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Sin (Guilt and Self-Condemnation and God's Love)

Quotes of the Day for September 2, 2021 – Thoughts on reclaiming and/or dwelling on sin

“St. Paul describes the power of sin (the law of sin) in his life. He acknowledges there is a spiritual warfare going on in his heart and mind over which he is not in full control. It is a spiritual battle that wearies him, and yet he finds strength and comfort in Jesus Christ our Lord. It is an amazingly honest comment from St. Paul who sometimes gives us the impression that once baptized as a Christian, sin should have no more power in our lives. It is acknowledgement that the struggle with sin is lifelong and even the spiritual champion suffers wounds and defeats at times.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“…we will be tempted to fall back into sinful ways, “as when a dog returns to his own vomit and becomes despicable” (Prv 26:11). We may become mentally preoccupied by the sins that imprisoned us in the past. This mental process is partly involuntary, since former sins tend to cling, so we must take care that we oppose the lure of those sins we have formerly confessed. If we keep going over our past sins, it will surely divert us from giving to and caring for others.” (Dynamis 9/2/2021)

“You cannot think too seriously about your sins, but you can think too exclusively about them.” (Henry Schultze)

“It’s been my experience that love and forgiveness of something we did very wrong, something we did in our sinfulness to really hurt someone or many others, is difficult to accept. Even if we have confessed it and received forgiveness from the other person or persons, there is a temptation to cling to our guilt. Due to the virus of sin in us it is actually easier to do this because, in a strange way, it makes us feel better. Unconsciously we feel like a good person or a better person because we feel guilty about the bad thing we did. The problem with this is that it is a trap of the enemy. Guilt is useful to convict us of our sin and wrong doing, but lingering guilt after confession and forgiveness is simply debilitating. It clouds our spiritual perception and keeps us from accepting God’s love and forgiveness. We stunt our spiritual growth. Sin is a spiritual virus. No one in their right mind would try to reclaim a physical viral infection once healed of it. We need to think of and treat the virus of sin in the same manner.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“The sum of your sins does not surpass the magnitude of God’s mercies. Your wounds are not beyond the healing skill of the great Physician.” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)

“God’s love for the biggest sinner is greater than the love of the holiest man for God…Our sins can never overpower or exhaust God. If that were possible, He would not be God. If you believe that God can’t forgive you, you’re worshipping an idol and not the God of the Church or the Scriptures.” (Elder Arsenie Boca of Romania, Father Barnabas Powell)

“Remembering a sin we have committed does not mean that the sin has not been forgiven. This remembrance of our sins is only a warning to us lest we become proud and sin again…Forgiveness is both an event and a process….It is not enough to forgive others. We must also learn to forgive ourselves—and to accept the gift of God’s forgiveness… Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves and others…” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Ken Sande, Steve Stephens and Alice Gray , David Stoop)

“…idealists and perfectionists, and many of them feel guilty and sinful simply for having is helpful to affirm for them that God understands and loves them. It is also helpful to reaffirm that all of us who share flesh, share temptation. Christ became man to share even these temptations and to save us…While it is sometimes good to be intense and this arena it is destructive. It leads to feelings of isolation and self-condemnation. I challenge those who fall into this to consider what is fair: Is it fair to judge yourself more harshly…? Is it reasonable to judge yourself instead of accepting God’s mercy and love? People need to understand that such self-condemnation is pride, and that we are taking God’s place in judging. In situations like this, a call to repent (change one’s mind) is a welcomed one.” (Fr. John Abdalah)

“Sin that we confess but still hold onto to guilt about it can torment us to no end. We can delude ourselves that God does not love us and suffer needlessly…Through sin, man becomes mad, insane. Every sin, even the most seemingly insignificant one, is always an insanity of the soul. Through repentance, man comes to his senses, becomes complete again, comes to himself.” (Sacramental Living Ministries, Venerable Justin of Chelije in Serbia)

“...sin is something that prevents us from loving God fully, not something that prevents God from loving us fully. This difference of focus is often the difference between a relationship with God that breeds a truly contrite heart in which self-forgiveness is possible, or an unhealthy fear of God that breeds a lingering self-condemnation that mistakenly creates a mindset that “God can’t possibly love me” which is the farthest thing from the truth.” (Sacramental Living)

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