"To Err is Human"
“To Err is Human”
By Paul R. Blake
British author, Alexander Pope, wrote the often quoted, “To err is human, to forgive, Divine” in his 1711 Essay on Criticism. Contemporary public figures and the news media that covers their lives have adjusted Pope’s statement to read, “To err is understandable; to admit it is unlikely.” Political, entertainment, and sports personalities engage in alley cat immorality and spend countless resources to keep it hidden from our eyes and ears. They engage in a dance of discovery and denial that fascinates the shallow minded and discourages the righteous remnant left in this nation. And then when the media inevitably exposes the tawdry details of their indiscretions, the press defends their sins and gives them absolution. They tell us why we should forgive, forget, and fawn all over them again. From Bill Clinton to Lance Armstrong to Bill O’Reilly, we are expected to embrace the immoral without condemning the sin, without requiring an admission of wrong, and without humble works that demonstrate sorrow for the sin. The return of Tiger Woods to golf at the Masters after years of fornication and lying is being covered by the sports press as if it were the second coming of the Lord. Shame on all of them!
To err is human; to be forgiven, one must truly repent. Just because society gives sin a pass doesn’t mean the scriptures do. Sometimes misguided family members, friends, and even brethren who love us, may overlook our un-repented sins, but they do so to the increased risk of us being eternally lost. The only way to be certain our sins are fully dealt with is to cleanse them God’s way. Only then can we rest in the comfortable state of peace with God, man, and ourselves.
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1John 1:5 - 2:2).
Sweet Siren Song
By Krystal Dunlap
We have Sirens among us. I have seen them myself. These enticing creatures clothe themselves in green and colorful decorations. They sweetly call to me when I come near, using charm and innocence to draw me in. Resisting their offerings becomes increasingly difficult as I linger. I am tempted to listen to their happy words and succumb to the requests that they so charmingly make. I am speaking of the siren song of the Girl Scouts. As one who cannot partake of sugar, these young women are a source of true temptation for me. Their wares seem so harmless held within pure hands. In the presence of these sincere children and their enticing goods, I am weak. Knowing my frailty of will, I must kindly decline their call and quickly flee from their presence.
Hopefully my humor is apparent. I admire the wonderful work of these young ladies. The cookies that they sell were once a good thing that I anticipated. It is solely the frailty of my physical body that has created a division between the confections of these sweet children and myself.
Though rather tongue-in-cheek, this scenario can be likened to temptations that we each face. Sin is indeed enticing, drawing us in using our own desire (James 1:14-15). As humans, we all suffer from its call. Unfortunately, we will fail to resist it at times. Despite what we may mentally wish to do, we will still find ourselves succumbing to our weak physical nature (Matt.26:41). It is essential that we personally recognize this. As I am with those cookies, we must be conscious of any spiritual temptations that may try to charm us. This self-awareness should motivate us to do all we can to flee the presence of such allurements (Gen.39:11-12). Though it may mean sacrifice, it is essential for our spiritual health to avoid the siren call of sin. After all, no current worldly pleasure would ever outweigh the eternal joy we will have with God if we remain strong in the face of temptation (Mark 9:43-47).
The Universal Prayer (1738)
By Alexander Pope
Thou Great First Cause, least understood
Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that Thou art good
And that myself am blind.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume Thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land
On each I judge Thy foe.
If I am right, Thy grace import
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, oh teach my heart
To find that better way!
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To right the fault I see;
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
The Dying Christian to His Soul (1712)
By Alexander Pope
Vital spark of heav'nly flame!
Quit, oh quit, this mortal frame:
Trembling, hoping, ling'ring, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying!
Hark! They whisper; angels say,
Fellow spirit, come away!
Tell me, my soul, can this be death?
The world recedes; it disappears!
Heav'n opens on my eyes! My ears
With sounds seraphic ring!
Lend, lend your wings! I mount! I fly!
O grave! Where is thy victory?
O death! Where is thy sting?