wraps itself around the body of its prey, choking the life out of its victim.  No good lessons are learned, only the diminution of our soul results.  Error of judgment is made into an error of self; a moment of bad action is made into badness itself.  Learning is lost to punishment; a potential teacher instead becomes an executioner of a soul.

Guilt is one of the least productive emotions that live in our minds.  Sin-based guilt is even more damaging and ill-productive, because it comes between us and God, and God’s overall design for our life.  God cares less about what we have done, or where we have been, versus who we have become and what we are doing now.  The “holy ledger” of our good and bad deeds is less important than the diploma that acknowledges what we have learned from those deeds.  God starts and ends with us in love, forgiveness and acceptance.  God understands that – IF we do not lock ourselves in a prison of the past – error is a prime tool for finding our way forward.

So we need to resist our conditioning towards guilt and sin.  We need to use whatever secular therapy and/or spiritual discovery tools can purge ourselves of past guilt, and disconnect ourselves from the anchor of regret.  We need to reject those who would lead us into the spiritual abyss that lies behind the twin doors labeled GUILT and SIN.  Only then can we lighten our load so as to be able to live freely, and thereby walk into the future that God is providing to us each day.

©  2014   Randy Bell              www.OurSpiritualWay.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these. I don't post to respond but I do read and reflect.