Is it about age? Or is it about wisdom? Or maybe it’s about abstract achievement of spiritual perfection? Not really.
After the Flood, God promised people that there would be no such disasters. Shocks are inevitable, because the humanity keeps flirting with its own ego, as if it were a red-hot burner, with the persistence of young children from generation to generation until it gets a bloody burn. People were killing each other over superiority and the right to revolt in the 20th century. Today, our civilization faces COVID-19.
Shocks and cataclysms can no longer be seen as God’s punishment. Rather, man himself, who was created in God’s image and likeness, endowed with freedom and creativity, generates the reality around him. Someone sets the pitch on a global scale, and the civilization attunes to it. The result is a kind of collective spiritual effort. When the bowls of hearts are filled with the substance of a certain spirit, they inevitably spill it out. Evil and hatred, vanity and pride, self-love and arrogance always come out of the depths of the soul to the surface of the outside world through actions and deeds. They program the reality of individuals and societies many steps forward.
Why is every sin evil? Evil in our minds is usually associated with acts of misanthropy, inflicting pain and suffering on a neighbor. We are not used to seeing our laziness or love of delicious food as evil. We understand that there is nothing good about it, but we have learned to draw the line between bad and evil. Laziness is bad, hatred is evil.
When Christians preached to Gentiles, they tried to explain the meaning of love with a very simple formula: do not give your neighbor what you do not want for yourself. Probably, the division between bad and evil naturally appeared there. I may not want to insult, offend another person, I may be friendly with him … But why can’t I advise him to be lazy, to get carried away by the opposite sex, to drink alcohol?
We often do not view personality-oriented sins (although they all affect us in the first place) as sins against God. He created us in His own image. He gave us life by giving us a credit of trust. Our Father and Creator gave us the freedom to create. Why do we drown our souls in sins, justifying ourselves by saying that we do not harm anyone? By hurting ourselves, we are hurting God. This sounds strange, but we crucify Christ in our hearts with every sin we commit. We destroy the bond that He re-established with us at the cost of His suffering and death on the cross. We should hold fast to the thin rope of our bond with God that we received in the Sacrament of Baptism, but instead we cut it with a heavy ax of obstinacy in our sins.
The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21), God told Noah after the Flood. It turns out that any sin that is not fully recognized as evil comes from the very spiritual immaturity of man, his misunderstanding of the laws of the universe and the constitution of his soul. Maturity comes at the moment when sin is clearly comprehended as an evil act in relation to God the Creator of man and to the person himself as a bearer of an immortal soul. Understanding does not protect against sin as such, but absolutely minimizes its impact. It makes one sober and directs him or her to the path of spiritual development towards the happy eternity. The Flood was a long time ago. The human race has gone through the coming of Christ and 2000 years of faith in the salvation of the soul. It is time to wake up, to grow up, to see that reality is determined by the spirit of each individual person. Real maturity begins with the understanding that the world around is short-lived and that there is eternal life ahead, the character of which is being shaped right now.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds