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Sin? The Truth May Surprise You
A Man Decrees, A Woman Wears
Carrying A Heavy Weight
I heard the loud sound of someone huffing and puffing with obvious difficulty in their struggle, and I turned to behold an old man with a huge bundled sack on his shoulders. The sight of someone so worn out from what immediately appeared to have been a very hard life, and to be showing all the signs of such travails, vexed me greatly. Bent nearly double with the weight, the gnarled relic of a human being was half the size of his heavy load. Greatly perplexed, I wondered aloud as to why he was carrying so great a burden. “Why, I must!” he replied with near indignant astonishment at my question. “I must, I must, I must... until I die, I must carry these or I shall lose my reward,” he intoned methodically, as if singing a religious hymn. “What reward?” I inquired with true intrigue. As if I had asked a silly question, and without shifting even so much as one ounce of the burdensome weight to the ground for relief, the withered old man replied, “Why, when I reach my goal, I will be rewarded for having carried all of these faithfully to the very end of my course. It’s a great reward,” he added reassuringly. “Can you describe this reward?” I asked. “Well, it’s a better house in a better city,” he replied. “And have you seen this house?” I pondered further. “No, but I have heard many people talk about it, and they say it is wonderful,” he responded with a nearly blissful smile. “And what is in this great bag which you carry?” I inquired. “Why, they are lists of restrictions...many, many, many restrictions,” he answered with utmost seriousness. “Restrictions?” I mused, “What on earth do you mean?” “Well,” he began, “I am not sure about some of them, because I have never had the time to study all of them...” His voice seemed to trail for a moment, pensive, then he picked back up with some fervor, “... but they are for my benefit, and if I carry all of these to the end of my journey, then I receive my reward.” “And who gave you these ‘restrictions’?” I asked with even more intrigue. “Well,” he began, “I have never met him, because he died many years ago, but we follow his directions, because we know he knew more than we do...and we all want that reward, you know,” said the old man with a strange joy. And with that, he said, “Well, I must be off, got a ways to go yet, and someone told me that there were some more restrictions waiting for me just ahead. I look forward to putting those in my bag. That should really add to my house in that city.” I watched with great puzzlement as the old man struggled to keep the load from falling and slowly shuffled out of sight. A great burden handed to him by others, messages of restrictions written by someone other than himself, many unread and mysterious as to their logic, but he carried all of them on his back with pride, all because of the great reward he had been told would be his for this arduous task...a reward he had to accept by faith... for the load he had to accept by fact.
Required Mormon Underwear
Raised Among The "Do Nots"
And it becomes obvious to most who read this far that the symbolism here employed is the definition of “sin.” “Sin” is any one of a list of religious restrictions thought up by others than ourselves and then forced on others who blindly follow without question. A method used to keep children in line is to tell them what is defined as “wrongdoing” and what the consequences are of committing that “wrongdoing.” Misbehaving equates with punishment once the parents find out about those infractions. Funny how we grow into adults and use the same equation for religious teachings. We are taught that God is our Father, and if we commit “sin,” God will be displeased and will even punish us. At some point, the person telling us that God is not pleased by “sin” will give us a list of what things constitute “sin.” And, because we don’t want to lose out with God, we follow whatever that person lists as the great “Do Nots.” I was raised in the Fundamentalist sect of Christianity, and I remember once, as a child, being severely frustrated that everything my schoolmates were allowed to go and do for fun was off limits to me. I couldn’t do this, and I couldn’t do that, and it all boiled over one day as I whined to my father, who was a preacher, “Daddy, our religion is just a bunch of don’ts. We can’t do ANYTHING!” My father was taken aback by that comment and told me that such was not true, but his comment to the contrary did not change my view at the time. I could not go to the movies, I could not go bowling, I could not play any games that involved dice, I could not go to the beach, I could not wear shorts in public in the summer time, I could not listen to “worldly music” (I had my secret stash of Motown records), I could not dance, I could not wear any jewelry, I could not wear stylish clothes... and the list went on and on. Yes, my religion was a religion of “don’ts.” And where did these “don’ts” come from? Well, they sure didn’t come from me! I remember that, by the time I had gotten to college, the words of Jesus weighed heavily on me regarding the subject of religious restrictions. In Matthew 11:30, Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light, so why did I feel so constrained and burdened by religious restrictions that I followed like a fanatic zealot? I was carrying a huge bag of restrictions, and virtually all of them had been placed in my bag by others.
