how can i see my sins?
How to remove the blinders from our eyes so we can see
Satan’s entire purpose is to get us to lack contrition for our sins and die. He works hard to get us to commit sin; then, through various ways, he gets us to cover our sins (justify them), so we don’t see them. From there, he removes our understanding of what is sinful and the gravity of our offences, so we loose concern over them and perish into eternal doom.
If we don’t really understand this, then we won’t be alert looking for our offences… looking for the sins we have committed or the sins we have hidden and are trying to justify. Then, we will only see what is blatantly obvious, if even that, ignoring the rest of them. From there, we will live life being deceived with bounds of offences against God…loving sin and rejecting God.
Sure there are many sins we will never come to know… but the ones we refuse to see, the ones we love so much that we choose to remain blind to them, those are the ones that will kill us.
After reading this article, hopefully we will come to understand what many of those sins are. Then after becoming enlightened to the truth about our sinfulness, we can grow in true humility towards a saving faith.
But we must know, learning how to see isn’t easy, since we have spent our life time trying not to see to build up our pride. But his enlightenment will lead to the eradication of our sins and a true love for God.
If you now want to see your sins, you must have been humbled enough to gain that desire. That desire-to want to see our sinfulness–came from God through the virtue of humility. If we want to gain true self-knowledge–the self knowledge we need to gain true contrition for our sins–we need to gain more and more humility.
Humility is key to begin and end this race to Life. Therefore, any and all means we have to humble ourselves, we need to run to, not away from. This is the cure to our blinding pride that won’t allow us to see our sins nor accept God’s grace to remove them if we can recognize them.
We want humility.
Blessings of Self-Knowledge
When God fills us with enlightenment of our misery, we will come to understand just how merciful God has really been with us, most wretched sinners. We will never look at another sinner the same again once we come to know who we really are. All of the anger and frustrations we have towards others, when they offend us or others or even make a mistake, will leave.
Yes, once we decide we sincerely want to follow Christ and see the unfathomable mercy He has shed upon us, who are actually riddled with sin, then giving that same mercy to others (from us now allowing God’s grace to work through us, since we are humbled) will be EASY.
Yes, to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:41), will be effortless. Not that we won’t ever fall, but in general, we will have no problem loving those who are against us. We will not only want to do this; we will yearn to send grace (love), especially to those who have sought to harm us. Just like Christ has done for us.
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked [who are us]. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-35).
I tell you, once we stop thinking The Bible is written about some other “bad” person, and realize it is written for us…about us…yes, once we begin to really see how we are the “ungrateful and wicked” then we will allow God to change us.
Then when people treat us horribly, yell at us, and do all sorts of terrible things against us, from God’s grace, our hearts will only love them in return. Sure we might bear anger at the horrible sin, but not at the weak sinner.
If we allow God’s grace to work through us, we will understand their sinfulness–knowing it is from their lack of grace: lack of knowledge and/or strength to live the faith–and greatly desire to do good for them as we pray and do penance for their souls so, from our sacrifice, God can send the mercy they need to live the faith.
Honestly, when was the last time we did something good for someone who hurt us, insulted us, mistreated us…not because we were forced to, since it was our job, or because if we weren’t kind, we would suffer, but because we wanted to show them Christ’s love working through us? We wanted to love them the way Christ loves our sinful-selves. Oh, I’m not taking about praying and sacrificing for their soul…have we even been kind? Tragically, most of us are holding grudges and full of bad thoughts against those who have wronged us. We really need self-knowledge.
“Could anyone nourish anger [bad thoughts] against another and expect healing from the LORD? Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself [a sinner], can he seek pardon for his own sins [of course not]?…Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay [gain fear of the Lord], and cease from sin [without forgiveness of our sins there is no Eternal Life in Heaven]!” (Sirach 28:3-6)
Wonderfully, we will see a huge change in ourselves and how we think of others when we obtain true self-knowledge and grow in understanding of God’s great mercy upon us. The lack of peace we live with…the self-pity, negativity, bitterness, resentment, revenge, condemning of others…oh, all of our lack of true forgiveness that we have towards others will leave. And love and concern for our offender will envelop us. We will stop focusing on ourselves thinking “poor me”, but we will love them how Christ loves us. “Do not weep for me [I’m not the one who is going to suffer for all eternity], but weep for yourselves and for your children [who are in great need of mercy]” (Luke 23:28).
