I have a bunch of blogs in my RSS reader left over from the Nashville is Talking days and slowly, obviously very slowly, I’ve been weeding out the ones I don’t care to read any more. Normally, these are sports blogs.
But yesterday, I read a post by a woman in which she was talking about being an adulterer and I read the whole thing only to realize it was, basically, a rehash of the family fight we’d had on Sunday. My mom is like this–not an adulterer, though she might claim she was or was as bad as one. But this idea that, because their god sees all sin as the same–a sin is a sin–finding yourself briefly lusting after, say, Beyonce is the sin of adultery, same as cheating on your wife with her best friend, even though one is something you enjoy the idea of briefly and then get back to your day and the other one can tear your family apart.
But my mom has these weird moments, too, where you’ll be talking to her about some asshole you both know, who has just been arrested for beating his wife, say, and my mom will say “Well, I shouldn’t talk, I have my bad qualities, too.” Really, Mom? You have some bad qualities heretofore completely hidden of equal evilness to beating your spouse?
You know what I mean? It sounds delusional. This woman whose blog I stopped reading has not hurt her husband even in the same neighborhood of bad by lusting in her heart as she would by wrapping herself around another man’s penis after promising her husband she would be true to him. Not only are those not even in the same ballpark, they’re hardly the same game, like the difference between playing catch with a toddler and being the catcher in a major league baseball game.
My mom isn’t a spouse-abuser.
Now, let me be clear–I get this at some level from a spiritual perspective. And, in my heart, I don’t care if you think all have sinned and fallen short in the privacy of your own home. Or hell, in public.
But it seems to me sometimes to be borrowing trouble, to believe of yourself that you are as bad and hurt people as bad as people who are actually hurting people, and it seems to me that it starts to fuck with a person morally. After all, if you commit adultery against your husband by having lustful thoughts about Bob Dole and your husband laughs and you pray about it and he forgives you, if you truly believe that is adultery and those are as bad as the consequences are? Does it make you reckless about pushing it a little further?
I don’t know.
The main thing about it is that it scares the shit out of me for my mom, which is why I can’t bear the daily exposure to someone else also thinking along those lines. I worry sick that my mom does not say “Oh, this person is a bad person who I should stay away from.” Too many times I’ve seen her set aside her own discomfort, because who is she to judge, since she, too, is a sinner?
I wish there were some way of saying to her “Can’t you believe that all sins are equally bad AND believe that all behavior is not equally bad?”