In this post (Love and Sin) i briefly talk about the idea of sin being a rejection of love. I was recently asked how something relatively common, such as a lie, how that would be a rejection of love. It’s an interesting question, that I’m not really sure has a right answer.
In my quote by Merton, he states that the rejection of love is “the pattern and prototype of all sin.” Before diving to far into my thoughts, I want to define some terms:
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
dis’interested, ppl. a.
2. Not influenced by interest; impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced; now always, Unbiased by personal interest; free from self-seeking. (Of persons, or their dispositions, actions, etc.)
2. In religious use, applied in an eminent sense to the paternal benevolence and affection of God towards His children, to the affectionate devotion due to God from His creatures, and to the affection of one created being to another so far as it is prompted by the sense of their common relationship to God.
1. a. An act which is regarded as a transgression of the divine law and an offence against God; a violation (esp. wilful or deliberate) of some religious or moral principle.
I think it is important to realize that the disinterested love Merton speaks of, is the love the Greeks would have referred to as agapé or divine love. So do we reject God every time we lie? Consciously, at least most of the time, probably not.
I personally think that one of the major roots of sin is selfishness. I also think one of the key principles of love is selflessness. When we lie, we tend to be doing it for selfish reasons (even if we try to justify it saying its for the other person).
Even with all that, I’m not sure I’m prepared to make as bold of statement as Merton.