Therefore, get ready for God to change our lives through growing in true self-knowledge.
“The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire for the honor of God and the salvation of souls, begins by…remaining in the cell of self-knowledge [knowledge of her sinfulness], in order to know better the goodness of God towards her [understands His mercy]. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love, can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth.”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
Sin and Blindness
There is an interesting thing about sin. When we commit a grave sin but never repent of it, that evil eats away at our souls and darkens us to the understanding of what is truly right from wrong. This unrepentant sin/sins, darkens us, causing us to commit bounds of other (unknown) sins, as we grow in blinding pride believing what we are doing is in fact right.
Truly, what we think isn’t even sinful, could very well be one of our greatest sins…it could be one of our greatest offences that is keeping us from knowing, loving and serving God. This is the horrible reality of blinding pride. It causes such blindness, that what is killing us or others, we won’t perceive as even sinful, because of our lack of understanding of the Truth.
Oh, having blinding pride is a horribly scary disease of the soul. If we realize we have been deceived, and we wish to grow towards a saving faith, then we must acknowledge we have this problem (can’t correctly see), or we won’t ever be able to see the Truth from a lie.
But on top of that, did we know that any sin, even if our sin is venial, if we don’t repent of it, it is now grave. This is because, it is an abomination of love to not be sorry for offending God by any sin…even a venial one.
Therefore, all the sins we intentionally hide, obviously we aren’t repenting of them, and they are deadly mortal sins.
Yet with that said, the greater the offence against God that we don’t repent of–the more severe it is–the greater the consequences are: punishments that are due and blindness we will suffer from. To learn more please read, “Who Suffers the Most in Hell?”
Plus, if two people commit the same offence and don’t repent, they will be darkened differently… meaning, they will lose understanding of The Truth in a different manner, based on the other sins and virtues they have. For many of us, it can be very hard to learn what sins are ruining our faith. But we must learn how to see what is eating away at our souls, so we can seek Mercy to remove it or we will die.
Pride and Blindness
Now, there is an equally interesting thing about our pride. If our pride is great it won’t allow us to see the sins which are harming us, because we can’t bear to not be “right” or good. We don’t want to see the sin. This is why it is very hard for some of us to see.
But if our pride is crushed, then hopefully we can become humbled enough to be able to see (at least some sins). But yet, if we are enlightened to some of our sinfulness, our pride will convince us we are now able to see correctly, when we have only begun the journey. Oh, our pride…what a horrible thing it is!
Yet, even if we can come to see much of our failures to love God, if our pride isn’t crushed enough, along with having a great amount of Fear of the Lord, we won’t have the strength to leave the horrible sins we can now see, since we will love the sins and the pleasure/security/comfort they bring too much to suffer and sacrifice to leave them.
Therefore, we must come to hate our sins so much, knowing how they will send us to Eternal Doom, ruin our earthly lives and/or harm our Beloved Lord, that our hatred of sin causes us enough pain for us to want to leave the comfort/pleasure our sins bring, or we simply won’t reject them…our desire to love ourselves, with our sins, will be just too great. We must obtain enough hatred of the sin to be willing to suffer to leave it.
But until we are enlightened to our great sinfulness, we won’t even be able to see how we like our sins…we will swear we hate them, but that will be our deception speaking…not the truth.
This article doesn’t give us the initial humbling we need to begin to see, and it doesn’t give us greater faith (hatred for sin/love for God) we need either. Sure reading this article can help increase both, and it should, since great humility is gained from self-knowledge, but that isn’t the design/intention.
