I believe that sin has saved my life. Please hear me through before tuning me out. I’m a Mormon. And with my faith comes rules to live my life by. These are often known as commandments. Many of which are practiced by most Christian faiths. Don’t murder, commit adultery, steal, or take the lords’ name in vain. We also practice the Word of Wisdom, a set of guidelines to aid us in healthy living.
Recently my wife has gone back to school, which has reduced our families’ income base. To compensate this loss in income I have taken on a second job, a paper route. I wake up each morning at 10 to 3 and am usually on the road by 20 after. I pick up my bundle of 150 papers and drive the 85 mile long route. If all goes well I’m done by 6:15 and back at home by 6:25. I then wake up my 2 kids, Eden and Noah, and get them ready for school. By 7:05 we are headed out of the house to catch the bus. By 7:45 I’m at work and should be home by about 6:00. Again if all goes well, I try to be to bed by 9:00. The whole thing goes on day in and day out. Did I mention I’m a banker? Sorry for all the numbers but that is just how I think.
In my faith, family is held as a very important aspect. A well provided for family is held as a measure of great accomplishment. By provided for I mean many things none of which implies riches. We are comfortable but by no means rich. One thing I am though is tired. I get maybe 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night. I feel I do a lot to make things work for my family during these temporary (hopefully) financial struggles.
Getting in a car wreck has been on my mind a lot, and for good reasons. I have nearly run off the road many times in the morning due to the lack of adequate rest. Now I don’t particularly feel like dying at the moment, but still need the few dollars I make from the paper route. So I’ve tried to get creative to stay alive. Loud music did not do the trick, nor did candy, soda pop or a number of other home remedies. After nearly rolling my car or running into trees countless times I got desperate and turned to coffee. Bingo, it did the trick, I found the antidote that would keep me alive and my family with me for years to come. But there is a catch. Coffee is against the word of wisdom. By drinking it I have broken a commandment and sinned. What would my wife, fellow church member, or even worse, God think? I was in dangerous waters; this is truly forbidden as a practicing Mormon. What was I to do?
I did what anyone could do. I asked God himself if it is ok for me to drink coffee for the purpose of prolonging my life. I’m still waiting for an answer. I guess there are more pressing issues for the big guy to handle for the time being. So in the words of Homer Simpson, “God, if you want me to eat this donut, give me no sign.”, am I left to follow.
So I ask myself why do we sin or do bad things. Maybe it is because we are only human and have weaknesses. Perhaps, we are selfish and don’t care whom we may harm. Possibly we are oblivious to the crime we are committing. In my case the sin, even as silly as mine must sound, that I’m committing is to keep me alive.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.