Hairstyles Dictated By A Man
The Lesson Of Martin Luther
By the time I was in college, I had become a fanatical religious zealot, striving to become a modern-day Apostle Paul for all of my strict religious observances. In later years, I would come to discover that “religious” is not necessarily “spiritual,” and as someone once wisely observed, a religious man follows the dictates of his church; a spiritual man follows the dictates of his soul. I had to learn the difference. Let me say right here that we can all create a list of “sins,” but they are founded on human frailty, human desire to be closer to God, and while personal sacrifice may yield a style of living that is productive for each of us individually, your personal list of restrictions has absolutely nothing to do with mine. If you invent a list, “you” invented that list. Follow it if you choose, for good or for worse, but to inflict that on others truly fulfills the old saying that misery loves company. Martin Luther was on his way to becoming a prominent lawyer in Germany when he was caught in a terrible storm, and fearing for his life, he prayed to Saint Anne, the patroness saint of miners, and promised that , if she would save him from this terrible storm, he would become a monk. When the storm suddenly abated, Martin Luther kept his unfounded promise and entered a monastery. One of his experiences has always stuck with me. He determined that, in his bid to become closer to God, he should not sleep with comfortable blankets. So, Martin Luther replaced his blankets with rough burlap. Eventually, he felt that his bed, likewise, was “sinfully” comfortable and did not provide the spiritual sacrifice needed to get closer to God, so he began to sleep on the floor. Eventually, he got rid of the pillow, and eventually, even the burlap blanket, reasoning that being warm was an indulgence that he should forgo. And there lay Martin Luther on that cold, stone floor thinking to himself that after all of this constant self-sacrifice, he was still no closer to God. He could kill himself with self-deprivations, and he would still be no closer to God. Eventually, Martin Luther left the monastery and applied reasoning to his pursuit of religious beliefs. Is sleeping on a bed with warm blankets a sin? There would be a time when Martin Luther might have not only felt that the answer was in the affirmative, but had he not had the legal mind that he did, he may have added some new sins to someone else’s list. Later, Martin Luther studied the words of the apostle Paul, wherein he said, “The just shall live by faith,” and this opened his mind to understanding that there is nothing we can do as physical action to earn closeness to God. Our faith in God is sufficient to inherit that position.
Required To Be Different
Who Wrote Your List?
One of the tenets of Christianity is that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ did away with the rituals of animal sacrifices that were so common, and made it so that all who became believers would no longer have to observe the established lists of sins and their requisite sacrifices. Still, there are many who follow Christianity and who, while not sacrificing animals on an altar, regularly have their own versions of sacrifice for sins on a list that they have created for themselves, lists that were actually authored and handed to them by others.
Religious Requirements Dictating Attire
The Origin Of The Word
What is sin? And, who determines the answer to that question? These are two very important questions, because, like the old man I described in the beginning of this discussion, if we do not know what the word actually means, we can become weighted down with a collection of edicts formulated by others who are as unqualified to answer that question as they are to place those unnecessary burdens on us. Studying the question of “sin,” people will ask me, what is “sin,” and why do so many Christians teach their various “lists?” The word “sin” goes back through the centuries to the Old English noun, “synn,” meaning “moral wrongdoing, injury, mischief, enmity, feud, guilt, crime, offense against God, misdeed,” and this word goes further back to the Latin “sons/sont,” meaning “guilty.” Further back, still, we find that the Greeks had several words to define the various types of “sins” and their relative intensity, but the word used for what we translate as “sin” would be the Greek word ἁμαρτία , “hamartia,” an archery term that simply means “to miss the mark.” And this goes back to the ancient Hebrew word, חטא , “chata,” which once again means “to miss the mark.” What a person finds when reading the Bible, whether it is the Old or New Testament, is that the more religious people became, the more they expected that there should be given them a list of restrictions that would keep them from incurring the wrath of God, as well as to ensure that they would live with God in the afterlife. Those “lists” have varied over the centuries, along with their human authors, and the description of the reward in the afterlife has equally varied. Even the “Seven Deadly Sins” is a list created by a human being, Pope Gregory I, to be exact, around the year A.D. 600. So, the question arises even more importantly, “What is sin?” Or, is there such a thing, then, as “sin?”
Separation Of Church And State
Humans have tried to make lists of sins ever since we first appeared on the planet. Lists, and punishments for violating those lists, read like bizarre documents from another planet. Though civilized countries have pretty much gotten away from mandating laws that punish citizens for religious sins, it has not been that long ago that we Westerners did, and we are still paying for the residual effect of having had the Church dictate civil law for so many centuries. Not too long ago, civilians could be put to death, and routinely were, for violating the lists of sins cranked out by the Church. When Spanish explorers conquered South American kingdoms, they were known to extort the conversion of the rulers to Christianity, then summarily execute them before they could lapse into a return to their cultural religions...saving souls from “backsliding.” To see the barbarism and lack of spirituality in so many man-made religious edicts in this current day and age, one need only go to such third-world countries as Afghanistan or Pakistan, and one will see countless examples of women being stoned to death for such “sins” as being rape victims, or even for being “shamefully dressed,” otherwise known as too short of a veil exposing hair on the head. Have we Westerners been “weird” about sin? In 18th and 19th Century Europe, Christians observed the custom of “sin eating.” If a person died, he or she might have some sins that were not confessed prior to death, so, a “sin eater” was hired. A slice of bread, or a vessel of wine or beer, would be placed on the body of the deceased. The sins went into the food, and the sin eater would then consume the bread or wine and thus consume the sins, leaving the deceased cleansed in the afterlife. Even today, joking phrases such as “living in sin,” meaning living together without the blessings of a Church marriage ceremony, were once severely punished by laws that originated in the Church. And if you think for one minute that questioning the authority of the Church to enumerate a list of sins and relative punishments is out of the question, America was founded on a strong desire to be free of that very same powerful persecution. Colonial settlers knew all too well the effect on their lives when human beings became religious zealots, formed religious institutions, then gained the power to mandate public laws. The long road to freedom in the United States has been strengthened by the principle of Separation of Church and State.
