The original meaning of sin was simply to fall short of or "miss the mark" of spiritual perfection. A sin is not a thing, it is merely an activity that produces an undesirable effect in our lives. In other words, we are punished by our sins, not for them.
(From the United Church of Religious Science website)
Ignorance is a sin. I know I am suffering from it. Sometimes I even acknowledge it. But often I find I am attacked for having this condition, rather than recieving any compassion. At least I am aware of my ignorance, and sometimes able to be aware of the ignorance in the person attacking me (because attacking an ignorant person is ignorance! If you really knew someone was ignorant, you would have compassion for them, unless you were evil!)
We adopted a puppy eight weeks ago. We have never had a dog before. We thought now was a good time because we have the space (half an acre) and getting it while the kids were young would truly make it part of the family.
We spent a lot of money on a crate, blanket, toys, collar, leash, having vaccinations, de-worming, and buying the 'best' dog food from the vet. We have been keeping 'Bongo' on the deck and the fenced area below, because the rest of our yard doesn't have a fence yet. He was mostly inside when we first got him, but was peeing everywhere including his bed (even after being outside for half an hour- he would come in and pee on his bed immediately!) With four kids I couldn't keep on top of it, so we decided to postpone it until he has been neutered next month.
He does bark outside, but when we moved in, before we had a dog, our neighbour's two dogs would bark all night long. It drove us crazy until we got used to it. So we figured no-one would mind about Bongo! They bark at each other, appearing to have conversations.
Bongo has not yet had all his vaccinations, and we have been advised by the vet not to take him for walks until the course of vaccinations is complete. But we know this is only a temporary thing.
Imagine our surprise to receive an anonymous letter yesterday signed 'several families in the neighbourhood,' accusing us of dog abuse! This letter said we were neglecting our dog by not giving it any attention or taking it for walks, and allowing it to bark in the night.
We were shocked. I immediately went to two different neighbours to find out who had sent it, in the hopes of discussing it like a good neighbour (not a coward who sends cruel anonymous letters!) One was not home, the other denied knowing anything about it. I explained, regardless, that we had only had the dog eight weeks, it did not have all its shots, and we were planning on keeping him inside when he had been neutered.
The neighbours I spoke to have two dogs in a small fenced area that are able to go in and out of their garage through a dog flap. They bark in the night frequently and I have never seen them taken for walks.
On the other side, the neighbour has a dog but no fence. This dog stays inside most of the time (I assume, because I don't see it) except for when it is allowed to wander all over the neighbourhood, pooping in other people's yards (including ours!) We have seen the owner sometimes take the dog for a proper walk, and watched him allow his dog to poop on other front yards without scooping it!
We have no neighbours behind us, so I can only assume one of these two dog owners sent us the letter accusing us of neglect.
The mind boggles.
It reminds me of the many times childless strangers have made comments to me about my children in public places. Once, in the Army and Navy, a woman told me I wasn't keeping close enough to my kids who were buckled in to a double stroller. She grabbed the stroller and pulled it towards me. I didn't have a chance to explain that the aisle was too narrow and once the girls were in arm's length they would grab everything off the rails.
Goddess help me to remember, if I see someone appearing to neglect their kids or dog, to act in a kind and compassionate manner!