Sin! Judgment! All right, buckle up, here comes gloom and doom. Get ready to feel like a worm. Get ready for judgment and catastrophe and indignation. Right? Isn’t that how we instinctively react to the whole concept of sin?
I learned a very helpful perspective about sin from reading a little book called The Forgiveness of Sin by Rev. Chauncey Giles, a New Church minister in the late 1800s to early 1900s (and a favorite author of mine). I know, it sounds dry as dust, but it turned out to be pretty awesome.
People often feel like the Lord made up a bunch of arbitrary rules about what would be good and what would be bad. So it seems like the Lord says something is bad or good because He feels like it and He gets to make the rules.
In reality, it’s not arbitrary at all. Sin means spiritual disease. There are lots of types of sins, and they are described in the Word with the names of natural diseases because those diseases are the physical symbol of those spiritual ailments. So to say that something is a sin is simply to state that it does harm of one sort or another to our spirits. The Lord’s statements about right and wrong are the equivalent to statements of scientific or medical law. In fact, scientific and medical law function the way they do because their functioning is modeled on the functioning of spiritual law. Physical and spiritual illnesses are two levels of the same things that function in the same way on different planes.
Continue reading Sin and Judgment (Cue the gloomy organ music!)
Let’s say you are driving a kid somewhere in the car, or you are teaching Sunday school, or you find yourself in a late-night conversation with a young relative, and you get hit between the eyes with this question – what exactly IS conjugial love? If a teenager asked you this question, what would you say? I would love to hear other people’s thoughts. Here’s what I have come up with so far.
As I have thought about this question, I keep coming back to the idea that we are spiritual people inhabiting physical bodies. So I might begin by saying that it’s a love the Lord can give that unites a man and woman at the most inner level of their real selves, the selves that will last forever, as well as their outward level that they show to the world. I might say, I think you can start by considering the truth that you are a spiritual person, temporarily inhabiting a physical body while you live in the physical world. If you aren’t sure what you think about that idea, try asking yourself whether there’s more to you than your physical body and its workings. I expect most people instinctively realize that there is more. After all, you started life in a baby’s body, and your body has changed drastically, but you are still you. When your body starts to wear out as you age, you will still be yourself. Old people are sometimes surprised when they look in the mirror, because they have forgotten for a moment that their body is old – they don’t feel different inside from the person they have always been. And when your body dies, you will still be yourself. You yourself are something much more alive and more enduring than a physical body.
Continue reading What Exactly IS Conjugial Love?