Is it possible to overcome sin? It doesn’t seem possible, but in this episode Jeff brings in words from the saints and from Scripture to help us understand sin better so that we can work to overcome it. Find out what you need in order to avoid sin and strive for holiness.
Snippet from the Show
When we hear the Gospel, we gain a sensitivity to sin.
Rom 3:23 “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
James 1:13-15 ” Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.’”
St. Pope John Paul II helps us understand sin a bit more!
“Sin is a product of man’s freedom & sin does not acknowledge God’s sovereignty” (Reconciliation and Penance, No. 14)
“Sin is not merely to deny God. To sin is also to live as if he did not exist, to eliminate him from one’s daily life. (Reconciliation and Penance, No. 18)
“As a rupture with God, sin is an act of disobedience by a creature who rejects, at least implicitly, the very one from whom he came and who sustains him in life. It is therefore a suicidal act. Since by sinning man refuses to submit to God, his internal balance is also destroyed, and it is precisely within himself that contradictions and conflicts arise.” (Reconciliation and Penance, No. 15)
“As a personal act, sin has its first and most important consequences in the sinner himself: that is, in his relationship with God, who is the very foundation of human life; and also in his spirit, weakening his will and clouding his intellect.” (Reconciliation and Penance, No. 16)
The Sensitivity to Sin
Pope Pius XII said, “the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin” (no. 18).
“When the conscience is weakened the sense of God is also obscured, and as a result, with the loss of this decisive inner point of reference, the sense of sin is lost.”
What should we do when sin stalks us?
1. Paul told Timothy to “flee from youthful desires.” “So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22).
2. If we fail and sin, we must repent, go to confession, and do penance.
What if we don’t repent? A habit forms. We face God’s punishment.
3. The punishment is the attraction the sin exercises upon us. In other words, the punishment becomes the pleasure we experience, resulting in a desire for more and, ultimately, addiction we are caught.
4. Suddenly, everything is backward. Evil becomes our good, making it very, very difficult to repent, because repentance is turning from evil. But now you will be turning from what is redefined in your heart as good. Trapped, defeated, and slowly dying.
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”
5. Eventually, God removes your restraints and turns you over to your passions.
“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct (Rom 1:24-28).
6. We often think of punishment as a hammer from heaven, but punishment is far worse than a hammer. God shows mercy in the midst of our addictions. A car wreck, a lost job, a wife who discovers your pornography and is crushed. These are the wake-up calls that we often associate with punishment. It is God’s mercy, his divine intervention. It’s a heavenly flare so you can see yourself for who you really are and clearly see your dire circumstances.
Five Essentials to Overcome Sin
1. The need for humility
Pr 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
2. The need for insight
Ps 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” St. Jerome.
3. The need for a model: Jesus
4. The need for wisdom
“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom” Pr 9:10
5. The need for power to overcome. Confirmation, Confession
Sirach 5:5 “Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin.”
Prudence: The Charioteer of the virtues!
CCC 1806 “Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.” “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is called “the charioteer of the virtues”; it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure…The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue, we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.”