You're a Sinner…and a Saint

I believe that within each of us there is a sinner and a saint. In many ways, it is like the legend of the two wolves.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.

“A fight is raging within my soul,” he told the boy. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves.

“One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

“The one you feed,” replied the chief.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

As someone who struggles with depression, my mind has the propensity to drag me down. Every day, I have to make conscience decisions to give energy and strength to the saint in my soul. Part of that means that I try to take in positive things: I watch a lot of comedies, listen to a ton of uplifting material and try to listen to soothing, inspirational music.

The other part of that means that I try to stay involved in good causes: I try to stay active in my faith, I exercise, I work with a lot of non-profits, and I do my best to serve other people.

But I still struggle…quite a bit. Oftentimes, the sinner in me is much stronger than the saint—and he doesn’t fight fair.

I imagine that I’ll struggle with the sinner in me for the rest of my life. But I’ve made my peace with that. We live in a fallen world—there will never be a time when we don’t have to deal with weeds.

In talking about this with my former boss, Jeevan, he shared this insight with me:

We are all sinners and saints in the sense that every human has qualities that are admirable and others that are less desirable. No one (ourselves included) can be considered “ideal” in any way because to be human is to be flawed. So no one has the moral high ground to judge another. Instead, we should aim to embrace that which is good and positive in others and spare as little energy as possible on the negatives. (Source: Five Lessons from Five Colleagues)

And so I encourage you to serve the saint in your soul by embracing that which is good.

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Seth Adam Smith

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  • We do indeed have a ‘sinner’ and a ‘saint’ within us. We were all created in God’s image (saint) so we have the propensity to do great things for our fellow man. Yet, we have each inherited a sin nature so we also have the propensity to dispense great harm on ourselves and others.