On Fighting Sin With Sin
|There is in all of us substances and tendencies that are easily misused.
It is not the nature of the thing but the use of the thing that makes it a sin. The parts of
mankind are placed
for us to use. If we use the parts well, they are good, but if we use
the parts badly, they are sinfully
used. It is the employment of the thing that makes it a sin or a good
use. It is how the thing-source
is used that determines whether it is good or bad.
Origin, an early but confused father of the church, castrated himself for the glory of God. He was trying to get rid of sin as if it had a biological origin. This was not a bright move on his part. He could not grasp that how sexuality was used, to help produce a beautiful baby or a used in an act of violating self-hood, was what determined sin. This is the usual case: employment determines sin. Sexuality was not the sin but how it was used.
All the parts of nature are with us there for some purpose to be used The misuse or spiteful attitude with which things are used is what determines sinfulness. A rock in landscape if picked up to hit someone is used sinfully. The same rock on the ground if used to beautify is an aesthetic object of grace.
We need to realize sin is usually a fall from moral balance or right use. If a person is then restored to a moral balance, he or she may thank the one helping to restore the balance. But that kind of good feeling from sinners is generally rare today.
Why? From what I see people try to fight sin with a sin. That is impossible. If war is fought by war, one side loses, and right or wrong, it hates the other side for long after. Violence cannot be fought successfully and long term by violence. It just ends in a hysterical hate orgy. One side may be morally up on the other, but what does that matter? When violence is fought by violence, hate swells and the cyclone continues.
My observation has been when a crime is discovered, indignation and outrage take over. That is, after an excess of crime an excess of moral rage and indignation takes over. Excess is followed by excess. Of course the character of the excesses is different, but excess implies a loss of detachment, compassion and reason. After an amoral outrage, moralistic terror replaces spiritual reasoning.
A basic problem in man seems to be that he feels he can solve one sin by another sin. The sins of the criminal can be disgusting, but the sins of the outraged righteous can be just about as disgusting This is why Jesus said when the crowd of righteous people were about to stone the woman taken in adultery, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Moral people are often ambivalent in their morality. That means good people who say they are acting out of love are really not aware they are really doing it out of hate. But they speak the double-speak necessary in a liberal America where hostility cannot be openly stated. The result is there is a reign of Sweet Verbalisms hiding Ugly and Suppressed Mentalities. (Don’t you know those meanly righteous people just enjoyed the thought of casting that stone... and hearing that satisfying crunch of stone on bone?)
We cannot deny there is sin, but we can't deal with sin successfully unless we stop trying to stop the criminal sins with another type of viciously self-righteous mentality that is yet another type of sin. Criminal Sin against Self Righteous Sin means Two Sins where One was. I have often been called to robberies or shootings and witnessed Criminal Sins. Then when the pseudo-professional self-righteous denizens of law enforcement and the press arrive, I think: the criminal cake of sin is now about to be frosted by the arrival of self-righteous sin. After open immorality, we shall have the next wave of moralistic terrorism. Do I exaggerate? I know what I have seen. I know what I say; I say what I know.
In pioneer America women were prone in washing clothes to use a “battling stick” to wash clothes placed on rocks in the rivers. The laundering women felt by putting the dirty clothes on the rocks in the river, and then hitting the dirty clothes with their battling sticks, they were able to make them cleaner. Unfortunately the pioneer idea of “battling stick” justice, that people like clothes were made cleaner by hitting them, seems to have lingered on to our time. Look in the movies at the fights over ‘justice.” Justice is often done through beatings.
But such is not justice. Instead it is an offshoot of a rage about crime that ensures blind injustice. We have before us an excess of indignation that puts justice on a level of cleaning by hitting. Blind hitting does not effectively restore moral balance to any situation. When it is a hit for a hit, an eye for an eye, it simply means the whole world will be blinded before the war for war, rage for rage, evil for evil type of justice stops. For this is not justice, but simply blind revenge. But is blind revenge a form of justice? Jesus thought not. Yet in many situations people go in seeking revenge but trying to dignify it by calling it justice. Are we furnishing justice in this period? I suggest not. We are furnishing reactionary revenge or liberal psychological do-nothingness. Neither alternative works satisfactorily. Compassionate realism has not been tried. The New Testament Voice is not heard.
