Today’s entry is an excerpt from the novella Wasteland:
In the social structure and order that I hope you enjoy, it is easy to feel contempt and embarrassment when the mention of sin is made. Sin is a gross term. An ugly one. We prefer to label it, “Freedom of choice.” “Alternative lifestyles.” “Situational ethics.” “Tolerance.” It’s fine to label a murderer as a murderer—unless, of course, that murderer holds political office, or is an upstanding citizen, or a savvy lawyer. Then it is a matter of “extenuating circumstances,” and at best, “manslaughter,” or preferably “temporary insanity.”
But to define wrong as sin, and to use images such as leprosy in order to convey it—that is a social faux pas of the first order. But that, too, is the first symptom of sin: for just as leprosy destroys nerve-endings so that the victim is not aware of decaying and wounded and rotting flesh, so also sin deadens our senses so that we are unaware of our decaying and wounded and rotting souls.
We throw a thousand excuses at sin. We claim that our dysfunctional families and society made us what we are. We agree that if it feels good, and doesn’t hurt anyone, it can’t be wrong. We affirm that if the end is good, any means is justified in attaining it.
But this is all hypocrisy and self-justification. Just as we claim that there are little sins and big ones. For if murder is the destruction of the body, isn’t gossip the destruction of trust? Slander the destruction of relationships? Adultery the destruction of fidelity? Isn’t anger as sharp a blow as physical abuse, and isn’t gluttony as much an orgy as alcoholism? And for the passive sins—isn’t sloth the killer of ingenuity? Pride the hammer-blow to equality? Envy the destroyer of peace?
If we can ever get on our knees enough to acknowledge sin, we will find damnation coming hard on its heels. This is another subject to be ignored by polite society. We all know that we sin, but we refuse to call it by its rightful name. We all know that we will die, but we dance desperately in the sun in a vain effort to stay the coming of the night. But once you realize the truth of your own immortality—once you hear the voice of your judge reverberating through the night-time of your soul—once you recognize sin for the rupture in the universe that it is—then you will know the fear of damnation. For to give up an infinite good—to spit in the face of Someone of infinite good—is an infinite evil demanding infinite retribution.
But that is not a topic of conversation for morning coffee breaks. We save it for the bedsides of the sick and dying, and wonder why the hopelessness remains.
The time to deal with death is when you are still alive. Afterwards, it is too late. Face your fears and doubts and questions while you have the strength to seek out the answers. The strength to hammer on the door of eternity until Truth lifts the latch.
For he who asks, receives. He who seeks, finds. And to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
© 2009 Paula Marolewski
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