by Ernest ONeill
The dreadful angst or anxiety that many of us feel these days is notsimply due to the increasing sense of insecurity that humanity’s complexdiversity causes. It is due primarily to the vacuum in which so many of us liveour lives. This vacuum is called “sin”, but we all have made this word mean”immorality” or “evil” or “bad” or “irreligious”, so we’ve missed the wholeimportance of it.
What is Sin?
In Greek it means “missing the mark” – shooting an arrow and missingthe bull’s eye! Sin is that vague feeling that we’re missing it – that we’re onour own in this vast universe and we don’t know where we’re going or what we’rehere for. That’s what it is – it’s this terrible feeling we have when we try toimagine infinity or eternity – time and us going on forever and ever. It’s thedreadful emptiness and frustration we feel when someone’s death or a financialdisaster in our life makes us feel we have no fixed points of reference left inour existence here on earth.
As years go on and we contemplate the possibility of death, this anxietyor sense of emptiness or pointlessness can become almost tangible. We becomeaware of our own smallness and unimportance and nothing seems to have beenworthwhile. The things that have distracted us for years from looking at ourrelationship to the whole universe fade into the background as children andfriends grow up and move on. We end up sitting alone in rooms that were oncefilled with friends and relatives – and suddenly we seem to be only littleballs of flesh that have no importance for anyone. This is sin – a feeling thatwe’re on our own and have no real control of our destiny or future.
What Causes It?
It’s caused because we have spent years missing reality – we’ve spent alifetime in unreality ! We’ve lived as if we were simply little animals thatpopped out of our mother’s bodies and in turn produced other little clones likeourselves: we’ve thought of ourselves as part of a closed universe or systemthat is just what we see around us – we really do believe that “what you see iswhat you get”. So we’ve missed the real truth about ourselves and our origin.Our life did not just start when our mothers and fathers had intercourse witheach other – our existence began long before that – when our Creator conceivedhis own Son to be not only his own divine descendant but also the human beingthat would express the billion facets of his own nature. At that moment youwere created inside this dear Son, known to us as Jesus Christ.
This position that you have from eternity gives you the context in whichyour whole life on and off this earth is lived: it is the reality in which youexist. For it is Christ through whom and by whom God made the earth – and it isin Christ that God prepared the life that you have here on earth. God foresawyour whole life and the things he wanted his son to do through you: he saw thebillions of moves you would use your free will to make out of your independencerather than his wishes. And he planned the billions of counter-moves he neededto make to draw you willingly back into his will for your life in Christ. This,of course, provides you with a substantial infrastructure for your life thatgives immense stability and strong direction for your acting and thinking.
Living as if this doesn’t exist is “sin” – and it obviously seems veryempty and unsatisfying and finally – devastating. What we feel increasinglythat we need is direction and confident certainty for the future.
The Way to Live
When we grasp the reality of all this, there naturally springs upwithin us a desire to do the things that our Maker planned for his son to do inus here on earth. We feel the steadfast love and infinite patience that His Sonhas shown us as he has kept us alive inside himself so that we could do allthese years just what we wanted. We see that He himself must have borne in usnot only frustration but real pain as we buried Him and his wishes under ourown self-centered whims and desires. Alongside this comes also an understandingof why we found ourselves driven at times by the physical and emotional needsof our bodies while at other times we lacked any sense of direction orguidance. Once we rejected the reality of being part of the Creator’s Son witha job to do we became a physical and mental organism that had no purpose ordirection.
But all this time we have sensed intuitions that seemed to come fromsomething or someone other than ourselves. At certain critical moments in ourlives we would momentarily see into the heart of life or would know what weshould do without anyone telling us. Often these moments of truth or secondinsight would come when we ourselves were absolutely confounded about what weshould do. It seemed as if there was a deep source of knowledge or insightwithin us that we had never tapped. Each of these moments of light weremanifestations of the wishes of your Maker’s Son inside you – indications ofwhat He Himself wanted to do through you and in you. These unusual instances ofdeeper insight are actually the normal way the Creator of the universe plannedto enable his son to live and act inside you throughout your life. Thisintuitive direction within you not only gives us guidance for living but alsogives you a strong, solid sense of purpose and stability.
Another name for it is your spirit.