Cardinal sin three - blaming, attack, vengeance
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 third component of spiritual health is forgiveness. What is the opposite of forgiveness? It is blaming, attack, and vengeance. If we are one with God, and with one another, when we blame, attack, and retaliate, we hurt ourselves.
Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes us both blind.”
Jesus taught us to “love your enemies.” What Jesus is alluding to is that our enemies are a part of us. They are partners in a marriage, members of a family, fellow citizens of a community, and fellow human beings on the planet we share. And yet, to preserve our ego, and what we consider to be our personal interests, we blame others for our own unhappiness and in so doing give our agency and our power away. It is in giving our agency and our power away that we make a huge mistake in forgetting who and what we are.
We forget that we are not our egos which are illusions. The ego is something that has been socially constructed. It is not real. To protect it is folly. To pretend that something illusional is real and worth protecting is a huge mistake.
Forgiveness is giving up making other people and things responsible for our own unhappiness. Forgiveness moves us out of the role of victim. Instead of a victim we become an agent of our own holiness and oneness with our Creator, the ground of our existence.
To protect our egos we make the same mistake, commit the same sin over and over again which is to attack, blame, and retaliate for what we perceive as harm to our egos. The admonition is to “rise above it,” “don’t let your goat get gotten,” “turn the other cheek,” and move on.
To not blame, not attack, not seek vengeance is a choice. Is it in our best interest to harbor resentment, grievance, and a desire to retaliate? All the studies on health, physical, mental, and spiritual show that these negative desires, intentions, and behaviors have negative consequences. We can choose whether to blame, attack, and retaliate or whether to forgive, rise above, and move on to peace, joy, and bliss.
In which choice, forgiveness or blame, do we put our faith? One of the deficiencies in the Unitarian Universalist covenant is its failure to explicitly affirm and promote forgiveness and to prohibit attack. This fundamental principle of spiritual health and sin is overlooked and not explicitly articulated. And yet such a basic understanding of human spirituality which is so fundamental to other world religions, can be recognized and acknowledged when we consider the many sources from which our UU faith is drawn.
To blame is human. To forgive is divine.