This article is written to help us bring to light what we have hidden in the dark, that is, if our pride has already been crushed enough to begin…that is, if we have been proven to not have the faith we thought we had, or if we know our sins have turned God’s face from us and He won’t help us (until we change), or if we know our sins are harming our lives and leading to our Eternal doom. Therefore, in order to have this article to have some effect upon us, we must have some fear of sinning from being humbled.
Removing the Blindness
If by God’s magnificent grace, we realize we can’t see many of our sins, then we know we are suffering from much blinding pride. But not to worry…coming to know we can’t see is the first step. Praise God for that blessing.
But if we have been humbled enough to have acquired the above prerequisites, great! Now, we can begin to see the sins that are damning our souls and harming our lives–the sins we love that we have been hiding.
To do this –we are going to need to learn how to ask ourselves WHY? Yes, we are going to need to learn how to understand why we do what we do (come to see the intentions of our hearts). Learning how to do this is of incredible valuable. It will help us uncover the lies we tell ourselves to keep us in the dark.
At first, it isn’t going to be easy to be honest with ourselves. We are going to have to break many bad habits or at least come to see we have them. But with time, coming to know why we do what we do, for the most part, will become easy.
For example: Let’s say a man has just become enlightened to the fact that he is suffering from pride, but sadly, he can’t see his pride. This is because he still doesn’t really know what pride looks like. I could write a book about the vast appearances of pride and that might help, but to really understand pride, we learn it by seeing it within ourselves. Yes, we can’t help another with their pride, if we can’t clearly recognize it living…thriving within our own sinful being.
“But how can we see what we can’t see,” you might ask? Well, that is done by learning how to ask WHY, which is discussed later. But before we start learning where our blinding pride is and why we do what we do, we need to know this takes time, based upon our and God’s will, but in general, it is a slow process. To learn more please read, “How Does Our Pride Kill Us?”
Sure some of us might have some understanding of what pride is, but for most, it is far from an understanding that will lead us into seeing our sins which are killing us. Some of us could even greatly understand the definition of pride, but we will be so used to lying to ourselves, telling ourselves that all we do is to love God, when God, who sees our actions in the light of reality, knows they are really still for self-love.
“All your ways may be straight in your own eyes, but it is the Lord who weighs hearts [knows the real truth].” (Proverbs 21:2).
Only until we learn how to sincerely ask ourselves WHY?, will we be able to really see. Therefore, because most of us still don’t know what pride is and/or we don’t know ourselves (why we do what we do), we will look for sin, but we won’t be able to see them.
We might think our pride is noticeable in all sorts of superficial things, like our clothes, tone of voice, mannerisms, and sure it could be in those things, but really the problem is mostly in our hearts.
Oh, but how can we see our heart (the sins that are within), when only God can read it’s true intentions. Well, we can never see our hearts in the true light of reality, but we can surely see it a lot more clearly than we currently do.
Once we learn how to be honest with ourselves, so to see the intentions of our hearts, we will more easily notice the outward things we do which directly links to the sin we can’t so easily see…and then come to see the inward things that will lead us to see the vast sins that lay hidden within.
Yet, sometime God won’t allow us to even see us a sin we are committing until He wills…and we might not even really know why we are doing it but we will know it is wrong.
What is God’s Law?
But before we learn how to see why we do what we do, we must first learn what is God’s law: what is good and what is bad.
Oh, this might seem crazy easy, but remember, if our faith isn’t what we thought it was, then we absolutely, without a doubt, don’t correctly understand something so simple as what is good vs. what is bad. Surprisingly, we are going to have to learn the “basic utterances of God.”
“Although you should be teachers by this time [from being deceived], you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food.” (Hebrews 5:121).
Yes, tragically, from being deceived, we won’t know much of the basics…even if we have lived the faith and studied it our entire lives. I know this can be rather humiliating, but being humiliated is good…if we embrace it. That is just one more way we can grow in humility….humility we need to be able to truly see.