Is Conformity On The List?
Questioning The List
I remember when I began to question “The List.” I was sitting in church one Sunday, and a very beloved preacher was well into his sermon when he said the following: “Rock and Roll music will take your soul straight to Hell! But, now, Country music...well, that’s God’s music.” He smiled benignly when he said “Country music,” as if everyone in that congregation knew exactly what he meant and agreed wholeheartedly. Yep, they all liked Country music, and they all hated Rock and Roll, so… “Amen!” Rock and Roll music made it to the “The List.” When I was a teenager, being caught listening to “worldly” music could result in punishment, so we would wait until our parents were out of the house to turn on the radio and listen to our favorites, all while one of us kept a lookout for the car arriving in the driveway. There was many a close call when I looked out the window to hear car doors closing and barely managed to get the LP off the record player in time to flee to the bedroom and stash those “immoral” records in their hiding place.
Following Dictates Not Written By You
In all seriousness, the Bible contains passages that rail against the various societal lapses of the day, from the prophets of ancient Israel to the apostles of the Early Church, but even these two groups would have disagreed on what was sin and what was not, such is “moral evolution.” However, the principle remains, we do not want to “miss the mark.” And there is a “mark” for which we should be aiming. What is that “mark?” Destiny With Our Creator. I have intentionally made that phrase all capitals for a reason, that being, you should stop and think about that phrase all throughout your life. Destiny? Destiny with what? Destiny with Death, with the life beyond this plane of existence. It is easy to get caught up with man-made “lists,” lists that are for religious parrots who think and act like children, when the real focus should be what happens when the adult in the room, “The Question Of Death,” comes knocking at your door for a conversation. As the old Amish proverb says, “We grow too soon old and too late smart,” why wait until death to start thinking seriously about the Four Questions of Life? And those four questions are: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going when I leave here? Ignore them all you want to, but they WILL be answered...in due time, either here in this plane of existence, or on the other side of this plane.
Don't Miss The Mark
The concept of Heaven and Hell has been an ever-evolving one, even in the Bible. Do good, you are rewarded, do bad, and you are punished, nothing new with that theme, and if you go to any church in America and engage in a conversation with the members, it does not take long before “The List” is trotted out, and you are told who is excluded from “Heaven.” I remember many years ago listening to a sermon preached by an elder African-American preacher from Pittsburgh named Reverend E.D. Cobb, and I will never forget his opening line. He said, “Some of you, when you get to Heaven, you’re going to look around and say, ‘Well, look who’s here!’” I believe, from my experience with an out-of-body event described in my article “Does God Exist?,” that there is indeed life after this one. I believe that some Greater Force has a purpose for my existence. It seems logical that this Great Force has designed “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? And Where am I going when I leave here?” Strangely, the Bible gives us two clues as to the proper religious view regarding “sin.” The Apostle Paul, while in a discussion about “sins,” says in I Corinthians 10:23 that “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.” And in Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before your God?” If we were to take all of the sin “Lists” that have been put together by human beings since time began, and we tried to live by them, we would look like religious pretzels with more convolutions than dried prunes. For each person, there are rules that help that person get through life, and these rules are not the same from person to person. We each do daily battle with “Self” and all its natural flaws and pitfalls. The path ahead is a forked road, and we each decide which path to take—one leading to happiness at death, the other leading to sorrow. We either hit the mark and end this existence satisfied, or we end it regretful. While some would have us flagellating ourselves daily with whips, literally, I think God would have us live this life free from the Hell that zealots have created for us. Maybe that is one of the reasons He sent Jesus Christ to tell us that we are free from the label of “sinners,” that with His sacrifice, and through the grace of that act, we are to accept, as Paul said, that all things are lawful, but not all things are profitable… in other words, don’t allow yourself to be detoured, to be taken off of the path that leads to being spiritually satisfied when it comes your turn to leave this plane of existence. Aim properly, and you won’t miss the mark.