`GOOD news'' and ``sin'' probably seem like polar opposites! How could sin, which usually brings out feelings of inadequacy, rejection, or self-condemnation, have anything good about it? Well, you're right--sin doesn't have anything to recommend it. And the good news is that we don't need to be its slaves.
Sin seems to come into our lives by promising that we will get something if we indulge it. Maybe we will feel more loved or richer or more important. Whatever the deal it offers, sin presupposes that we are beings subject to carnal desires--in other words, that we live inside a material body and mind that need to be gratified in some way.
Christ Jesus, who conquered sin and temptation, saw clearly that this ``deal'' couldn't possibly be true. During his own temptation in the wilderness and throughout his ministry, Jesus emphasized the fact of man's spirituality and his loving relationship to God. Jesus preached against sin not in order to deprive people of good, but to help them see that true peace and joy come from God, divine Love, the source of all good.
In his Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, the Master said, ``Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat'' (7:13). The ``strait gate'' is sometimes treated as though it were a straitjacket--something designed to keep us from feeling any freedom. But I like to think of it more as a well-marked hiking trail that takes us safely through treacherous terrain. The path may be narrow, but you know you're heading toward good!
If we are lured off this path or are tempted to leave its safety, our vision of who we are as the image and likeness of God may temporarily seem blurred. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, offers an effective antidote. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes, ``The likeness of God we lose sight of through sin, which beclouds the spiritual sense of Truth; and we realize this likeness only when we subdue sin and prove man's heritage, the liberty of the sons of God'' (p. 315).
We ``subdue sin'' as we recognize on a daily basis that we really are spiritual, the offspring of God. As God's creation, we can't be preyed on by carnal desires or fooled into accepting the false promises of sin. Nor do we need to believe that others are helpless before sin. Each of us is truly pure, perfect, and good. And we have the strength to express this, our true nature, instead of yielding to materiality.
This was proved by a friend of mine who was working in an office with a very dynamic and attractive man. Even though this man was married, she felt more and more drawn to him. One day she felt that she would be willing to do anything for this man, including engage in sexual relations.
As a prayerful person, she recognized these thoughts to be false suggestions promising joy from sin--sin that would not only hurt her and the man, but also his wife. She prayed ear-nestly to be free of this wrong desire, and she succeeded when she began to see this man as, in fact, God's spiritual idea instead of a biological creature who could satisfy her own physical drives.
My friend perceived that the attributes she admired so much really had their source in God, divine Life, and that she didn't need to have this man's company in order to experience the dynamic and creative qualities of divine Life. Since she was also God's idea, she too could express such God-given qualities. Within a short time, both this man's career and my friend's took totally different directions. They parted with mutual respect and appreciation.
Each of us may face different forms of temptation, but as we understand our nature to be spiritual and God-given, we can learn again and again the ``good news'' about sin--that it doesn't come from God and we don't have to give in to it. Instead, we truly have ``the liberty of the sons of God.''
Ye also are full of goodness.