The hardest part about learning God’s law is humbly accepting that we don’t know it. It is our arrogance that will prevent us from learning it correctly.
The blindness we suffer from, to the basic utterance of God, is a sad reality of the consequences that comes from unrepentant sin. Truly, we won’t know how to discern pride from humility or the truth from a lie (without great explanation)…and even then, we might lack the grace to understand. We will need to be trained from the beginning to discern good from evil.
“But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14).
Yes, distinguishing good from evil isn’t as easy as we might have thought.
But, if we simply refuse to believe that we don’t understand the basics, or we feel angered by this reality, or if we are embarrassed (don’t want others to know) that we have such little understanding of The Truth, then that is our pride getting in the way of our conversions. Remember, we don’t just want to convert a little, we want to convert all the way to sanctity. And we need great humility to do that.
Therefore, please don’t allow the evil one to place these stumbling blocks in front of us…ask God to bring true humility into our hearts, so we can become open to learning true The Way to Life. To learn more please read, “How Can I Gain Humility?”
However, after we humbly learn God’s law of love, at least better than what we understand now, we will begin to see what we are doing wrong. This will allow us to see our blaring offences against God’s law. From there we will learn how to see our more hidden offences…again, which will be done by honestly asking ourselves WHY we do what we do and why we feel how we feel. Then we will really begin to see.
But, the solution to our blindness is found in coming to learn God’s law (what is truly good) and then honestly learning our intentions of our hearts, so we can see if they are truly to LOVE GOD, if not then we will need to see where we have gone wrong and ask God for the strength we need to change.
The Ugly Truth
Even though I said this article isn’t really meant to give us humility, but in order to come to see our hidden sins, we really need to humbly accept that we are riddled with an incredible amount of offences against God. This truth we must embrace.
Until we learn how to allow God’s grace to work through us, by being perfectly united with Him, literally every moment within us is bearing some kind of sin, because without God’s grace, we are full of self-love….yes, every thought, word and deed….even if what we do seems like a fantastic act of charity, sadly, God who reads our hearts knows it still isn’t.
Sure there are different degrees of self-love in every action. Some thoughts, words or actions can be 100% pure self-love and others can only have the smallest self-love in them. But what we need to understand, is that it is by grace alone that makes everything we do truly good. Therefore, we need to learn how to invoke grace into all we do.
For we can do all the good in the world but without grace moving our actions, the “good” is worthless. On top of that, without having true self-knowledge, which proceedes the humility we need to become united with God (in the state of grace), we can do “good” but it won’t merit us any reward from God. Even if God’s grace is moving an action, if we still aren’t united with God, there is just too much self-love in that action to merit us any reward upon our death. Therefore, we must grow in self-knowledge, then humility so we can humbly accept God’s saving grace, for anything we think, say or do to be of benefit during judgement (help atone or move us to a higher state of sanctity).
I know it must be hard to understand that we literally refuse to see who we really are and that we are really nothing be sin. But this is the truth…sure God won’t allow us to see most of our offences against Him or we would die of horror. But remember, within all of us are bounds of sins that we are expected to see, that we love so much, that most won’t even acknowledge…but once we do, we will truly know our nothingness and allow God to be our everything.
If this brings us anxiety, since we thought we hardly sinned, please know God is allowing us to see the truth, so we won’t die from living in the dark. Praise God! Now, ask God to please show us our sins we love and what we need to do to amend them, so we can gain trusting peace in Christ to save us…to remove our desire for sin so our hearts can desire God alone and be saved.
But at first, on our journey to become enlightened to the truth about our sinful selves, we want to see the basics… not our self-love in our acts of love, which sadly ruins so many “good” deeds and doesn’t help to advance us in faith; that will come later, but when it does, then we will really begin to see.
But to move forward from the beginning, one by one, we must uncover what we have hidden in the dark if we are going to be able to truly repent of these crimes that are killing us and not go before God at judgement riddled with unrepentant sin.
