An Ancient but not Alien Concept
The word makes you feel dirty, irritated, or just confused. What is it, this-
Without asking questions, many dive in. Some people despise it. Some tiptoe around it. Few, however, try to define it. After all, mere synonyms fail.
But consider, if you will, the utterly pathetic, self-defeating seediness of sin, which reduces the participant to a beggar, picking through yesterday’s trash for breakfast.
It’s a little like sleeping in the car, trying to fulfill a legitimate desire—sleep—in the wrong place—the back seat—which leads to a cheap imitation of the real thing. This is seldom refreshing, until we lull ourselves into a bleary stupor, telling ourselves, This is all there is, I’ve got to grab what I can. At this moment, we can hardly imagine the existence of soft-but-firm mattresses and full-length, back-aligning REM sleep. We’ve inoculated ourselves against the real thing to the point that a sweaty, aching, knock-off experience is all we believe can transpire.
But out there, real sleep still exists, despite our circadian rhythms shattering like New Year’s crystal.
Sin, unlike chronic red-eye, carries with it the moral stigma of unnatural existence on the spiritual plane. We sin when we defy the Maker, Author of more than sleep, revoking our created humanity, asserting we know best what it means to be human.
To sin is to be less than human. But we think that less-than-humanness, like skimpy backseat catnaps, are what we want.
And so the soul awakes empty. Dissatisfied. Having eaten but still hungry, having drunk but still dry. Keyed by misused defiance, sin drives to pursue mere shreds of satisfaction, never really satisfied. We relish our supposed indulgences, our growing appetites, little knowing they are constantly growing because they are never filled. Sin is a self-perpetuating cycle, like dozing on an endless bus trip—always thinking the next disjointed nap will be “the ultimate,” when sleep—renewing, cleansing, perspective-restoring—lies outside the ride.
And all the while, we deny the Natural law, the Maker’s design. We depart from our humanity, but it haunts us. We claim that ethics are arbitrary, only to long for them in others. We claim that sleep is unnecessary, only to drift off in a backseat, or one day, at the wheel…
At the moment of crisis, sin becomes visible in all its graphic ugliness. But at that point we’re often too far gone to call it like it is.