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“Despair is for people who know, beyond any doubt, what the future is going to bring. Nobody is in that position. So despair is not only a kind of sin, theologically, but also a simple mistake, because nobody actually knows. In that sense there is always hope.” ~ Patrick Curry, Defending Middle-Earth: Tolkien: Myth and Modernity
I’m by no means a religious person, but recently I found myself pondering sin as defined below:
The Greek word for “sin” in the Bible is “Hamartanó.” It literally means “Missing The Mark, I miss the mark; I make a mistake.”
I gave up alcohol a year and a half ago, and I can say with that, I’ve embarked on the journey of Recovery, even though I’ve not exactly followed traditional 12 Steps Program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Or maybe I could say, I followed it loosely.
Eventually, with 15 months of sobriety behind me, I’ve started various attempts of improving my life and this has included picking up second job, giving up porn, and I started building up new healthier habits, following advice of Dr. Andrew Huberman.
The most recent addition to this list is OMAD (one meal a day) diet and signing up for coaching with a personal coach, Martina.
This is not supposed to be about me and what I’m doing to show off; believe me, I half-ass these most of the time anyway, but perhaps that is the baseline for this post.
Despite my best efforts and intentions (which usually happen right before I fall asleep), I keep “sinning,” which if we go back to definition from the beginning means, I simply don’t hit the target.
It seems that I can only truly put my heart into something for a short time.
Ultimately, I think human mind is weak. (That’s not to say there are not exceptions to this. But generally speaking, I think it is true.)
So I guess it comes down to practice.
Which is why I’m trying to focus on building habits, and through repetition of certain (hopefully healthy) little steps, I will eventually have a stronger mind, but since I’m here, writing this, you can probably see I’m nowhere near this point.
I think if we look at the world around us with this perspective, it kind of becomes clearer that words like temptation or hell get new meaning.
For example, the simple ask of not leading us into temptation in the Father’s prayer just means we acknowledge that in the face of something attractive for our mind, we aren’t really capable of staying on our path, and for most part, we fail or fall.
I could give you hundreds of situations where despite knowing what I’m doing or that what I’m going to do is not aligned with my deeper self and goal I set for myself, I do it anyway.
I had a friend blaming this on weakness, but I suppose you could say that anything that cannot take us off our path is simply not a temptation, as if someone offered me a bowl of steamed broccoli for such act, I’d easily say no. But if the reward is money, or if we feel we desire something, and we let the craving build up in strength, we eventually will be outnumbered and inevitably fall.
On the other hand, if we reach out to God or a fellow human with the ask for their intervention, chances are we avoid the slip.
But in all honesty, if that was easy, we wouldn’t have so many people doing things that they know aren’t good or right for them.
Hell perhaps isn’t a place where the devil will burn our souls, but rather a painful reliving of all our failures where we knew better yet didn’t act in alignment with what we knew. I can tell you that such suffering isn’t exactly pleasant, and I’d dare to call it a hell, despite perhaps choosing that still over burning in flames for eternity.
As much as I don’t like admitting it, I’m still a sinner as far as the definition I was referring to in this post goes. Personally, I think we all are, but I don’t like to talk on behalf of other people, so I’ll leave it open to your own interpretation.
If you want, please tell me in the comments what your view on sin is.
PS. Perhaps I can take some comfort in one of my most favourite songs by Dutch band Rosemary and Garlic, “I’ll come to you.”
Lyrics by Anne Van Den Hoogen
Storm’s in the season and so am I
Spend many days with the lightning sky
When the dawn breaks in
Let the sun be dark on your skin
And in the morning I’ m turning in
I am a sinner
I’ll come to you
It’s a new morning outside my house
There are no shades in the summer light
In the water, silhouettes dance
And I must go to wherever you are
I am a sinner
I’ll come to you
In the morning, pale and blue