Beneath the Tangles isn’t your typical aniblog. While we certainly discuss anime – lots of it – our purpose goes further than that, beneath the tangles of entertainment and animation. We seek to look at what we believe are spiritual truths as demonstrated through anime. We also want to engage our readers in discussion related to religion and spirituality, to encourage people to dig deeper into faith and question what they believe to be true.
To help accomplish this, I’ve been posting a biweekly series asking questions related to Christianity, religion, and/or spirituality. Here is the last in this short series, and as with the others, I hope it will give you pause and maybe stir some discussion.
Today’s questions are about sin and forgiveness:
- How do you define sin? Do you consider yourself a sinner?
- What standard to you follow for your morals? Are you able to meet such standards?
- Do you believe you’re in need of forgiveness for your sins? From whom?
- How is forgiveness achieved?
Please comment below with your responses as we engage each other about faith.
10 thoughts on “Come and See: Do You Need Forgiveness?”
Defining sin is the fun part for me, in a lot of ways. Partially because I don’t think that “sinners” means “Those who commit the act of sinning.” I think it means “Those who are living with the condition of sin.” Otherwise a lot of things the Bible says, like “We are born sinners” do not make sense, and my anxiety makes very little sense. (Anxiety disorders create a situation in which you’re very self-obsessed, but your main problem is that you fail to act— Not that you take action. Yet internally I still feel that this anxiety is a form of sin.) So….
(1). I do believe in the existence of sin, and consider myself a “sinner.” I postulate that if there is a God, and the Christian God seems to irritate or psychologically disturb my God (To put what actually happens mildly!) sin must exist.
(2). I do not believe that I am in need of forgiveness for my sins because I do not seek forgiveness. I feel that if I sought forgiveness for my sins I would be., in essence, doing a disservice to my own beliefs. I realize on some level that this means I will not survive the Night when it comes— I will either die or suffer horrifically for my choice, depending on one’s interpretation of the Bible. (And depending if the Bible is true in what it says). But to let my friend go alone into the Night without the most loyal of his servants behind him is to say that everything we ever felt for each other was a lie. You could say I believe I am in need of forgiveness, but I cannot accept it.
(3). My morals are a very different game. I have several basic creeds that are inherent to my situation:
(a). I shall judge no one for what they are, or what they have done. If I judge, it will be because I have been judged. No matter if I meet atheists or Muslims or pagans or African-Americans or Saudi Arabians or monsters, this is the standard. Tolerance shall be absolute.
(b). I shall not live an empty life. I shall strive for my fullest, strongest, most loving and most emotional Self. I shall seek to make the mask I choose become my face— I shall become my ideals such that the two cannot be separated. In that way I shall imitate my Master.
(c). I shall contest all those who would judge others without meeting them and claim things without meaning them.
Thanks for sharing, and for the lengthy response. It’s always interesting to see what you have to say.
I will postulate one thing – I don’t think that if you turned to God in repentance that you would be saying “that everything we ever felt for each other was a lie.” I look at my own life – my master was not some flesh or spiritual being – it was concepts and pride and the world. When I turned to God, those things didn’t cease to be, nor did it mean my worship of them was unreal. If anything, I felt my relationship with those things to be even more real. They were more concrete and memorable to me. My repentance was not canceling the importance, significance, or reality of the past, but framing them in a different way, and helping me understand the way things were. Ultimately, I make a choice to serve a better master, because he made a choice to serve me.
“My master was not some flesh or spiritual being – it was concepts and pride and the world.”
Yet that’s the thing. It’s different when you’re talking about an actual person rather than just things, the same way that talking about “the Divine” is different than talking about God. People can be betrayed. This world does its job expressing vague shadows of higher things, but ultimately the reason people seek out Glory is because they hate this world. They seek something in absolution, something real— Not fake.
“My repentance was not canceling the importance, significance, or reality of the past, but framing them in a different way, and helping me understand the way things were.”
Yet it was denying what your past meant to you, and replacing it with a frame that called it evil. To live, one must be “born again.” To breathe air, one must forget that they used to have gills. Forgive the frankly bizarre metaphor. XD
To see the sin and blight lying within them when it is exposed to Light, one must abandon their cloak of stars and Darkness.
