Lenten Meditation: Non posse non peccare


Psalm 51: 5

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

I had a hard time accepting this notion of Total Depravity when I first started attending Reformed Churches with my husband-to-be thirty years ago.  After all, I grew up Methodist, which is a nice comfortable squishy denomination that truly believes the best of people, that people have great intentions even if they are imperfect in execution, that sweet little babies are…well… sweet little babies.   But the Calvinists were clear: we are born in sin, it is and always has been part of our nature since we chose to not live in harmony in obedience to God.   Non posse non peccare says Augustine — not able to not sin.  I really wasn’t buying it.

Then I became a mother.

Now, our children are truly stellar on the well-behaved scale, and compared to what some parents deal with, very easy to raise.  But it was clear to me very early on that at a very young age, babies have agendas that are completely self-centered over anyone else’s interest and they expect the world to change to adapt to their whims and wants, not the other way around.  It takes hard consistent guidance as a parent to help a child grow to become a compassionate adult who acknowledges their sin, rather than reveling in it.

We owe it to our children to address the sin that is part of every fiber of their being.  Only then can they truly understand the meaning of being set free of that dark prison, through a debt graciously selflessly paid on our behalf.

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