Giving Away Sins

Being lazy (sloth) has long qualified as a vice. It doesn’t quite come to the level of sin, but it certainly is a shortcoming that we are encouraged to overcome. Almost all of the driving I do is a direct result of the complementary shortcomings of laziness and poor planning. That’s why I chose to give up my car for Lent. It has been a surprisingly pleasant experience.I have to plan my time a little more carefully to allow for walking or biking, but that’s good: time is the most finite of the resources we have. If anything deserves careful stewardship, it is my use of the limited time I have been given. For some people, the time saved by driving makes that the best choice. For me, at this point in my life, walking and biking are better. I benefit immensely from the time I spend walking. It is a time to be alone in my thoughts, to reflect on what I’m reading or writing, which, more often than not, is related directly to the church and the gospel. It is a walking meditation. And when I am walking with my husband or my children, we talk to each other. (We also talk to each other in the car. That is the best part about picking my children up from school–the car conversations. But we spend more time talking when we are walking just because it takes longer. It’s a nice reprieve from the homework and housework and music practice that is waiting for us when we arrive home.)

So not driving my car during this month and half is giving up a little bit of my natural laziness. It’s not going to change the world; it doesn’t even dramatically change my life. But it is making my life a little bit better now, a little more peaceful and introspective. And I am thankful for that.

One of my favorite prayers is the plea of King Lamoni’s father:

O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. (Alma 22:18)
I haven’t been holding onto a lot of big sins. I have the usual assortment of smallmindedness, insidious pride, and careless sins of omission. I am full of shortcomings and little idiosyncrasies that I hold onto because they are a part of the self I have constructed, not because they are particularly good or authentic to the true self I would be if I were to be as I am known to God. But I can pick certain shortcomings and give them away, at least for a little time. And as much as I give away, I find myself coming to know God that much more.The crazy part is that, even knowing how much happier I am when I choose to give away a small sin or vice, I still hold so many of them close to me. I don’t know if that is because of the security of habit (even a bad habit is soothing in its regularity), or fear of change or constitutional weakness or complacency.

How you manage to give away your sins? Does it get any easier?

10 comments for “Giving Away Sins

  1. it is extremely hard. If I were honest with myself, I’d say it’s a lack of faith that we will be happier without them. Which makes no sense, because I have never regretted giving away a particular sin or addiction.

  2. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said: “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” I think he was on to something. If nothing else, people with a few vices are definitely more interesting than those who have managed to shed all of theirs.

  3. Oh, man. I just had to read the first sentence to be pierced.

    One of my young men asked recently, ‘why do I sometimes do stuff that I know is dumb and I don’t like?’ No one had an answer. The Fall, I guess, but that’s just another name for what he already said.

  4. “I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said: ‘It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.'”

    According to the book “Lincoln’s Virtues”, it was another man who said that to Lincoln when Lincoln said he wasn’t a drinker. Although Lincoln did laugh at the remark.

  5. Thanks, MC. I did not know that. There are many quotes and stories attributed to Abraham Lincoln that have more basis in myth than in fact. Of course, you can say the same thing about many historical and public figures, including several leaders of our church.

    That reminds me of one of Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union speeches in which he told a story about the heroic deeds of an American soldier during World War II. He was informed afterwards that the story wasn’t true, to which he responded: “Well, it should be!”

  6. Elizabeth Taylor said, “The problem with people who have no vices is, generally, you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”

  7. I really like the wording of ‘giving away.’ Give them to the Savior. Don’t try to overcome them yourself. Don’t try to stop them. Give them away so you no longer possess them. They no longer belong to you.

  8. I read somewhere, while preparing a YW lesson (so probably over a year ago now) on an LDS blog about the idea of repentance being giving (the sin/habit/situation) up to the saviour instead of trying to cut it out yourself, and involved some beautiful imagery contrasting between trying to be a surgeon to ourselves and giving ourselves to the saviour to be healed. One is a negative view, that tries to take something out of ourselves. Another is a positive view, where we offer who we are to The Lord and instead he makes us whole. This is one of my favourite scriptures. Thanks for bringing it to my remembrance :)

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