Paying for My Sins

Many of my past and present friends have told me, with a straight face and all the seriousness on earth, that there was this guy with a beard and sparkling eyes who had a long time ago died for my sins. Wait a minute, I say, what exactly do you mean? Invariably they then go into these lengthy explanations about the Lord Jesus Christ who was sent to earth by the Heavenly Father to redeem the sins of mankind, that he died on the cross for your and my sins. You must all be familiar with this story and also my never-ending rambling on about it. Well, I can’t help it, but I simply do not seem to understand. In the world I live in there is no other than my very own self who seems to be willing to pay for the sins I commit. With maybe one apparent exception: my dear and beloved wife. But even she, living in close and continuous proximity to my doings and sufferings like nobody else, can’t mend some of my most abundant blunders. And honestly, why should she have to?

Here’s a simple example from the practical world, the only place worth looking to when examining these complicated riddles of the spiritual realm. But wait, before going there it might be a worthwhile deed to establish some of the terminology we’re about to use. What is a sin? And when is it committed? How can it be redeemed? If we accept the fact that to answer those questions we cannot simply go to Sunday school, we’re left with having to do the reasoning ourselves. Herein lies the root motivation for my stubborn fixation with the Lord in any shape or form. Christianity, and any other form of organized religion for that matter, tells you what to think, it invites you to believe without ever seeing the real thing. And that’s a dangerous thing!

Let’s make it simple: I make a mistake. I do it all the time. I realize that I’m wrong because things don’t work out the way they should. I stop, scratch my head and try to get a fresh look at things. I change. I try a different approach. I adjust the course. Slowly things improve. I have corrected the mistake. It’s all very simple, isn’t it? So where’s the snag?

Maybe here? I know I shouldn’t do this. It’s really not good. Not for me, nor anybody else. But it’s fun! It promises the sweet reward of easing a pain. My resistance withers, my reason clouds up, it draws me to it like a fly to the flame. And bang, I do it! Divine pleasure, ease of use, soothing softness, lulling lust. I shouldn’t have done it, stupid. Remorse, pointed fingers, shame and nascent feelings of guilt. But I will do it again as soon as I can!

Or here? My friends told me all the while not do this. I do it anyway. Not because I think it’s the right thing to do, just because I don’t see anything wrong with it. My friends implore me to stop. I continue and the friends start to drift away into the cool distance of disdain.

It’s not easy to make things fit into the simplistic grooves of our mind. Somehow the closest I get to a practical meaning of sin is when I do something that I clearly know is wrong. Maybe things are easier in the world of epoxy. In that sticky world things come down to the simple matter of a correct mixing ratio. If you do it right things will go as planned and the gooey, seeping mess becomes firm and almost indestructible, hopefully in the right place. If you miss those golden proportions, well then they don’t and you end up with a very sticky situation. I knew back then in the building shed when I put on the fairing on the cabin top above Aluna’s galley that something was wrong. The stuff wouldn’t go hard. I discovered that the pump’s hardener side was plugged due to the cold and had been so for a couple days. What I should have done is scrape the stuff off and start over. Well, the sad fact is I didn’t. Time was short and who likes to do things twice? There’s always the hope you might just get away with it and for a good while it looked like I really would. But then about a year ago under the punishing rays of the scorching tropical sun the paint in that area started to crack and before long ugly gouges ran over the port main cabin top like an acid web of some stray Spiderman had been thrown on it.

  

So who are you saying will have to pay for this? Is the Lord now going to scrape off that sticky mess for me with a sad stare from up on the cross and let me march straight to the pearly gates of salvation? Believe me, I waited a good while to see if he would, because if he could have, it would have been the nicest thing in the wide wild world. Eventually though it became painfully obvious that he wasn’t going to do it. The cracks and peels grew like ulcerated skin cancer under a politically substantiated ozone hole.  And I had to bite the bullet. Let me tell you it’s not fun work, so I don’t blame the Lord at all. After all, he didn’t do it and nobody in his or her right mind would want to burden him with taking on any more responsibility. He already had quite a good bundle of things on his plate during his short and furious life fighting the Romans and his own bitterness.

It is clear to me now without any doubt that there is no redemption for our sins by anybody other than ourselves. We need to grow up and face that fact that we do mess up every now and then, or probably a good deal more than that, and we better apply ourselves to cleaning up after us, so as not to burden others with the radioactive fallout of our lack of understanding and sensibility. All this fuzzy talk about being tainted with the original sin and then miraculously cleansed and saved from cooking in a fiery cauldron of the fallen angel’s hell by a bearded rebel Jew, all this idolatry of an ingenious means of publicizing and prolonging death by capital punishment, bloodthirstily conceived and perfected by the ancient Romans, but so intrinsically typical of the human ways, and finally all this then portraying this same instrument of hilltop torture as a stairway to heaven, as a spiritual stepping stone, as a place where centuries of past and future moral human blunders are mysteriously fumigated, evaporated and cleanly cremated, it truly sound a bit like Santa Claus to me. Now, how do I get all this sticky stuff off my hands? Has it even entered my sweltering brain and led my civilized thinking astray?

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4 Responses to “Paying for My Sins”

  1. Beatriz Restrepo Says:

    You are a hard worker always. I admire you.The boat is getting better and better!!!!. There is something ,some thing to do in the boat. Boats demands more time than the wifes:). I miss you a lot.

  2. rudy Says:

    I’m going to tell you what God gave me in the bridge of a song:

    So Bring all your problems troubles and your woes to the foot of calvery. Then give your yoke to Jesus for He and He alone can set your burden free.

    A much better songwriter than me said it best: Accept God and live. Reject Him and die. Andra Crouch.

    It does not get any clearer or concise than that. The entire gospel rapped up in the two sentences above…

    Peace be still…

    Rudy

  3. luis Says:

    Work, work, work, and if you have time “pay” to the lord…the IRS i mean. abrazos que estes bien.

  4. Sue Says:

    Hello.

    I don’t think that on the surface we are all that much different. Humans have this inherit sense of right and wrong, yet the boundaries are so tempting to cross. So we just try again and again to get it right and to be good citizens.
    When the end of my long (hopefully!) and happy (definitely!) life is reached, though, I know that there is a long haired rebel Jew waiting to greet me. And that is what makes us different… Hope.

    I wish you peace.
    Respectfully,

    Sue
    Builder/sailor of a Tiki 46

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