Let me just come right out and say it: People are the problem.
If it were not for others, I would be completely sanctified. Well, I would be close. A lot closer than I am now. I blame you and you can blame me.
It was not the day that we were introduced, it was when I decided and you decided that we would become more than casual acquaintances. I could be nearly perfect if we were but distance “friends.” If we just left our relationship to Facebook friendships, wouldn’t God be more proud? You could Tweet to me what you are doing, and then I would @ back to you. Then we could lay our heads down on our pillows and have a clear conscience, sailing this boat called “Christianity” and raising the flag of the proud. Hey, look at me, I have attained it.
People are the problem.
Relationships present way too many problems and opportunities to sin. Just think about it. Without relationships, there would be no guilt for taking the last piece of pie. Without my wife, I would not feel so guilty for my lack of tenderness. Without my kids, I would not have the opportunity for neglect. Without others, I don’t need to worry about hatred, envy, lust, or selfishness.
In fact, ten years ago, when all I had were “acquaintances” I held sin off like a boxer fighting someone with short arms. It couldn’t touch me. It was easy. But then others came in to my life. They brought commitment and responsibility. They brought obligation and guilt. They brought jealousy and, at times, hatred.
People are the problem.
Therefore, I have made a commitment. In order to be truly sanctified, I am going to have to change some things. I am going relocate and live alone. I will take a vow of silence. I will have very little contact with others and devote myself to the Lord. No needy kids, no needy wife, and no needy parents. No needy people at all.
If sanctification is the abstraction of sin from our lives, let us become like Simon Stylites or the other ascetics. Let us become monks and nuns. Let us wave the white flag early and flee from anything and everything that might cause sin. Gouge out your eye. Cut off your hands. Sever your tongue. It is between you and the Lord now. With relationships gone, so is ninety-percent of your sin potential.
Sure, now you don’t really have the opportunity for other things—other things we are commanded to do. Love, mercy, selflessness, forgiveness, grace, tenderness, and patience will not be possible when you are alone. But that is okay since it was on account of those things—or the lack thereof—that you have to move away to be sanctified.
Besides, people are simply way too complicated. Relationships are elusive. You never really know what the right action to take is. You suffer from second guessing yourself. You make a decision, then beat yourself up wondering if it was right. You confess that it was wrong only to change your mind the next day thinking it was not wrong! You say you’re sorry and then not really be sorry. People manipulate you and you, in turn, manipulate them. Half the time, neither of you is consciously aware of your own deceptiveness. In relationships, the right often feels wrong and the wrong feels right. You don’t know which end is up.
Relationships just open too many doors. Sanctification just can’t happen. Cut all ties and devote yourself to the Lord. Then others, who are sulking and depressed over the self-realization that relationships bring, will count you godly and blessed. They might even call you a Saint.
St. Michael. I like it.
Goodbye forever. Goodbye Mom. Sorry I am not there enough. Goodbye Kristie. I know that I was never very tender. Goodbye kids. Forgive all those times when I should have been there and helped with the homework. Goodbye Lindsey and Kristie. Sorry I was too busy for lunch.
Goodbye world. You are standing in the way of my sanctification. I am devoting myself to the Lord.