No matter how loving we become as we approach the “season of goodwill” … no matter how many carols we hum to ourselves through the days … no matter how generous we are to others … we still cling to sin and sinning and sinners … 24/7/365 we NEED sin in our lives. I have always found that to be weird in this Christian living (and especially at this time of year).
I hear my saved brothers and sisters tell me that if everyone gets to heaven without needing to be saved that is not fair (although “not fair” is never spoken aloud). I hear that “being saved” – receiving unconditional love – comes with conditions. I need to give up sinning with aforethought. I need to believe in God as written in the Christian Tradition. I will keep on sinning. I will need to keep asking for more forgiveness. I will need to go to church (usually). I am allowed my accidental sinning (because we have no control over that – Adam and Eve you see).
Unconditional Love, The Christian Way. Happy Christmas and goodwill to all.
And then He laid these verses in front of me, smoothed them flat, and waited.
“One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralysed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’ “ Luke 5:17-26
And I hear the Christian Tradition ringing in me ears:
See Paul – there it is in black and white: “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Our “religious contract” says sin sinning and sinners. Christmas or no Christmas. Even with that cute stable included. That is “why” the cute stable. We are all sinners. We cannot help but sin. The Great Fall was the beginning. The bible says so.
And “that” pierces my heart every time.
“And mine, Paul. And mine. Back in the day I met each one in their own time and place.
Their time? The sins of the father was visited on the sons for generation after generation. You call that (in your time) barbaric and unloving.
Their place? I healed that “inherited sin” of physical and mental impairment, so they would be integrated again, not outcast (by religious law) any longer. You call that (in your place) ignorant and unfair.
And yet …
For both of you, this absolute dependence on sinning passed down as punishment never goes away. It is simply debated and updated by each generation. Which means that I have to “forgive your sins” all these thousands of years later. What is it you all quote … ?
Saved by Grace freely given?
Which means – in your time and place today – that the sins of “Adam and Eve” are visited on you and your sons generation after generation. And despite “that” you see me as a new and upgraded fluffy loving God. You call me your new and enhanced living God. All whilst telling me that I have to punish your “sin” generation after generation. I see that as no different to the “barbaric and unloving” dusty peeps you see. Because I see that you (also) have perfected a religious system where you are allowed to sin (because you must) and I am bound to forgive (because I must), and which you call educated and fair.
And which I don’t.
I see that as no different to “that day and that roof”, to that “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
Christmas? Babies? Cute stables? Goodwill to all men? And still sin, sinners and sinning. Ever thought that is down to you and not me?”
And as I put down my deconstructed bible verses this morning I ponder again …
Why do I “have to” cling to sin (as an addict clings to their addiction)? Why must I “live in sin” rather than love without end (I read throughout the bible). Where is real “goodwill to all men” in this system that means I inherit (along with my children forever and ever) Adam and Eve’s punishment for sin, sinners and sinning?
And just how is that any less barbaric than “their” being taught “inherited physical and mental impairment” was “their” punishment (for sin by somebody sometime in their own past)?