Why do we let a sleuth of negative experiences with children affect how we see the very identity or potential of the child? These negative experiences tell us the child is “bad” and/or is inclined to “bad” behavior.
Why do we let so-called “positive” experiences affect the way we see a child? These positive experiences tell us the child is “good” and prone to be good.
This is the danger of buying into the idea of an inherent sin nature. It tells us that some people are inherently good while others are inherently bad. It says, “Because I do something wrong, I must be inherently bad. When I do good things, it’s because I’m good or my goodness in this moment is a fluke.”
We use our choices and experiences to reflect to us that our nature is bad. We will not trust themselves to do good.
Then, we assume the good-natured of us don’t need support or training because they’re already developed. They are not. We grow up to believe that if we don’t naturally do the right thing or if we make a mistake, it is because we are inherently bad. This is a mistake.
Do you see how this automatically leads to a belief that we are inherently sinful? The belief in a sin nature causes us to interpret the behavior of people as an indication of their inherent nature and not necessarily the systems or experiences that shaped them.
Every person is born good.
Our broken families and environments (amongst other things) shape us to depend on different vices to make us whole. This dependence on something other than YAH is sin. It is the idea that says, “This makes me valuable.”
“You will not have any other gods before me” is a response to an intimate relationship with YAH. It is to say, “You will know me. You will only depend on me.”
We strive by trying to prove something that is already inherently true (rest).
We must be investigative and critical (closely examine) of the systems that shape us—whether or not they seem to be completely good. We must place weight (responsibility) on the system rather than conclude that I sin because I am innately bad. Instead, we must conclude that the tools and ideas we were given taught us an incomplete picture. Then, we must continue to do the work to challenge what the system has produced in us.
We need to reflect. There is no such thing as leaving the past in the past. Life is cyclical and we cannot control this reality. The past will always find its way into our present—thus proving we must be vigilant and vulnerable in understanding it and what it currently produces.
Think of the past as a seed that has the power to keep reproducing in your life. Rather than seeing sins as spiritual strongholds, see them as seeds that have been deeply rooted and are still producing. A tree doesn’t simply bear its own fruit and DNA. Behavior is fruit. A tree/person will always carry a trace of the DNA of the tree it comes from and produce fruit/behavior as a result.