Holy Week: Yukine’s Sin and Comprehending Holiness

Noragami grew on me week by week through the winter season, but it took one specific episode to win me over.  At the end of episode eight, Yato has collapsed from the blight brought on by Yukine’s sins.  And in the next episode, Yato’s, on death’s door (for kami can die), endures of pain and an almost-imminent demise, all because he believes in a young boy who is to prideful to admit that he is the cause of Yato’s pain.  And in the kami’s actions, we also get a glimpse of the love of God.

Up until this point, the Noragami has been careful to develop Yukine as a character.  There’s a balance here for the audience’s reaction to the pre-teen; we alternately consider him a brat and a sympathetic figure.  We understand his immaturity, since he’s still a kid and he’s in an overwhelming situation. But the audience also resents him, a sentiment that builds as we see Yato getting more and more hurt, while patiently enduring for the sake of his shinki.

Yukine’s juvenile acts are serious – so serious that Yato is not only hurt by the blight taking over his body, he’s dying from it.  The god Tenjin remarks that he has no idea what Yukine has done to let this get so out of hand, and that Yato should simply kill him and be done with it.

Even as Yato lays dying, Yukine is stubborn and resistant.  Even though he knows he’s guilty, Yukine’s pride and his pain weight more heavily upon him than does the possibility of losing Yato.  And while Yukine is different from the other shinki is his stubborness, he’s actually much closer to a typical person (ironically) than any other character in the series.  We’re all at least a little like Yukine – wrapped up in self-worth, selfishness, and self-love.  All these are sins before a holy God for a simple reason – they say that we’d rather worship ourselves than worship God.

Yato, Hiyori, and Yukine
Art by ハザノ (Pixiv ID 42262190)

So as the actions by Yukine are sins among the Shinto gods of Noragami, they are, too, before the holy God of Christianity.  Maybe they seem relatively minor, but the delinquent acts and prideful resistance I mentioned are sin before Yahweh.  As I mentioned earlier this week, Christ makes this clear one more than one occasion, even going so far as to state that thinking in a sinful manner is sin.

The God of the universe is holy, clean, and without blight.  If He accepted us as we are and took us into His presence, He would be something less than holy.  He would be imperfect.  And thus, He wouldn’t be who He is.  He wouldn’t be God.

This is key to understanding what Christianity is all about.  Many of us think of ourselves as generally good, but before a holy God, we aren’t.  We don’t live up to that standard.  And we don’t belong in His presence.  This is why God destroyed or ordered the death of much of His creation – they were sinful and evil and unholy.  They (and we) didn’t deserve anything but death.

But out of his great love, God offers an escape from this punishment.  In Noragami, the gods offer ablution to cleanse sin and pave a path to begin anew.  Through the New Covenant, we put our faith in Christ and are given second life.  Both ways require a confession of sins, where we tell what we’ve done wrong.  In Christianity, it can be encapsulated in this response – “I’ve been chasing after something else with my heart, but now my heart is Yours.”

Like Yato, God’s heart is forgiving and open.  He is willing to see us suffer and go through pain if it means the best for us – and the best for us is to live the way we were made to be.

We are His – so let’s live like it.

If you have any questions about Christianity or the gospel, please drop me a message using the “Ask the Staff” button above.  Alternately, you can comment below.  And have a happy Easter!

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

2 thoughts on “Holy Week: Yukine’s Sin and Comprehending Holiness

  1. I think all noragami viewers, including me of course :D, believe that episode 9 is epic and it’s actually the real reason behind noragami’s taking the first place in the winter season, because most of them did not only fuse their emotions amd feelings with yato and felt sorry for him and the fact that most of them want to actually kill yukine 😀 but also they did exactly wjat you did. ; they reflected the plot of the story on their very own lives:how they view god and the way that there is always hope and a second chance waiting for them to grab it. Also because yukine is a teenager so are most of the viewers which make them connect with yukine and understand his feelings and stubbornness and the reason he did all that . I mean most teens are just too pride to admit their mistakes and too stubborn to get out of their limiting box to try to understand the others’ points of view . So although alot of people were mad at yato at that moment but deep down they sympathized with him and what proves my point is that all of us cried with yukime and felt our heart being torn apart at that moment. I feel like crying again just from replaying the scene in my head.anyways I totally agree with you about how God is so forgiving and that he has faith of us no matter what we do or fall in utterly disgraceful sins but I think the message is that we should believe in everyone around us ; we should believe that there is at least a tiny bit of goodness and purety that has not gotten vanished by their stained souls and eaten away by their sinful will. I guess not to forgive someone is considered a sin because this person Is lost and is trying to seek refuge in those surrounding him and acceptance but to block him with the brutality of unforgiveness is a horrible act
    So I guess yato is there to teach us about patience and forgiveness especially to those teenagers who are most liable to commint the greatest sins without understanding what the word sin itself.anyways awesome post as usual and happy easter 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words! You bring up a really great point about the nature of unforgiveness and how it can be connected to idolization – placing things and ideas and people above God. What an important connection to make!

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