We are taught that we "evolve" personally... that we grow, that we are the sum product of all the mistakes and calamaties that we have faced, that the mistakes of the past have shaped us and turned us into who we are.
I suppose, to a certain extent, this is true.
But, am I now who I ought to be, or am I less than what I should be? Am I a triumph of evolution and growth, or am I bruised, battered, and so much less than what I could be.
A friend of mine wrote: "No way will I disown or regret for one instant the path and decisions which have brought me so humbly and gratefully to this most beautiful, inspiring, vibrant and evolutionary place."
On the one hand, I get that. As a person, I do. I can look at the wonderful beauty of my bride and realize that I would not have her as my bride if I hadn't been so lousy with other gals in the past - that those mistakes paved the way for the present. I can see that, I can even want to romanticize all the toils and heartache... and even utter folly of the past.
But on the other hand, as a theologian, I'm horrified. This boils down to the justification of sin.
1. My mistakes helped to make me grow into who I am today.
2. I am a good person now.
3. Therefore, my mistakes ultimately had a good result.
That's the logic. It's seductive, it's appealing, and it's wrong. At all points.
1 - mistakes don't bring growth - they tear down, they crack, break, bruise and batter. Sin always destroys. And it's an utter lie of the devil that we can only know good in light of sin.
2 - Okay, so I suppose socially I'm an okay fellow... but I ought to be so much more. I am bruised, I am broken, I do carry scars that make me slow to act, hatreds and fears that make me passive when I should be active. I'm not now what I should be... so while I should give thanks to God for what I have and am, I can't pretend that this is some sort of wondrous ideal. No, I know what I could have broken into - and there but for the grace of God go I.
3 - It's not that sin has good results. . . it's that in His great mercy and undying love, God does not always let sin have its full, unbridled impact upon us. It's that with forgiveness and grace we can grow in spite of our sin. It is not a matter of me conquering my past, it is God in His mercy making me to endure.
But... we're evolving. We're growing... we're overcoming obstacles, even of our own devising, and we are so much the better for it. Poppycock - I've never been the better for my sin, and I long for the day of resurrection when I will have to struggle against it no more.