We are all sinners, in one way or another. As imperfect humans we can slip from time to time; that is a given. Peter slipped big time, various times, with perhaps the worst coming after he had stumbled previously. Often, our slips take on a pattern. There are certain “weak spots” we each have. With little thought, we can identify these danger areas, and try to avoid them. For some it is not telling the truth; for others it is seeing money as some sort of god. Still others are weak to the temptations of the flesh, while others seem to be resentful, selfish, or oblivious to the pain of others. Whatever your particular weak areas, it is obvious that one of your tasks is to progressively reduce and hopefully eventually eliminate your slips in those areas.
I do not pretend to compare sin with smoking, but there is some point of comparison there. I have never smoked, but I know many people who do, and some of these have tried to stop, with varying results. It seems to me that the first step toward quitting anything harmful is to actually find it harmful, to dislike the impact that act has on your life, and on you as a person. If you think smoking is cool, or you find that smoking helps you relax, it seems that it would be much harder to stop smoking. The eventual negative, terrible as it can be, is outweighed by the immediate positive.
Sin has a devastating eventual negative, and can have an equally harmful immediate negative as well but, if one perceives the immediate “positive” as strong or attractive enough, there will be far less motivation to stop or reduce a sinful pattern.
We all fall; we all need forgiveness, far too often. We all benefit from having such a loving and merciful Judge. However, loving and merciful does not mean oblivious to our sin. We must constantly reaffirm the devastating long-term cost of sin ( perdition) and just as constantly cultivate and relish the closeness and comfort of having a good relationship with God. We must love God so much that we come to feel empty after sin, remorseful of the distance that sin creates between God and ourselves. Despite the obvious eternal devastation of sin, we must feel an immediate pain as well. It is not enough to avoid, dislike, or fear sin because of that eternal devastation. We must come to detest, to abhor, to feel the emptiness of sin’s broken promises. Sin is often the quick fix, the alluring distraction, the convenient aside, which pulls us away from serving God. We must come to see sin as something so detestable, so vile, that we can barely stand it. The faster the emptiness, the disgust, the discomfort, we feel after sin, the greater the motivation we will have to do what we can, all we can, to reduce and, hopefully, eventually, eliminate the sinful pattern from our lives.
We should detest sin so much that, after falling, we must feel an urgency to confess that sin. People who sin often without concern or even discomfort are planting the seeds of persistent, increasingly easy sin which, with time, will distort the cost-benefit of sin itself. Such people will see the superficial allure of sin as a “positive” , and any negative feelings regarding sin will melt away, causing the immediate allure of sin to repeatedly and often overshadow the perceived non-existent immediate and, eventually, long-term harm of sin.
In summary, if our relationship with God matters to us, we will feel great discomfort whenever that relationship is harmed or distorted. That great discomfort, then should cause us to feel almost immediate distaste for sin. We all sin, and we will continue to do so, but if we detest sin so much that we cannot stand to be apart from God for even a day or two, we will reduce our sin and, when we fall, we will immediately and as soon as possible rush back to Our Lord again. If God is what matters the most in your life, then you will feel empty and lost without Him, and you will not tolerate a sinful state for any considerable length of time. Our so-called progressive society preaches tolerance as a good and intolerance as an evil. Ironically, this society tolerates too much. If being close to God is what matters the most to us, we will always be “intolerant” of sin, and literally hate the feeling we have when we have fallen. In this case, feeling empty after sin means we are full of love for God, which is the first step toward solidifying our relationship with our Master.
Copyright, 2012 Gabriel Garnica