Do I really deserve eternal peace? Will God ever forgive me? Are my good deeds accepted? Why do I keep sinning even when I know it is bad, and after I have repented sincerely? This is the chain of thought that lingers in most of our minds much of the time. We wonder if God is or will ever be pleased with us. And we wonder what our fate will be in the next life.
Sin. This 3-letter word is a problem we all have, but only a few worry about. The world, today, is almost nothing but a reservoir of sin, taking different shapes and various manifestations. Sin takes the forms of beer parlours, movies, beauty pageants, fashion, lottery, music etc. No man is immune to sin, except of course, extra-ordinary men such as Prophets of God. As long as man continues to be imperfect with a possession of volition and free-will, sin will continue to be. It is part and parcel of the human nature. As it is, in philosophical parlance, a universal (phenomenon), I believe it is a subject worthy of discussion.
To say that sin will always be inter-woven with the world is not to suggest that it’s rampancy cannot be checked. Just like any other affliction, disease or malady, it can be restrained. There is a popular saying that a problem known is half-tackled and an enemy sighted is half-defeated. In this light, what is sin and what are its attributes? Even a toddler would have an idea of what sin is. It is an act that breaks a religious or moral law. It contravenes natural ethics and divine commandments.
One of the most conspicuous attributes of sin is that it is ubiquitous. It exists all over the globe, in almost every nook and cranny. It is only in Utopia: the ideal world that can be reached through our imagination, that sin perhaps does not exist. Therefore, an attempt to wipe it out will prove futile, yet fruitful.
Another major attribute of sin is that is often endearing and attractive. Even the most dastardly and horrendous acts are still, to some people, luring. It is like an unclad fiery beauteous lady calling you to copulate with her. You know, full well, that you will get terribly burnt if you answer the call, but you still go ahead to do exactly that. Such is sin, the tool of the devil, used by man against himself.
Also, sin is a boon companion to darkness, a brother to isolation and an ineluctable offshoot of excessive privacy. It becomes weak whenever it encounters light and togetherness. But this only so if those keeping us company are friends in virtuous progress and not in sin. That is, if our objective of being friends or meeting is not originally to commit sin. Someone planning to sin would long for extra freedom and would always be on a qui vive to ensure no one is watching. I needn’t provide evidence to prove that people find it more comfortable to perpetuate heinous crimes such as larceny, suicide, rape, murder and even cyber-crimes in corners and in the dark.
Furthermore, sin is very addictive. It comes in tit-bits, proposing the small versions of a bigger sin first, pulling you to its den, gradually and gradually, poco-a-poco. And once you’re inside, there is hardly an escape, for addiction is a room with no doors. To break out requires great effort. A murderer today must have been an assaulter yesterday. An armed robber today must have started as a pickpocket. And someone who fornicates must have started as a patroniser of pornography. Hence, it is indisputable that little sins are bread-crumbs that eventually lead to the great ones.
Apart from these, another of ‘sinal’ behaviours is that it is expensive. Never is it free. For a man to indulge in amoral things, he will unavoidably have to forfeit some of his most precious possessions. It may be his intelligence, money, health, reputation, family & friends or time, the only product that cannot be recycled if wasted. It is for this reason that veritable sinners live the most miserable lives. They are often not okay financially, medically, socially, academically and psychologically. Many would, as a result of addiction to a particular sin, resort to stealing, substance and human abuse just to satisfy they amoral urge.
Lastly, sin often appears in a facade. It is not usually advertised as what it really is, but rather as a contest, entertainment, fashion, pastime, freedom/right etc. In essence, pornography and gambling are disguised as contests, music as entertainment, substance abuse(alcoholism and smoking) as pastime and gaiety, lesbianism & indiscriminate abortion are masqueraded as fundamental rights. In order to promote evil and make money, it is dressed up by a set of people as something not pernicious. Consequently, people realise too late the implication of what they have gotten themselves into.
At this juncture, I will attempt to discuss the cures, panaceas and possible remedies to the scourge of sin. Although, we cannot achieve a state of ‘sinlessness’, we can at least strive to make efforts towards a considerable decline in it.
Firstly, we must identify what is sin and what is not. Very few are incapable of discerning between right and wrong. However, the problem most people have is accepting a sinful deed as evil and unworthy of indulgence. We find it hard to do this because of the gain and pleasure we get from it. Apart from this, some people erroneously categorise some sins as small and immaterial. Hence, one of the first things we must do is to evaluate and correct our mentality towards some sins, making sure we use the scriptures as our yardstick. As I always say, the right mentality begets a good personality and a good personality gives rise to a great society.
Then, we should maintain a close propinquity with religious gatherings and righteous people. This will assist us in the remembrance of God and prevent us from considering committing sin. This is the case only when our attendance at religious programmes is done solely to gain knowledge, increase in piety and remind oneself of the content of the scriptures. It is disheartening that many who go to mosques and churches today, go for reasons such as charging of phones, meeting of friends, flirting, feeding the eyes or because others are going and we do not want to be left at home. Equally important are the acquaintances we keep. A person aiming at improving his spiritual life cannot do it alone. He must seek the advice, company and succour of others with similar aims.
In the same vein, one must avoid going to dishonourable places such as beer parlours, gambling joints (aka. Baba ijebu), music concerts, queer houses etc. Bad companies must also not be kept. It is a factual reality that one’s friends will always have impact, whether positively or negatively, on us. They will either make or mar us. It is therefore very vital that we make meticulous and felicitous selections of our friends.
John Green once wrote that ‘some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom most people find sin.’ Hence , an avoidance of isolation, privacy and excessive freedom is important as these are the fertilisers with which a sinful soul can easily grow. This can be achieved by having room-mate(s) at home and in school, never being on the net in an extremely private area, not inviting strangers & someone of the opposite sex into a deserted place & not accepting such invitations, and of course endeavouring to enter into a valid marital contract as early as possible.
There is an old saying that ‘Idleness is the beginning of all vices’ and that ‘idleness is the devil’s handy work’. Even Walter S. Gaston once said that ‘the real source of almost all our crimes, if the trouble is taken to trace them to a common origin, will be found to be in idleness’. It is apparent from these that idleness is very harmful, and must be shunned at all cost. This should go hand in hand with not giving procrastination room in our daily activities. Whenever, we feel like doing something productive and rewarding, we should do it with utmost alacrity.
Furthermore, it is usually helpful if one openly preaches against an act one intends to desist from. No one wants to be caught doing what he boldly advises others not to, as it would amount to being labelled as inconsistent. If you want others to accept your advice, personally follow it and if you want to follow an advice, preach it to others.

… (contd.)