Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Not So Small Sins

I finished my last exam and I think I did okay on it. Now just a final report on my research to finish.

I'm still wondering about morality. When you examine historical documents from any religion, there are some basic morals imparted, usually the big ones: Don't kill or steal. Don't be hating on God(s). Don't covet, and so on. But there are also lots of little morals that are ingrained in all of us, whether religious or not.

I don't expect most people to break the biggies but I am amazed at how many small crimes we each commit every day: White lies, tiny betrayals and bigger betrayals, cheating a bit here or there, etc.

I do it. Everyone does. We all commit small sins but sometimes the tolerance we develop from these smaller ones leads to bigger ones, and when you've gone and committed a bigger moral mistake, you reason it away just like the small ones. It's the slippery slope that everyone warns you about.

Then suddenly you realize how horrible you have managed to be to someone that you really love, and maybe they don't even know it. And it is too late. Too late and DO NOT CONFESS. Not so you can get away with it but because, after much consideration, I really think that to confess to someone who is living in blissful unawareness of what you have done is unfair to them.

What happens? You assuage your guilt at the expense of that person's feelings. You destroy someone's sense of the world and dare to ask forgiveness afterward? More shame on you than you deserve just for committing the wrong in the first place.

What you deserve is not forgiveness, not at the expense of someone else's innocence. Let them keep their sense of security in the world. They certainly deserve that more than you do. Feel badly. Feel horribly. And keep it to yourself. That is your punishment.

Live with your guilt and never tell anyone.

Yes, I am guilty.


Jenna Howard said...

I've told a few itty-bitty lies but nothing (to my knowledge) that would hurt anyone. Better a truth that hurts than a lie that can destroy.

dan said...

I did something pretty bad... and in that same vein had something done really poorly to me.

And even though I have to live with it every day now, I think telling everyone let them know they were really important to me.

I'm guilty too.

Tina said...

It wasn't a lie. As twisted as this may sound, I am vehemently upset by lying (at least more than a white one meant to spare someone's feelings like "your hair looks fine.").

I guess you could say I'm lying by omission by not revealing this secret but I've never been asked about it. If I were directly asked about it, that would show my true colors I guess, and I don't know what they would be.

Jenna Howard said...

This makes me wonder how many people gaze into their mirror and say "I'm a fraud." And when we visit that part of us...sigh...I hate visiting that piece of me.

And what is the line between secret and lie by omission? I don't know.

I got zinged by a lie last Friday. I'm still coping with it. Bastard. He hit me where I'm vulnerable...the heart. Hence my above comment.