The understanding of the difference between crime and sin is useful for positive living. In the absence of it, most of us often question the fairness of God and tend to follow the path of evil. I have done some contemplation on this subject, which I am sharing here. Like any other living creature, the human being is also a product of Nature. But man is unique in the sense that he has been endowed with the power of thinking as well as discrimination. With the help of these two powerful tools, he can make himself either a saint or a devil, depending upon their use. Nature expects him to use these powers in a positive manner and if he does so, he becomes a virtuous person. On the contrary, negative use of these powers makes him a sinful person. Thus, when we break a Nature-made or, in other words, God-made law we commit a sin. For example, God expects us to love each other and if one hates others, he commits a sin. Similarly, when we hurt others, lose our temper, boost our ego, don't help a person in trouble, etc., we break the law of Nature and commit a sin.
Nature has a perfect arrangement for punishing sin and rewarding virtue. No external agency is required to do this job. When we practice virtue, the inner joy obtained as a result of the same is in itself a great reward. It changes our body chemistry in such a manner that there is an overall positive effect on our body, mind, intellect and spirit. There may not be any monetary evaluation for this reward, but we get priceless joy. Similarly, when we commit a sin there is a change in our body chemistry, which brings negative effect on our body, mind, intellect and spirit. In this case, there is loss of joy, which again cannot be measured in monetary terms. In this way, being virtuous is in itself our reward. Someone has very rightly said: â€œWe are not punished for our sins, but by our sins.
A wise person will therefore be virtuous by choice and not by compulsion. It is also true that this law of Nature never fails. On the other hand, crime is a violation of man-made laws. Man being a social entity, has to follow some man-made laws for the smooth running of the society. Better the compliance of these laws, more civilised will the society be. For this, there is a provision of reward and punishment through the judicial administrative process. Quite often justice is not administered correctly due to various reasons and many criminals don't get punished. In such a situation, most of us blame God and feel that He is not judicious.
In order to forego this impression, we shall have to understand that all crimes are not sins and similarly all sins may not necessarily be crimes. God punishes us only for our sins and if a crime falls in the category of sin also, it would certainly be punished by Nature. But, if a crime does not fall in the category of sin, Nature will not punish us and the punishment has to be imparted by society only. In that case, it is a human failure for which God cannot be blamed, as He has already equipped us with the power of intelligence and discrimination. Therefore, we all should live in accordance with the laws of Nature as well as of the society so that we commit neither a sin nor a crime.
Rakesh Mittal I A S