Lesson 1: Righteousness vs. Sin
You only fail if you quit trying. The trying is oft counted for righteousness. (3292-1)
The search for God is about doing. As the Cayce reading insist, “in the application comes the awareness.” Even when uncertain of how to proceed, by sincerely using the knowledge at hand, more insight is given and the try is counted as righteousness.
Patience and persistence, as virtues, cover a multitude of sins. Applied good intention is righteousness. Working with ideals is righteousness. Being true to the inner self is righteousness. You only fail if you quit trying.
Application: Identify a problem area of your life where you feel you have failed or missed the mark in some manner. By attunement through prayer and meditation, become as clear as possible within yourself as to what you believe to be the best way to proceed. Is it consistent with your ideals? If so, apply that solution patiently and persistently with the consciousness that the try is counted as righteousness. Regardless of the immediate outcome, are you more aware of yourself as a soul exercising your will? When you meditate, do you feel closer to the divine within?
Sins of Omission and Commission
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me…. Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matthew 25:40, 45)
Keeping in mind that sin is an error or mistake, sins of commission and omission are simply variations on a theme. How we treat others is how we treat God. When our actions or lack thereof are self-centered, we miss the opportunity to be connected to the Whole, which is God.
Sins of commission usually take prominence within our consciousness. These sins tend to evoke responses from others to remind us that we have trespassed or violated a boundary in some manner.
The missed opportunity of sinful omission may be more subtle, but more problematic, especially if habitual. When we fail to give assistance or help, we fail to extend the love of God to others. This mistake can be haunting in retrospect. We can pray for the opportunity to get it right next time – or take actions to remedy the omission, even if only at a symbolic level.
Application: As you go through the activities of daily living, be mindful of opportunities to express the love of God to others. Be especially attentive to missed opportunities of omission. During meditation, be open to the awareness of sins of commission and omission and pray for the opportunity to get it right next time.
Hold not malice, though easily ye may at times be angry – but sin not. Righteous wrath is a virtue, as well as is patience – for they must arise from the same influence, or from the same motivative influence in one's experience. (2635-1)
Be angry but sin not. For he that never is angry is worth little, but he that is angry and controlleth it not is worthless. (1156-1)
Sometimes anger is unconscious. When you are not aware of how angry you are, particularly when it is habitual anger, you don’t see yourself objectively as others do. There is a lack of self-awareness, a lack of mindfulness. This is sometimes called “free floating anger” because it is just under the surface, ready to boil up at any time.
Sometimes when an individual has played the role of victim throughout life and suddenly becomes aware of his personal power, there is a tendency to express anger profusely. It can seem to be almost a revelry in which there is pleasure in blowing others away. Almost any incident becomes an opportunity for “righteous anger” to be expressed. This can become self-indulgent. Anger is not to be enjoyed or savored. It is not helpful to cling to anger through rationalization or self-justification.
On the other hand, when anger is turned inward, it can be just as destructive. Psychotherapists have noticed that sometimes depression results from anger that is turned inward.
Anger expressed appropriately, is released. There is no obsession. You will not feel possessed or controlled by anger.
To be sure, there are times when righteous anger is appropriate – when it is helpful for those to whom it is directed and not just self-indulgent venting or projection of your own feelings about yourself.
A quality of righteous anger is that everyone involved moves (or at least is given the opportunity to move) closer to the Source. Such anger can be used to address social injustice or provide feedback to others for their own soul development. This is righteous anger, when love is the guiding principle. Righteous anger does not lose sight of the interconnectedness of all of life, the oneness of the whole.
We are reminded of the biblical account of Jesus running the moneychangers from the temple – overturning tables, creating quite a fuss. Righteous anger can have its place in the search for God.
Like desire, anger can be spiritualized for a higher purpose. The energy of anger can motivate and move you to make changes. Just be sure that the change is in the right direction and consistent with your ideals. It is a comparison with your ideals that determines whether the anger is righteousness or sin for you as individual in your unique situation.
Application: Be mindful of your emotions so that when anger arises you have the awareness to use it constructively for positive change within yourself and the world, rather than being possessed or controlled by it as a self-indulgent habit. Be sure to be reflect on you ideals as you work through your anger.