To help us do this, the Blessed Mother gave St. Ignatius of Loyola spiritual exercises to help us with this exact problem…but for many these exercises are challenging to understand, so we don’t gain much from them. So St. Anthony Mary Claret wrote an enhancement book called, “The Golden Key to Heaven”, which is greatly helpful for anyone who wishes to come to know their sinfulness and obtain greater contrition for their sins.
But no matter which exercises we choose, if we proceed to perform them with prideful hearts–not really understanding the great sinfulness that lives hidden within…thinking we are anything but grave sinners in need of Mercy–we will hardly, if at all, benefit from them. We simply must believe we are riddled with many sins that must be removed. If this brings anxiety upon you, since you thought you were without much sin, then don’t worry. Praise God for enlightening you to the truth. You don’t want to die blind. That is far worse than having to learn how to change your life and trust in God to save you.
Plus, I want to mention, God will reveal the truth about ourselves little by little, so these exercises should be performed at least once a year and daily we should be examining our conscience to learn where we are going wrong. Without CORRECTLY performing a daily examination we will certainly live blind and die from the love of sin…but to grow into complete enlightenment (of our sinfulness God wants us to see) that takes time.
Therefore, we know, if we have just come to see some failures we never knew existed, we know there are much more.
If we want to see our sins and the lies we have been deceived with, since now we know we must come to see them if we want to be saved, then we will have to let go of who we think we are and allow God to show us who we really are. And who we really are isn’t pretty.
Loose Our Happiness
Coming to know our sinfulness is quite painful. It involves letting go of our pride completely, which for most of us is all we have that has made us happy…so removing it is going to hurt.
This is because most of us have spent our lives trying to build up our pride believing that is the way to happiness. And before we know God’s way to happiness–knowing our nothingness and letting God be our everything–finding happiness through our pride is our only way to be happy.
Therefore, trying to see our misery is foreign to us, since we haven’t spent our lives looking to leave our pride and gain true knowledge of ourselves (sinfulness), so we can hate our sinful selves…we have been looking for all of our greatness…being deceived into thinking that is The Way. Oh, but it isn’t. To learn more please read, “How to Find True Happiness.”
Oh, by being deceived into thinking it is by our pride that we find happiness, most of us have spent our lives searching for all the “good” within us…ignoring most of our sins and even being angered at the people God sends to try to enlighten us to our sinfulness.
Then from having a heart that wants to see the good we do, to build ourselves up, when we “try” to see our sins, like in any spiritual exercise, we look for them with prideful hearts, hearts that don’t really want to see, which of course won’t work. Therefore, until we want to see, we won’t.
But not to worry, if we want to travel the path to Heaven, we won’t stay without happiness–knowing our misery–for long. We are going to learn how to stop finding our happiness in ourselves, our accomplishments and all of the “good” we do, and we are going to learn how to find our happiness in loving God, rejoicing in His great mercy, through our nothingness. So, coming to understand our great sinfulness (misery) won’t lead us to depression but to a humble heart that strives to stop offending God and allows God to do truly good through us, which leads to true joy. To learn more, please read, “How To Become A Saint.”
Who Are You?
Before we learn God’s law of love more correctly, to begin to see where we are going wrong, we need to learn how we reject the truth about our sinfulness when God sends others to help us.
We now know, it is our pride that keeps us from seeing our sins. When we aren’t trying to humble ourselves knowing that is the way to Life, we are trying to maintain our pride…since our pride is our source of happiness. But our pride is our source of death…coming to know and accept our misery is The Way to Life.
Therefore, we need to learn who we are–what we do to reject other’s help with seeing our sinfulness. Then we will become aware of how we reject correction, justify our sins and create blinders to our offences against God. From there we can seek Mercy to help us let it all go and embrace our nothingness.
When we are told we have done something wrong (whether it is true or not), there are several types of responses people tend to have which rejects the truth and increases our pride. HONESTLY, which ones do you do?
