Unity views on ... Sin
Most religions give a lot of attention to the subject of sin. This is because sin is degrading to the person, and religion is designed to upgrade people. The way religion has used the concept of sin, however, is questionable.
If religion has used the accusation that a person has sinned in order to make him feel more guilty and, therefore, more dependent on the church for salvation, this is indeed a questionable tactic. And if the church has taken a person's feeling of sinfulness and used this to make him fearful of a burning hereafter, the ethic of this approach is also questionable.
When I was growing up the sins that were applicable to me were not hard to define. first, I was taught that it was a sin not to empty my plate dinnertime--because there were so many hungry people in the world. Next, I was not supposed to use swear words. and finally, my morals were to be above reproach. Basically, then, sin dealt with dinnertime, swearing, and sexual behavior.
The reference to eating everything on my plate was born out of natural parental concern for my physical well-being. to call it a sin when I did not clean my plate, was nothing more nor less than a parental tactic and understandable.
Taking the Lord's name in vain was another matter. Usually the curse words that ere condemned came from the New Testament. to use the name of Jesus Christ, or any part of it, during a expression of anger or hostility is certainly immature. There is no question in my mind that such use of the Master's name is wrong. It also usually indicates a limited vocabulary on the part of the user.
But we must remember that the commandment--"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain"--was given to us through the Old Testament (Exodus 20:7). What was the name of the Lord according to Moses, who gave us this commandment? It certainly was not Jesus Christ.
God gave Moses the name during the experience of the burning bush. You will recall that Moses wanted to know whose voice it was who spoke to him. that voice, the voice of God, identified as "I Am Who I Am." when Moses wanted some authority for returning to Egypt, this same Divine voice said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'"(Exodus 3:14).
Keep this in mind, because one of your alternatives on the subject of sin lies within this information.
The third area of sin dealt with moral behavior. If we are inclined toward reckless promiscuity in our moral behavior, it is often a symptom of a poor self-image. A person who thinks well of himself or herself is not inclined toward this kind of behavior pattern.
I do not know if such behavior is a sin against God; but I am sure that it is a sin against ourselves. If we truly believe that we are spiritual beings, how is it possible to degrade ourselves through any behavior we deem as demeaning? So, in this area of sin, we need to take a good look at how we really feel about ourselves and our actions.
Traditionally, sin has been defined a missing of the mark. this means falling short of our highest potential. There are obviously many ways that we can and do fall short. the important thing to remind ourselves is that such falling short is not, does not have to be, a permanent life experience. there is a definite remedy for it.
Consider the quality of our words. As mentioned, the name of God as revealed to Moses is I AM. This means that anytime we use the words I am associated with any quality that would degrade or betray our spiritual character, we are taking the Lord's name in vain. Any time we say, "I am sick," or "I am poor," or "I am angry," we are associating the name of God with qualities that are the antithesis of the true character of God.
Herein lies our alternative. To use the words I am in this way is much more subtle profanity than the kind usually thought of as profane. therefore, the ill effects of such an association can creep into our lives without our realizing what we have done to ourselves.
Our words do have a tremendous effect upon our well-being. Therefore, it is important that we never associate the words I am with anything less than the qualities we normally associate with God. We need to affirm: I am well and strong. I am alive with the joy of God. I am rich with God's bountiful supply. This is to use the name of God as it was intended to be used.
There is also an alternative to be considered in the very definition of the word sin. We have most often thought of sin as a falling short of the mark. The degree of the sin has been determined by how far short of the mark we fell. Also, there was some question as to what the "mark" we aspire to reach really was.
The alternative definition of sin is "living under a false sense of separation from God." It is a false sense of separation because we cannot actually be separated from God. God is our very Spirit, the life that pulsates in and through our beings.
However, if we labor under the delusion that we are separated from God, the effect is almost as if we were. If, in our own consciousness, we feel that God is "there" and we are "here," we will feel separated from our highest good. We will feel as if we really are poor, tired, sick, and the rest of the negative host.
For this reason, every prayer that we pray should be one for healing--to heal our sense of separation from God. It may well be that this sense of separateness is the only real sin. Everything we experience that could be termed sinful stems from this sense of separation from God.
If we feel at one with God, which we truly are, how could we ever feel deprived of any good thing in life? Much to the contrary, a feeling of at-one-ness with God gives us a sense of assurance that all is well with our world. We know that God is blessing us constantly with the strength of Divine presence, which works mightily in and through us.
This was the great secret to the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. "I and the Father are one," He said. He meant for us to know this Truth for ourselves. When we do know this Truth, there can be no feeling of separation from God. then the one major and basic sin is removed from our lives. When this falseness disappears from our thinking, fantastic thing happen to us.
Our minds become illumined with actual, useful wisdom. divine energy flows through our bodies, revitalizing us. From our hearts the very love of God flows, as compassion toward all. Our personal worlds are peacefully prosperous, and we are grateful.
This item is an excerpt from the book "Alternatives" by William L. Fisher, and reproduced with the express permission of Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.