Growing up, I have always loved mythology: stories of great Gods, beings, and animals neither benevolent nor malevolent and yet controlling the world. One of the main characters in Greek mythology is Zeus, the god of the sky and ruler of the other gods, who punished the people who outsmarted him or did not submit to his iron fist. This punishment could be just if Zeus was not a terrible being, but he was, and this is demonstrated in the story of the Greek king Sisyphus. Sisyphus tricked the gods and chained the death god, Thanatos, for which Zeus punished him by forcing him to roll a boulder up a hill. However, every time that boulder reached the top, it toppled back down again.
I often feel this way in my own walk of faith. Each day I wake up and try not to sin, to follow God, and to walk in the love that he has shown me. Then, like Sisyphus, I fail every day. I failed yesterday, today—and tomorrow I know I will fail again. It gets exhausting, to fail every single day; and at some points, it can feel like our God, Yahweh is a lot like Zeus—it feels like a punishment to have this weight of sin on my shoulders and never be able to fully accomplish the task that was set before me, of becoming more like Jesus and removing the chains of sin in my life.
Really, it was not until I felt completely drained recently that I had a revelation that broke down my feeling like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a hill. We were made to rest. Jesus testifies to this in Matthew 11:28 saying “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This rest, I believe, is a rest of the mind. This boulder of sin often seems so big and heavy because we make it that way. It can be our guilt, our shame, or how we view ourselves because of our shortcomings, but God tells us to rest our minds. Our worry about our future, and our current failure is fruitless because God is in control.
Firstly, our sin has been removed “as far as the East is from the West” (Psalm 103:12 ESV). Secondly, we do not have to do this alone as “the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 ESV). God promised to walk alongside us and help us push the boulder, to let go of sin and look to the freedom in life that God set before us.
We were never made to push the weight of sin ourselves, and as Christians, we choose to when we take the weight of sin on our shoulders, but Jesus already has it on the cross. God promises to help us remove the weight of sin and shame because of his love.
Ethan Hooper is a sophomore in Kirkland House studying psychology and government