Our truth and correction rejecting responses from our hurt pride:
- Tell our accuser that they are in fact the one with the problem– Accuser: “If you don’t stop being lazy, you are never going to get anywhere in life. Those who work hard succeed.” Our Response: “Look at yourself; you are so lazy. You don’t even clean the dishes and just let them pile up for days. “If we think our accuser is hurting us, instead of trying to motivate or help us, and we lack love for them (love ourselves more), because we are focused on keeping our pride (our source of happiness), we respond to what we interpret as evil (their correction of us) with more evil. You hurt me, so I’m going to hurt you, which satisfies our desire for power over them from our pride.
- Declare another not worthy to point out our faults- Accuser:”If you don’t come to really hate your habitual sins that you pay so little attention to, you will reject God for those sins and perish.” Our Response: “Who are you to talk to me that way? Are you a saint? Then be quiet!” From our pride we will seek to be respected because instead of humbling ourselves by knowing our nothingness, our pride will have us feeling like we deserve some kind of special treatment…thinking it is rude to tell another they are a sinner and going to perish if they don’t change.
Then we will find it disrespectful if someone “under” us corrects us. We might be willing to tolerate correction to learn from someone whom we consider an authority or above ourselves, but those below us or who we consider to have more problems than us, we won’t humbly accept correction from and will be insulted calling them proud and self-righteous, when much of the time it is us who have the much greater problem.
- Don’t judge me– Accuser: “You can’t do that? That is wrong.” Our Response: “Don’t judge me.” When we don’t want our sins to come to the light, we might pull the “don’t judge me” response, as if someone isn’t allowed to see sin where there is sin. Enlightening someone to the fact that they are sinning isn’t judging…everyone should be able to see good from bad and lead others away from what is wrong. Wrongful judging is when we try to read the intentions of one’s heart, to learn why someone has done what they have done. We can’t read minds.
For example: Someone could see us and then turn around and walk the other way. We don’t know why they have done such a thing. We can’t read their intentions. However, if they do that every time we see them, we can make a sound judgement that they have a problem with us. But still we don’t know what the problem is. Are they mad at us, embarrassed to be near us; are they holding a grudge; are they suffering and don’t want us to see; have we offended them and they won’t forgive us? Oh, there are many reasons why people do what they do, and wrongly judging someone would be determining we know that is.
Now, if they or someone else comes over to us and tells us that this person too embarrassed to be seen by us. Then we have a more accurate explanation of why they are doing what they are doing. But we will never fully know one’s intentions for anything; Only God is the true judge of that. He correctly reads our motives…motives much of the time we lie to ourselves to try to make them seem good….yes, motives we don’t really know…so God is the only true judge.
But if someone wants to use their best judgement to help guide us to the Light…humble ourselves and Praise God; it is very good. If they don’t know The Way…that is OK. Praise God anyway for most people only care about doing things for self-benefit…even if they are helping us but it is really just to get us to do things their way, praise God all the more for that cross. Then we can learn how to be grateful for good and even wrong guidance, and all God allows.
- Be quiet, I don’t want to hear it– Accuser: “Wearing those clothes is inappropriate.” Our Response: “Leave me alone.” When we know we have done something wrong, but we don’t want to change, the last thing we want is for someone point out our fault. It hurts. So we try to silence them to try remove our pain (remove our guilt).
Ok, the above example is from parent who is trying to get their teen to dress appropriately. But how many times do we just ignore what our boss, colleges, or even our kids when they say we should do something we don’t want to. We tell them to be quiet or we ignore them because we don’t want to change. We want to do our will. We become so good at ignoring the warnings God sends that we become blind to our sins.
To stop this, we need to work hard to perfectly follow anyone’s instructions as we pay careful attention to how we just ignore some thing (rules, commands, responsibilities) and do what we want instead.
