In this message, I am going to attempt to take on a pretty big subject- one that is steeped in thousands of years of religious tradition, and has really been around since the beginning of time. I’m talking about sin and repentance. Those two words carry a pretty strong charge in most religious systems. If you were raised in a religious environment, chances are your personality has some pretty stubborn beliefs about sin and repentance that play strongly into your personality’s sense of self-worth and worthiness.
My objective in writing this is not to say what you’ve been taught is wrong or there is no such thing as sin, but rather to help bring some light and clarity to a topic that is often considered the exclusive domain of religious authorities.
The first thing I want to establish is the definitions of sin and repentance in terms of the two major aspects of who you are- personality and Soul.
Simply stated, I will define sin as the personality moving away from or out of alignment with the Soul and repentance as the personality moving toward or into greater alignment with the Soul. The header diagram I made represents this principle visually.
I think this diagram helps to take the charge away and look at this important topic in more objective terms. Instead of seeing sin as some form of evil that makes you unworthy- see it instead as the wrong application or use of truth by the personality. When truth is applied wrongly, the consequences of it are what the scriptures refer to as sin. That is why it is true when the Bible says that we are all sinners. It means that we all have personalities and those personalities have all made many wrong applications of truth because that is how we learn and we’re here on earth to learn from our own experience.
The scriptures don’t refer to sin in a punitive sense where there is an angry God that punishes you for disobeying him- but in a causative sense where there are unavoidable effects (or consequences) that come from causes (choices we make).
The punishment for moving away from or out of alignment with the Soul is simply the consequences that come from that disharmony. When we make a different choice and begin moving toward or in more alignment with the Soul, the “punishment” automatically stops and the “blessings” automatically begin to flow. Is this because God personally decided to stop punishing you and start blessing you? In a sense, yes- but in a universal sense- not an individual one. That’s just the perfect law of cause and effect that is inherently part of God and will be equally true for all people as God “is no respecter of persons” (meaning He doesn’t play favorites).
However, when we are living in our own hell- instead of learning from the punishment (or consequence) we try to self-justify. Our personality defends its actions while at the same time punishing itself over and over again by feeling unworthy to receive more of life’s goodness, and so we do receive less of life’s goodness- and we’ve created a classic downward spiral that holds us back- that acts like a very strong brake on our ability to move forward and change.
There are some basic elements to the process of repentance. Every major religion has developed their own formal practices and policies regarding repentance. It is NOT my objective to criticize or condemn any of them. They all serve a useful purpose so long as the focus is on the truth of the underlying principles and not just the surface level policies and procedures. If you are active in a religion, I encourage you to follow the policies and procedures that you are taught, but do so with your attention focused on which voice you are listening to- personality that diminishes, blames and defends, or the Soul that encourages and supports you in your ongoing learning process.
In the next message, I will go into more detail on the repentance process.
Questions To Ponder
- How does seeing punishment as causative instead of punitive make a difference to viewing your own life and relationship with God?
- Can you see how everyone is a sinner and that’s exactly how life is designed to help us evolve?
- Instead of trying to justify why I’m right but my life is not working, can I see how the consequences of my life are mostly just trying to help me make different choices?
- When is the last time you feel you purposefully repented of something?