"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it"
Maybe you recognize this expression, maybe you don't. My eyes are open to it almost as if I had never heard it before, and yet I know I've read it countless times. It is God's injunction to Cain, his warning immediately before Cain kills his brother. The Old Testament Creator warns Cain in terms we all can understand, and yet do we ever pause to think about what this means in our own lives?
Perhaps I thought God was telling Cain about Satan, or the serpent, or some exterior force, warning Cain not to do what God knew he would do anyway. Let me be presumptious, I think God was talking about ego (and free will,) and I don't mean Freudian notions of ego; I think God is talking about our distorted projections of self--in fact the sin crouching at our doors is the very thing I've unsuccessfully wrestled with my entire life. In trying to do good, I again and again gave in to my opponent, my ego, my perverse view of who I am. Oh, I stood for this or that, but what I did and what I failed to do emanated from my failure to wrestle my darker angel, my opponent, my ego, myself.
When I embraced the notion of the "criminal under my own hat," I was trying to accept a judgment of myself that I heard from the outside. I knew that I was undertaking a journey, but I did not relaize that this journey would actually bring me within sight of a real self-awareness, or that the self-awareness would be so painful. Oh, I suspected the legal and disciplinary outcomes would be painful--but, that the genuine insight into who I am would cause me to flinch, Wow. I am shaken to my core. And as I look around, people that I reflexively dismissed as clueless and probabaly not worth the time of day, they turn out to be the ones that have the most insight. Who am I becoming? I'm scared, but give me time.