(Don’t be too shocked, but this is Jesse writing this post, not Kelly. She wanted me to make sure that was clear.)
As is it just so happened today, at work a guy I don’t know walks up to the urinal, pauses, and flushes it before going about his business. Now certainly this isn’t a big deal, and my coworker probably didn’t even pause to think about the action. But it’s a really silly thing to do. There is no hygienic reason for clearing out the previous contents of the urinal. The fact of the matter is that by initial flushing accomplishes nothing but wasting a little water. One wonders if this man’s pee require to be deposited in pure spring water before it joins the rest of the sewage? This behavior (and keep in mind I don’t know this man at all) isn’t in anyway rationally defensible (which doesn’t make it wrong), but it makes one wonder what is happening with the person that they would exhibit this sort of behavior.
There are countless other examples, but I’ll stick with work for now (since none of them read this blog). In the break room there are plastic silverware, and Styrofoam plates and cups. The cups disappear like crazy as people get a new cup with every trip for water or coffee. I started to realize that I was going through four or fives cups a day when I bothered to even pay attention. So I had Kelly pick up a mug for me at a garage sell, and 25 cents later I was simultaneously saving my company money and the environment.
While both of these are good things, that’s not really why I care. There is something spiritually cumbersome about wastefulness, whether it be with material items or time. Both these things are gifts from God and lack of awareness and gratitude for them prove to be very good signs of similar sentiments towards God.
The distinction between sins of omission and sins of comission is misleading, and it gives us a false picture of sin. It tricks into thinking that sin is a category of “things”. Sin is our failure to conform to the likeness of God. It’s not a “thing” with a discrete border. You can point to an action, but sin is never just an event. It’s failure to attend and obey the Holy Spirit. “Be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” The verse is not a caution to never misstep, but an injunction as to our high calling It is not the case that we are viewed in terms of which technical infractions we’re transgressed and which paperwork we’ve correctly submitted. It means that we are called to the likeness of God, the high calling that is the purpose of humanity. When we sin we are being less-than-human.
We often talk of sin as if it is something to be categorized. We talk of sin when we should be speaking of vices. Really we should be speaking of sin as we do maturity and immaturity: often easy to distinguish but difficult to see where it begins and ends. We know when someone isn’t handling things as they well as they should, even if we don’t know the best way for them to fix it. This is true even when we analyze ourselves.
Sin is not a thing that reveals us to God– something that presents us to Him. It’ something that is realized by virtue of our relationship to him. This is what legalism is: the view that sin is the summation of who we are that is presented to God. It takes what is realized by virtue of our relationship to God, and suggests that we create a formula by which we relate to God. It puts something between us and God, reversing the way it should be.
Then again, it could be the case that I make too much out if things like a flush.