Let us examine the cultural idea of a hero. The problem is usually shown to be unjust people causing and using violence or force to be socially unjust. The acceptable answer is then for some outside group or foreign army offering a solution to be implemented by violence. The “heroes” will be kind enough to fight violence with a better class of violence.
In this we see immediately the new people are not very clever since the only answer they can offer to the wicked use of violence is their more righteous use of violence. So the situation boils down to violence versus violence. But the violent with ideals ask to be regarded as “heroes” because they will go in to kill with more idealism. God is supposed to be on the side of the more idealistic users of violence. Such nonsense. Such a literal view of the spiritual world.
When violence is chosen as the way to right a problem, the winner is then usually going to be the most technologically advanced in war or fighting. The idea God favors the right in a war or fighting is neither New Testament nor scholarly. The New Testament firmly established that God did not use violence or a contest in violence as the way to answer spiritual questions. Men might do this, but God did not. As far as God was concerned, choosing one violence over another was simply to God, “a plague on both your houses.” (The plague line is from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and not the Bible.) The line from the Gospel Of Matthew 5:39 in the New Testament on turning the other cheek and avoiding violence is divinely clear.
Now I am not saying you should not follow your country in time of wars. That is up to your conscience. I am, however, clearly saying that nations going to war are not honoring God with the use of any intelligence or grace in the matter. And it should be clear that whoever wins the war, it is not an edict of God who would not suggest war as a means to settle anything. Whoever has the best technology will win. At the end of the war, nothing will have been really settled, since the court of violence is not an acceptable judge or jury. Violence settles nothing, proves nothing except who is materially stronger. Ideals cannot be brought in by violence. Why? Nothing has been settled through violence. (Yes, I am aware of wars used by God in the Old Testament but Christ came as the Word of God fulfilling the Law Of The Old Testament. If you believe war is an acceptable means of spiritual arbitration and progress for problems of our day, then in my view, you are not ready for Christ.)
Christ moves on a higher wave length than violence.
Violence is a too literal frequency for the spiritual call to resort to it. Therefore I give you my view of Matthew 21:43:
the Kingdom of God shall be taken from the literal and violent as you
are, and given to that nation bringing
forth the spiritual fruits of the
Kingdom of God (That does not include violence.)
I suggest that all over the world we in the more modern countries, may not be thinking as clearly as we ought. And that word, modern, please consider, may not be a proud word. It implies shallow, up to date, and mechanistic times. It does not necessarily imply depth of understanding, an awareness of the necessity of peaceful traditional social evolution, and an appreciation of more than mechanistic thought.
It seems to me that all over our world modern countries are trying to bring in so-called modern thought very quickly while the ways a-Ia-mode are not catching on as quickly as the modern countries might wish. Therefore the modern countries make attempts to force modern thinking and ways on the older fashioned countries. In other words we are trying to birth by force of armies a new world of democracy on others. THIS is a SIN. Forcing anything on anyone is a sin. The sin is on force, not on what is being forced. It is as if the modern countries, including America, are trying to bring about a premature birth of Western Ways in traditional countries through force and huge infusions of money. It looks to me as if all our money is creating in the East is an Arab version of the “Beverly Hillbillies.” THIS is also a SIN. Buying others out of their originality and personality is a sin. The sin is in creating moneyed spiritual dependents and pseudo-prostitutes. This is a robbery by money, not a gun.
Our attempt at forcing the premature birth of the rest of the world on a Western Pattern does not display much Spiritual Wisdom on our part. Of course the modern countries and this includes America are in rebellion against nature and against God, as well as being in love with their own wealthy narcissism so they have no or zero spiritual wisdom, to use or share. That the modern countries such as America generally act without spiritual wisdom is not much of a surprise. They can’t use what they don’t have. But the fact the modern countries have no spiritual wisdom as well as no patience really repulses many in the more traditional nations. It also repulses some of us spiritual believers at home.
Unfortunately no one seems to be making it clear to modern countries that a normal birth doesn't need premature forcing. The use of force is more likely to ABORT than to BIRTH. But all these modern countries seem to have an obsession with “hurry, hurry, hurry.” This is unfortunate. But it shows the modern American mind has little spiritual wisdom. It also convinces me modern America has not only no religion but no common sense. I believe if America had more of either one, it would have more of the other. But a country without either seems in significant spiritual trouble to me. Christ Above Creeds
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.