One of the things he said yesterday was that there is no use our pretending that in some way acts of sin are not acts of our will. However we dress it up, he said, whenever we sin e make a choice to do that. We could decide not to sin, but e decide the opposite. That challenges the way many of us approach this. How often have you heard yourself, or someone else, talk about sin as though you had no choice?
For my own reasons, I am highly sensitive to the notion that men get an overwhelming temptation to go to bed with women they are not married to. Such men tend to talk about it being ‘natural’. I agree. Although not experienced at all in the ways of men, I can quite see it is natural for them to wish to go to bed with lots of women. Being somewhat old-fashioned, it is not natural for me to want to do the same. As I was saying to Father, this is part and parcel of the spectrum of ‘natural behaviour’ which is actually sinful.
We tend, as a species, to argue as though the fact that something is ‘natural’ is to excuse it. I don’t know anything much about homosexuality, but abhorrent though the idea is to me, I am quite happy to accept that to some people it is ‘natural’; so is adultery and fornication. But God tells us these things are wrong.
They are, like so much else we do wrong, the product of our fallen nature. Once we accept that our nature is fallen, we can no longer accept that the fact that something comes naturally to us is an excuse.
It is here that the idea that in some way Christianity is a panacea or something which makes life easy goes astray. Our Faith tells us that many of the things we might like to do are wrong. Our fallen nature tells us that much pleasure is to be had down many such paths, and as our society as a whole shows us, that is a seductive argument. What could be more ‘natural’ than to give in to the urge to go to bed with an attractive person who shows an interest in you? Am I married, is he? Well, if we don’t tell anyone, here’s the harm? Oh yes, the argument, like all of Satan’s arguments, is seductive enough – and it goes with the grain of our desires.
But we fool only ourselves, as Father said, if we fall for the line that in some way we fell into sin. We made a choice, We decided, willingly, that we would do something we know to be wrong. It wasn’t ‘society’, it wasn’t anything except an act of will. But if we can choose to act, the good news is that we can choose not to act. The question of why we don’t make that choice more often is one we all need to address.