Cardinal Sin Two - meanness
The mission of UU A Way Of Life is to improve spiritual health, reduce immoral and sinful behavior, and work across systems for positive societal change. This article is another in a series of articles on reducing immoral and sinful behavior. “Sinful” in the context of the UU A Way Of Life is defined as mistaken. The mission statement could read, “reducing immoral and mistaken behavior” but the mistakes being referred to are ones that cause spiritual injury and so we use the word “sinful.”.
The second component of spiritual health is kindness. What is the opposite of kindness? It is meanness, and rejection and abandonment. A Course In Miracles teaches that the primordial sin is our separating ourselves from the Oneness of God thinking that we can be the author of our own lives. It is this separation, this rejection, this abandonment, this exclusion that the ego tells us will make us safe, secure, free, and happy when it does the opposite. It is separating ourselves from the Oneness, which includes each other, that is our greatest sin.
In our modern times this meanness takes many forms such as racism, xenophobia, misogyny, all kinds of “other isms.” We play the game of “me or you.” This game of “one or the other” is not kind and as even little children we complain that it is “being mean.”
The human tendency is to hoard and not share. We laugh and say, “Hey, it’s numero uno first.” We are quick to project our guilt and blame on others for our own unhappiness. We love to excuse our immoral and sinful behavior by playing the victim or own desire to be “a winner.”.
The antidote for meanness is forgiveness. Forgiveness, in this context, is being willing to give up making other people and circumstances responsible for our unhappiness. Only we can decide who or what is responsible for our unhappiness. Will we blame others or will we take responsibility for our own well being and state of mind? When we blame others we are not being kind; we are being mean.
Our American culture, when you observe our social policies and safety net, and capitalistic and militaristic values is very mean spirited. The United States founded on the genocide of indigenous people and slavery, is based on a meanness to its very core and foundation.
Kindness does not come naturally to us as a people or as individuals. We have been exclusionary, subjugating, and oppressive since our founding as a country. It is only with awareness and intention that we can repent our sinful ways and choose a better way to live.
In what do we put our faith: kindness or meanness? As Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.” We reap what we sow. What are we sowing? As Unitarian Universalists we covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations. Anything less is what we are labeling immoral behavior and sin.