“Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God’s will.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I think this sums up my frustration with some ideas of faith. here, Bonhoeffer is basically summing up Luther’s “sin boldly” statement. Honestly, I’ve never really been able to quite wrap my head around this legalistic idea of faith that, as Kevin Smith explains in Dogma, is more or less God threatening to spank us when we screw up.
I think it’s never sat quite right with me because if I’m just trying to avoid sinning, it’s still just about me. God calls us to encounter others, not avoid them for my own sake. Actively doing God’s will calls me into the mess of reality of those around me and them into the mess of my reality. And because life is always messy, I can either shine the turd that is my sinfulness and claim piety or embrace the mess and encounter Christ in others.
For me, Lent is about acknowledging the mess that I am, removing any facade of righteousness I’m tempted to set up. Recognizing that I am a messy, flawed sinner encourages me to embrace that in my neighbor. There’s no comparison of righteousness because, apart from Christ, it’s no one’s to claim.
My hope is that in Easter, I can remember and embrace the resurrection of Christ for all. The mess is the home of humanity and the resurrection is my call to act. I can’t avoid the sin that is intrinsically a part of me, but God has made it quite clear that sinners are quite capable of doing His will.