My favorite Irish poet, Padraig O'Tuama, in his book In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World, writes:
- "Sin, in the words of James Alison, is an 'addiction to being less than ourselves.'"
Yes, I know that sin, in the original biblical languages, is an archery terms that means "missing the mark."
Yes, I know that. And I am aware that this definition can leave us with feelings of guilt and shame and a vague sense of wrongness that is less tied to our own possible thriving and more tied to a sense that God is simply angry and disappointed with us.
Did you know that the top two emotions we think God feels toward us are anger and disappointment?
Makes sense, right? If sin is missing the mark and we all sin, why wouldn't God be angry and disappointed at us?
But what if sin is more like an addiction to being less than ourselves?
How might this new paradigm change our perception of how God views us as well as the way we view our own sinful tendencies?
Perhaps we might imagine God feeling less angry and disappointed with us and more, well ... just sad. Not sad because of who we are, but sad because God wants desperately for us to become who God created us to be! And we keep choosing a lesser version. Over and over, we choose less.
And, if sin is my addiction to being less than the full, true, real Alice, I might feel less feel guilty or ashamed about it, and instead, more determined to root it out so that I can be more fully myself, more fully alive.
So that I won't miss out on all that God has for me in this life.
So that I can jump into life with both feet, with a full heart, with a fierce and free spirit!
So that I won't stumble into a life where I am stubbornly, lazily addicted to being less than myself.
Sin is an addiction to being less than Alice.
Sin is an addiction to being less than yourself.
Wanna' break up with our addiction?