Exulting in Guilt

At times

            I exult

                        in the pleasures of sin

            blanking out the wrong

            enjoying the illicit

                        caught in the moment

                                    imagining that is all that is


But as pleasure fades

            which it always does

            awareness of wrong seeps in

            the trickle becomes a flow

            the flow becomes a stream

            the stream becomes a flood


Battered by waters of guilt

            memories of pleasure swept away

            leaving shame washed up on my shore


Short term pleasure

            becoming only guilt


As I see the depth of the wrong

At times

            I exult

                        in the pleasures of guilt

I don’t get sin. Oh, I do it. And I like the classic definition of missing the mark. Not hitting the center of the target may not please you, but it doesn’t end the world. So why does God view sin as so…well, sinful? Worthy of death? Separation? He’s always required a life for us to gain forgiveness, either the earlier annual animal sacrifice, or that of his Son, Jesus. He doesn’t mess around with it, does he? But if we just focus on this, we get frustrated because can’t follow his command that we “must be holy.”

But, he also tells us if we confess our sins, we have forgiveness. Pretty easy. “Yeah God, I blew it again. I was wrong.” Boom, it’s gone. And if we just focus on this, we miss the essential evil of sin. The ease of confession can lead to taking it easy on our doing sin.

That paradox bothers me. Both are true. Both seem contradictory. But maybe, rather than explaining what can’t be explaining, can we just accept it? Live as if both are true. Yes, sin is terrible Always. Yes, sin is forgivable. Maybe we can open the game with the first truth—and using God’s Spirit to avoid sin and move from it. But when we fail, we avail ourselves of the second truth.

In the poem, I said I “exult in guilt.” I do. Honest. Guilt reminds me that what I did violates the character of God. It forces me to my knees in confession. Without guilt, I’d keep taking sin lightly. And I love God too much to do that.

Kick Starting the Discussion

What sins seem to nail you, maybe repeatedly? What sins do you take lightly, knowing forgiveness is easily available? On a practical level, how can you embrace both truths, the evil of sin and the ease of forgiveness?