Sin as Injustice

29 Sep

The cross stands revealed as the Tree of Life — and the sacrifice of Jesus brings salvation and healing to all who believe.

God’s commandments are more invitation than imposition.

He cannot and will not impose his will on the people he created to be free – free to make decisions, to love or to hate, to help or to harm, to build or to tear down.

The Ten Commandments, for example (Deut 5:6-21), call us from bad choices into the fullness of who we are as human beings – creatures who are made in the image of the Creator, creatures destined for everlasting life. For example, God says we are not to have strange gods placed before him. If we do abandon God for other “gods” such as power, fame or fortune, we reject the true God who calls us into being.  God’s commandment, to acknowledge and to worship him, is an invitation to the fullness of life, to peace of mind and heart.

As it says in the Catholic Catechism, “Only in the knowledge of God’s plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another” (No. 387).

Perhaps it is helpful to look at sin as a question of justice – and justice being a profound expression of love.

God says we are not to steal. Okay, I don’t steal; it isn’t right to take what belongs to another person. Right.

God says we are not to commit adultery. I don’t commit adultery. It’s isn’t right to endanger my marriage or another couple’s marriage. Right.

But in both cases, it is a question of justice – justice born of love. It is unjust to the person or persons offended. It’s an injustice to yourself, for you have turned your back your personal source of life and love. It’s an injustice to God because you are denying him the love, honor and obedience you owe God for your very existence and for his love for you.

Of course, temptation is tough. Human nature, tainted by sin, rebels in the face of commandments seen as imposition instead of invitation.

Perhaps it would be helpful to compare the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-11) with the Ten Commandments.

For example:

I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me (the first Commandment).

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (the first Beatitude)

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Dt. 5:20).

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied (Mt. 5:6).

I’ve found Mother Teresa’s brief reflection quite helpful. It seems born of both the Commandments and the Beatitudes.

            The fruit of silence is prayer.

            The fruit of prayer is faith.

            The fruit of faith is love.

            The fruit of love is service.

            The fruit of service is justice.

            The fruit of justice is peace.

 

 

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