How to Sin and Get Away With It

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding How to Sin and Get Away With It


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    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    Okay, obviously this title is not an instruction manual, but a tongue-in-cheek thing.

    I’ll explain.
    The idea is: when we go off and do this stuff we always think we’re being so sneaky and clever, but in reality, our excuses are nothing new at all.  Like in our mind we think we’re getting away with something, when our rationalizations are actually pretty transparent. (Hence the satirical title.)

    The purpose of this topic is to brainstorm what some of these main excuses are.

    For instance, the Bible clearly says XYZ, but we justify it in our minds like “well, it doesn’t really mean that…” Yet, that exact same rationalization is found in Satan’s first recorded words in Genesis 3:1 “Did God reeeeeeally say that?”

    I’m hoping that by doing this:
    A) In the spirit of this forum, so we can “get into our characters’ heads” and come up with relatable ways for them to try to rationalize their actions
    B) In our real lives, maybe if we recognize when we are doing some of these things, it can be a red flag that, “hey, whatever this is, I probably ought to knock it off”

    What do you think?  What are some of the tactics we use, thinking we will “get away with it”?

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.


    To my own personal knowledge of myself, I’m not aware that I do this.  Unless doing a more favorable activity instead of homework in order to destress before getting into homework counts?

    My characters, on the other hand, do this with relative frequency.  I could go into detail with several of them but for now I’ll try to briefly explain a few.

    Jericho is the last of an elite order of immortal soldiers, the sole survivor of their extermination several years prior.  In the absence of these warriors an empire began conquering the surrounding lands.  [If this sounds like Star Wars, that’s because I decided part of the world’s lore involved Star Wars but told like Arabian Nights.]  Jericho refuses to directly confront or fight against this empire, instead training young magic-users to fight as proxies while she aids them from afar.  What she says is that if she got directly involved she’d be overwhelmed and killed and her proteges would only last so long after.  The truth in her mind is that she is a coward and is too terrified to face her former apprentice or the warrior that nearly killed her and murdered her master and friend in front of her.

    A more straightforward version of what you’re talking about would be my character Nadia, a minstrel in service to a very high-ranking family of nobles.  Officially she’s a minstrel but in reality she’s the paid companion of her mistress’s foster daughter Ada, who can’t speak.  Nadia, despite being of a different class, race, religion, and familial status (she’s an unknown orphan), has become smitten with the nephew of her mistress.  As she is in servitude to the family this is quite taboo for a multitude of reasons.  Nadia justifies it to herself in a multitude of ways; she denies herself her feelings first, and when she can no longer deny it she deludes herself that it doesn’t matter because she won’t act on it or allow it to affect her judgements.  She tries to persuade herself (and others, namely her close friend Simza) that it isn’t really wrong since she isn’t having an affair with him or anything, she just can’t help but notice how sweet and kind and handsome he is…
    Rather ironically, Simza had previously been in almost the exact same situation (her occupation and familial status are different than Nadia’s), so she immediately recognizes what is going on and how Nadia is trying to justify it to herself.  Actually in Simza’s case the feeling proved mutual and it was the nobleman’s active attempts to build a friendship with her that led to her falling in love, though their affair was kept secret.  In Simza’s case she justified it that he had sought her out, so it was not her fault, and she’d done nothing wrong.  After the man exited her life Simza had to come to terms with what she’d done, what with the deception and denial required to keep the relationship secret and the violation of ethics concerning her work.  [Nadia is unaware of all of this.]

    Do let me know if this is what you were talking about, I’m not sure I fully understood.  Sorry.

    "Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale

    Edmund Lloyd Fletcher

    That’s a good one @skylarynn .  In fact, I just read this morning about Gideon in the book of Judges.  After capturing the enemy king he’s trying to order this noobie soldier to execute the guy because he doesn’t want to.  In this case the other guy is too scared and he has to do it himself.

    Seems like the same kind of idea though – having other people do your dirtywork.

    Homeschooling father of 10, writing Christian action/adventure novels from my home high in the Rockies.

    Arindown (Gracie)


    This is a good idea.

    I think that most of what we try to hide is our pride, and I find that our culture (I’m guilty of this also) covers it up behind “Identity,” and “Expressing ourselves,” and “Being valued.”

    If I can justify my wrong actions because someone else mis-treated me, or because they don’t “value” me, it’s wrong. It’s also wrong if I think that I somehow “deserve” anything from anyone. Not that we shouldn’t value each other, but other’s, and our own, opinion of ourselves really doesn’t matter. It’s only God’s opinion of us that matters.

    My Main Character, Enan, struggles a lot with pride. He’s very talented, and is one of the best warriors from his country. He feels like he somehow deserves other’s respect. He needs his freedom, and his weapons, and his ideas. When his whole life crashes down around him, he loses everything…except his self-worth and pride.

    That’s when his friend and mentor Davis teaches Enan two important life concepts. One is the fact that we don’t deserve anything from anyone. The Master (God) was not somehow obliged to create Enan and to have him successful. The only reason Enan even exists is out of mercy, and just God’s pleasure of creating human beings.

    The other concept is the word, “Aya,” which pretty much means “doesn’t matter.” Davis uses it to refer to feelings and desires. If Enan is feeling angry, Davis will tell him “Aya,” it doesn’t matter whether he’s angry, he still needs to make the right decision. If he’s afraid, “Aya,” he still has to make the right choice.

    Eventually, of course, Enan has to face his own pride, and overcome it, embracing “Aya,” and self-denial for the good of those around him.

    "If I'm gonna break, I'll break like the dawn." -Nightbirde

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