When we see that someone has done something wrong—perhaps something that harms others or violates us in some way—then the ego tells us that we need to get revenge. We demand justice. We want to make sure that the wrongdoer doesn’t get away with it. Response to wrong action, however, is unwise and unnecessary. Any sin carries its own immediate and certain punishment.
The original meaning of the word “sin” is “to miss the mark”. To sin is to act without love. The common error is the belief that your happiness and satisfaction come from the external (more money, more possessions, higher status, recognition). These errors often manifest as greed, attempting to take something from others, or attempting to control the behavior of others so that you can be happy. These errors miss the mark of love and carry intrinsic consequences.
Is there something that can be obtained in the external world that is more important than the inner state? Any attempt to manipulate the external world requires dishonesty. To live in untruth is imprisonment. You may attack or murder, but in doing so you will never escape the overwhelming guilt and fear that follows. If someone is willing to sacrifice their inner state of peace and joy, if he or she is willing to turn away from love and seek money, fame, status, or power at all costs, do you not realize that this person is already living in a sort of hell?
Nobody ever wakes up one day and says, “I’m sure glad I stole all that money and killed those people. Look how happy we are, dear, with our amazing lifestyle.” Not a chance, because nobody gets away with anything and cheaters never win. Foolish behavior brings its own immediate punishment in the form of stress, fear, misery, and isolation one’s own hell on earth.
Our job is not to punish others, nor to blame others, nor to shame others, nor or to get revenge. Our job is to accept what is, to lovingly attempt to correct error, and to forgive unconditionally. Anything done not from love is sin, and sin is nothing other than error. Error can be corrected and that is your job. The correction to error is not punishment; it is love. We must love those who have errored.
We continue tomorrow and each day after that.
Photo by Lino Petito