- Become offended– Accuser: “You just lied.” Our Response: “How dare you call me a liar. I don’t lie.” Even though we might realize we are sinning, our pride doesn’t want to hear our sin; it hurts. We like to pretend like we don’t sin…so we deny it and become offended with the person bringing to light what we don’t want to even admit.
- Mind you own business– Accuser: “You shouldn’t treat your children that way. Be patient with them.” Our Response: “I don’t know who you think you are but mind your own business. ” Many of us think if someone points out our sin, they are in fact disrespecting us and butting into our business. And sure, the accuser could have most certainly been more tactful with his correction of another, but even if we are more understanding and meek in our approach to help others, many people will still feel disrespected and offended instead of loved (helped to see their error so they can be motivated to change).
- Call our offender names– Accuser: “Didn’t God say to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Why then are you cheating on your taxes? Don’t you think stealing from the government is wrong?” Our Response: “There must be something wrong with you? Are you some kind of goodie two-shoes? I work hard for my money; I’m not going to give it to that corrupt system.” When we think someone is putting us or our judgement down, or even if we just disagree with them, from our malice living in us, we want to put them down. So we bash our offender…tell them there is something wrong with them, when obviously we are the one suffering with the greater problem, which we do to build up our crushed pride.
- Inflame in anger– Accuser: “What is wrong with you…you bleeeeep. You just pulled your car out in from of me… you stupid bleeeeep.” Our response: We curse right back as we go off livid from the harsh correction of another. Many of us since our pride is so great we can’t take loving correction and if we are corrected through the sin of another, much of the time we are more sinful in return.
- Seek revenge– Accuser: “You can’t live with someone you aren’t married to. That is fornication, a great sin before God.” Our Response: “How dare you tell me what I can or can’t do!” Now from being enraged, I’m going to reject you, ignore you and treat you horribly for what you have done to me (done to my pride).Yes, wounding our pride is a great great pain, and without much grace many, who bear great malice, will seek revenge. John the Baptist was murdered for such an offence against Herodias’ pride…Yet, that was the best form of correction (blunt/direct correction), which she needed to hopefully Live…but she didn’t see it as enlightenment nor done through love, but as John disgracing her, so she sought revenge. How many of us treat others poorly when they correct us, or claim we have done things wrong which we won’t admit to or didn’t do? Heaven forbit we are accused of something we aren’t guilty of. Our evil (complaining, angry, belittling the other, silent treatment, etc.) response lets us see our great pride within. What form of revenge do we use?
- Going to teach them a lesson– Accuser: “Your children can’t just run around all over the place. You need to make them sit down.” Our Response: “Fine…well, I will just leave and never come back…(as we declare that person to be so rude).” Even if we aren’t technically in any fault, to relent our will for another’s–to humble ourselves–is very hard for many to do…we would rather pridefully stomp away trying to teach another what happens if they dare to correct us, than to apologize and change.
- Try to prove how we didn’t sin– Accuser: “Your craving for sex is from the lust in your heart.” the wife says to her husband. Our Response: “No, I want to procreate” the husband, who isn’t really interested in procreating, says to justify his burning uncontrolled passion in his heart. Many times we know something is wrong, but so we can pretend like we aren’t sinning, since we don’t want to stop or leave it, we will change the words/justify of why we want to do something.
- Make excuses how we had to sin– Accuser: “Did you know you were speeding in a construction zone?” Our Response: “No, but I had to drive fast, I’m trying to catch my airplane.” Since we view sinning, breaking the law for personal gain, so lightly, we justify offending God as the greatest good, but every sin is of infinite offence to our infinitely perfect God. We must hate them all and work to stop all of them.
- Blame someone else – Accuser: “You were just so rude and disrespectful to that person when you yelled at them.” Our Response: “They shouldn’t have been doing what they did. I yelled at them since they are wrong.” Instead of saying, your right and apologizing. We can’t apologize for our sins, so we try to make it seem like sinning was necessary and good, even at the expense of making someone else look bad so we can look good, all so we won’t be seen as a sinner… since we hate humility.
