Prepare Ye The Way!

For the Love of the Spirit

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

One of my very earliest memories, when I could not have been more than hip high to a very short woman, was an answer to a very earnest question to a very short woman, my mother.  I was just barely of the age when I began to perceive the difference between BIG bad and LITTLE bad.  I knew that if I did a little thing that was wrong, like getting out of bed after I was told to stay there, that I was likely to be punished lightly in comparison to doing something like telling an intentional lie.  If I told a lie then that was a BIG bad and I could expect the punishment to fit the crime.  To my undeveloped intellect this seemed like justice.  And, it still does.  It works that way in criminal law and in the way punishments are assigned to crimes in the Old Testament.

Then I began I began to go to Bible School and they began to teach me the concept of God’s Justice.  There I was taught that one violation of God’s Law was just like any other.  In the Kingdom of Heaven any “bad” was called a sin, and any sin would land you in Hell.  They also taught me the concept of Hell as a place of intense and forever burning fire where you NEVER got a break and the punishment NEVER stopped!  WOW!!

You talk about instilling fear in a four or five year old’s mind and this is it!  This really, really, really, REALLY didn’t seem right!!  So I went to the ultimate and final authority on all such matters,

Mama,

I remember like a photograph and audio recording the time, circumstances, and place of the lesson.  It was such a profound theological concept that it was etched into my psyche.  I can still hear her voice and see her face, fifty years later, as she told me,

Stealing an apple and robbing a bank are the same to God, because he told you not to steal at all.

My little brain began to expand on this concept.  What about commissions of different types of sins?  Is telling a lie just as bad as killing someone?  Yep, sure is!  By the same logic as the object lesson of apples and banks, every crime is just like another.

WHY!?

Surely, that’s not fair!  And in Catholicism there is a difference.  In Catholic theology they distinguish between “Venial” and “Mortal” sin, but I am not a Catholic.  I am a Protestant and even if I were not taught from the earliest of ages that there is no difference, then it still makes perfect, absolute, and SPIRITUAL sense!  It is not just logic that instructs me on the truth of the matter.  When I present the question to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit just nods in assent.  Yep, kill or lie the punishment is the same!

It’s not the actual act of the sin that triggers the punishment.  It’s the act of disobeying God.  We do not owe obedience to the law.  We owe obedience to the CREATOR of the law!  And, the Creator says “Do not break my law!”

It is an act of disobedience and disrespect. Any act of disobedience or disrespect creates estrangement from God, the creator and author of all morality.  Any estrangement brings the natural consequence of being unable to share in the goodness of his riches and mercies and love, which, by DEFINITION, is HELL!

Now all Christians have heard the admonishment

  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23, NIV)

You know, I spoke in depth on this in The Good that I Want to Do, so I will not dwell on it here.  Let’s just say it points out the difference between sin with a little “s” and Sin with a big “S.”

But, also as Christians, we know the answer for this predicament.  Praise God!

Stay tuned!

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December 19, 2011 - Posted by | Sin | , , , , , ,

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