Sin is quite simply any action or omission which breaks a commandment and so offends God. Depending on the gravity of the sin, it creates a complete rupture in one’s relationship with God or harms it. I suppose there are two kinds of sinners: 1) those who obstinately persist in grave sin and refuse to repent and 2) those who sin through human weakness or malice but realize their wrong and repent. Sometimes we speak of the first: “…nor sinners [stand] in the congregation of the righteous.” Psalm 1. Most of the time, we use the term to refer to ourselves in order to remind us to be humble. We deserve nothing good, and all the good we have is through the mercy of God despite our transgressions. I like to consider myself a repentant sinner, though I know how many obstacles I have placed in God’s way, and how I have despaired of overcoming certain vices and given up at times.
No, I fail to meet my standard all of the time. The standard for a Christian is Christ Himself and his teachings. But, as long as one keeps striving and admitting one’s faults, there is hope for salvation through Christ.
I constantly need forgiveness. Only God can forgive sins, and He imparts forgiveness in several ways: during prayer, during acts of penance, during Mass, and in receiving the Sacraments–especially Baptism which takes away Original Guilt and all sins committed by that person, then the Eucharist which forgives venial sins, and lastly Confession, which has the power to forgive both mortal and venial sins.
And so, forgiveness is involved in the lifelong process of sanctification, whereby God lead the soul into more conformity with His Will.
This is an interesting series of posts! Thanks for providing yet another way for people to talk about their faith. I hope that I do not sound very legalistic in the text above. 🙂
Joe, thanks for the response. No, you don’t sound legalistic. In fact, I love the way you’re able to communicate your beliefs about faith to all of us reading here. You really have a way of words and a way of explaining things that speaks to my heart and helps me think further about my relationship with Christ.
Thanks! I’m glad to hear that. At times, I worry that I sound too much like the catechism–too stodgily orthodox.
As much as you like my writing, I’m a great fan of yours. No other blogger describes the ordinary challenges posed by living a faithful Christian life as well as you do. Your posts are always a pleasure to read.
1. Accepting an apparent good over a real one, or embracing a lesser truth over a greater one. I am a sinner according to both criteria.
2. I try to see what is good and true, but seek only my own good and my own truth much if not most of the time.
3. Very much so! Only God can forgive sins.
4. Confession, repentance, reparation. Repeat as necessary, in any order.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
How do you define sin? Do you consider yourself a sinner?
Doing things that take you away from God. That’s thought, word or deed (sadly). And yes, of course I’m a sinner.
What standard to you follow for your morals? Are you able to meet such standards?
Well now that’s a question with a whole lot of introspection before it! I probably follow the standards of people I admire (or try to) but sometimes my reasons for admiring people are not, themselves, especially admirable so that puts me on a dead end path! Luckily I admire my parents and many of my friends, all of whom are good role models. I can sometimes meet their standards and sometimes meet my own.
Do you believe you’re in need of forgiveness for your sins? From whom?
Yes. From God, since it’s separation from him that is the indicator of sin to my mind. Luckily he’s a loving God although, scarily, also a fair and just God. I could really do with a generous hand on my side of the scales of justice but I think Jesus might have that covered. I don’t want to take that for granted, however. It’s a given (a gift even) but not a safety net to let you fall as much as you like.
How is forgiveness achieved?
Wow! My forgiveness of others? With difficulty, often. Luckily I have a terrible memory for offences to me and a very thick skin in a lot of ways so I can often forgive things. Some things do stay with me though – I ponder those and try to put them behind me. A wise man once told me that peace comes from closing the gap between offence and forgiveness. If I offend I should seek forgiveness quickly and if I’m offended I should forgive in turn. Then I will be at peace more than not. I practice this when I’m driving – it’s harder than it sounds 🙂
God’s forgiveness of me flows naturally from his gift of grace. Those scales are balanced already in his eyes and it’s my own silly fault if I can’t understand that.
Thanks for sharing! I love this quote you mentioned: “A wise man once told me that peace comes from closing the gap between offence and forgiveness.” And I think I, too, should remember this when I’m driving. -_-‘