One of the frustrations any priest must feel is seeing and hearing people’s response to sin.
On the one hand we have the sinner who doesn’t think he has ever done anything wrong, is totally unaware of the things that he should have done and has never thought of doing and trips blithely along the gradual downward path never giving a thought to sin at all.
There are a lot of those.
But on the other hand are those who, if not exactly scrupulous, are not so much concerned about their sin as they are their self esteem. They’ve done something wrong that they are ashamed of. In other words, they don’t really feel bad about the sin, they feel bad about themselves because they’ve done something dirty.
Then there are those who feel guilty about their sin. They simply feel guilty for doing wrong because someone told them somewhere along the line that what they were doing was something called a SIN and SIN was bad and they shouldn’t do it. Period. End of story.
What is needed to truly inform our consciences is a clear and honest understanding about sin and what sin is and why it is bad.
Very simply: sin is bad because it hurts people.
I’ll say it again. Sin is bad because it hurts people. Some time ago I wrote this post explaining how and why the seven deadly sins lead, ultimately to violence.
Sin hurts people because it destroys their main chance of happiness (or someone else’s happiness) in this life. Take, for example, all the sexual sins. You know the whole long list: adultery, fornication, pornography, prostitution, promiscuity, etc. etc. These things undermine and destroy either marriage or a person’s capacity for true, lasting, loving marriage, and a good marriage–as fragile as it is–is the best chance we have of real happiness in this life.
It is the same with every sin. It’s wrong not just because some men in red robes in Rome decided that its wrong. Its not even wrong because God said its wrong.
They all said its wrong because it hurts people.
The problem is that Satan has dressed up to whore as a pretty girl. He’s sugared the poison and offers us the Turkish Delight, and its hard to resist.
Furthermore, Satan’s whole world system is designed to lie to us about sin, trick us, blind us and lure us away while we’re still unaware of what he’s doing.
Which brings me to Satan. He is real and if you are one of the baptized, he hates you. He wants to devour you. So be on your guard.