little girl hiding in woman's white skirt holding a stuffed animal

He Made Me Do it!

This entry is part 32 of 33 in the series 99: a journey

I’m a minister and – One of the things I hate most about religions is how they get used to justify hurtful actions and words.

An example: “Why did this bad thing happen to me?” or “why is this innocent person suffering so much?”

You might hear “oh they didn’t lead a good enough life – or they’re being punished for this or that.”

I think that’s just plain wrongheaded. Even more, I think it’s a lazy or cowardly way to hide from the difficult truths that find us – all of us – at one time or another as human beings.

If I am a hypocrite, it’s easy for me to find a passage of scripture or a bit of ancient wisdom to take – probably out of context – and explain why someone else just isn’t deserving – or good enough.

I have yet to find someone who does this to themselves though.

This episode, we’re working with the divine name Al Darr. This one is challenging and interesting to me because it is evidently the only one of the 99 names that produces failure or brings out harmful behavior.

Think of the thing you are most ashamed of or embarrassed by.

(This is a safe place – it’s only me and you – and I’m not going to judge you or tell anyone). Take a minute to call forth the lowest of your lows if you feel able.

Got it?

I just did mine and I’m pretty sure it’s worse than yours. This is kind of hard, but I know you’re with me, so we’ll do this together, OK?

If you believe there is a god or a divine source of all — and if you believe as I do that this source is synonymous with Love (capital L) you might get stuck here.

If God is Love (capital L) —  and if I come from God, — and if I do something evil or unforgivable… does that mean that some part of God is evil? Does God create everything? Even hate?

I’ve done some things that I cannot forgive myself for. Some things that I regret. I felt overwhelmed by something dark and shameful and powerful, and several times, I have thought things or done things or avoided doing things. Each time, I did harm. I left this world worse through my actions.

I think that THIS is Ya Darr. I knew better, but I didn’t do better.

Is this what it means to be human? Some Christians and Jews call this original sin – the notion that we are all flawed and only by following the right recipe – either believing a certain thing – or by doing a certain thing – can we overcome this weakness.

I do not believe in this original sin. Of course, by not believing in it, I make things harder on myself. I choose not to hide behind scripture like a little child hiding behind mother’s skirt for safety when my misdeeds are discovered. I choose not to point at someone or something else and say “he made me do it!” or “I couldn’t help it… I’m just a bad person”.

I believe that we are called not to hide from or distance ourselves from the painful legacies we leave when we mess up. Rather, Love (with a capital L) calls us to step out from behind protection of our scripture and our shallow, easy understanding of God or of human nature, and come back into the light of relationship with each other.

Maybe everything is sacred. Perhaps we humans, supposedly atoms of cosmic dust brought together from the Universe, and made in the image of the Divine, really ARE pieces of God. Perhaps there is only you and there is only me and there is only God and it is all the same thing. If that is so, then it must all be sacred – even the scary bits.

You did that thing I asked you to remember just a minute ago. You did that – and yet you are still worthy of love. You caused harm and now you are called to do better. The same is true for me.

I ask you to remember this the next time the darkness comes. I think *that* is what it means to be human. Not to deny the darkness or the light in us, but to learn to hold both in reverence and care so we don’t get pulled too far one way or the other. Perhaps in a sort of dance.

Dear one, I hope you’ll join me in admitting your humanness. I hope you’ll join me in striving to embracing it – because it is all sacred and YOU are all sacred, and so it goes.

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