I read recently that the price of realizing our own great potential is seeing ourselves as we actually are. This idea is at the heart of Christianity, as well as other spiritual traditions. It helps us understand the concept of sin. It also helps me understand Augustine and his references to sin. At first I thought he was talking about being bad and needing to be punished. Reading him again, I understand that he is really echoing the realization that I am not all I could be. He went from a judge to a teacher.
Augustine’s solution is faith in God, but not in the way many interpret him, especially his church. I think he means that God’s influence on our lives allows us to confront our fallibility. We need his presence and influence. We can’t just transform ourselves, but we can allow ourselves to be transformed by God.