The tragedy of sin is that is diverts divine gifts. The person who has a genuine capacity for loving becomes promiscuous, maybe sexually, or maybe by becoming frivolous and fickle, afraid to make a commitment to anyone or anything. The person with a gift for passionate intensity squanders it in angry tirades and, given power, becomes a demagogue.
Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk.
The story of the Fall is the story of created good turned to sorrow and evil. So many of our sins are this way, a good thing pushed too far or turned to selfish purposes. Our desire to protect someone becomes a drive to control them. We squander God’s abundance and it becomes waste. Our capacity for imaginative play becomes twisted with hatred and turns into torture.
If sin were only an invader, an isolated tumor that we could just cut out, it would all be so much easier. Painful still, but clear. Instead, we find that to know ourselves and our sins we have to consider them, and understand the place in our journey where we turned aside. It’s hard work to comprehend this complicated mix of actions and motivations, and the good that remains can become yet another temptation to excuse it all and let it be.
But we cannot let it be. We will all be changed, but we must change ourselves too.