- Lie to cover our sin
- Have Self-Pity-Accuser: “You were rude to that customer, and they left saying they won’t ever return again.” Our Response: “Yes, it is my fault, of course (we say sarcasticly).” Oh, how hard it is for many to sincerely say, “I’m sorry; I will apologize and do better next time.” We want to pretend like we can’t be at fault and wallow in self-pity if we do fail. Our pride much of the time won’t accept our imperfections and seek to make right our wrongs, we want to dwell in self-pity over them instead.
- Feel embarrassed
- Self loathing
- Can’t look at or be near our accuser– Accuser: “You didn’t help that person; from not understanding The Way, you actually hurt them.” Our Response: “I can’t see that person who knows I don’t understand the faith. They won’t like me or will think I’m a failure.” We say out of feeling shame for our brokenness and focusing on impressing man and not God…instead of humbly accepting who we are, carrying any cross it brings, and seeking Mercy to change us.When the reality of any sin is prevalent to another, and we thrive off of our pride (being seen sinless or at least without great sin), we won’t be able to bear to be seen as a weak sinner or someone with such a great error. That cross will be too much to bear, which will cause us to suffer all sorts of low self esteem, as we seek to avoid the cross and/or the help we need to ride the sin.How many of us won’t seek the help we need to change because we won’t humble ourselves a admit and accept who we are (sinners)… This is one of the major benefits of confession…but so few do it with true humility, really admitting our sinfulness. We won’t allow others to see us for who we really are. We feel we must wear a mask. We are seeking to impress man and not God. Only by humbly admitting and accepting our sinfulness, not worrying about the judgement of others but focusing on God, will we find the way to peace.
- Declare our accuser to knows nothing. Accuser: “You know, God tells us we are supposed to strive to become perfect (to never sin again) if we want to be saved. Are you doing this?” Our Response: “I have a doctorate in theology…you simply don’t know what you are talking about (as we don’t even look into why this person thinks that is true)… I’ll pray for you (we condescendingly say to boost our pride).”
- Point our finger at someone else who seems to be suffering more greatly from a fault we have. Accuser: The Word of God says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart [that he is faithful], his religion is vain” (James 1:26). Our Response: “Boy is my neighbor in trouble; he goes to church but doesn’t stop screaming and yelling at his wife.” Sure, your neighbor is in trouble; anyone who ignores their sin and continues in them just the same day after day, is in trouble. But The Word is written for the person reading it. God wants to talk to you through His Word.
Just because we don’t scream and yell at others, that doesn’t me we aren’t to look into our conscience to see where we fail to control our tongues. Oh, there is so much more damage our uncontrolled tongues do than just verbally abuse others.…oh, there is idol chatter (taking about things that don’t lead to the salvation of souls), gossiping, speaking badly about another, making fun of/insulting others, being rude, condescending, etc. Oh, but we can’t see our sins, since we are busy looking at others seemingly greater offences.
The reason we hate correction and become upset when someone says we are less than perfect is because we don’t want correction…we want to stay in our sins and imperfections. That is a HUGE sign of our great pride and desire to stay blind to our sins.
Until we get to the point in our faith to where we sincerely want to see our sins, are grateful for any enlightenment (or possible enlightenment) to our sins, and accept our sinfulness, we will have many of those responses above when accused of being wrong.
“You yourselves we once alienated from him; you nourished hostility in your hearts [like when others correct you] because of your evil deeds. But now Christ has achieved reconciliation for you in his mortal body by dying, so as to present you [after you accept His saving grace] to God holy, free of reproach and blame” (Colossians 1:21-22).
But sadly, most still lack God’s saving grace (don’t yet have our sins forgiveness continuily dwelling in our souls) and are still mostly controlled by the hostility in our hearts, because we are still lacking enough humility to come to see our sins, so we can correctly seek Mercy to amend them.
Many are still so deceived from being self-absorbed, that many won’t even be able to see our emotions and actions that point directly to sin. Even if an angel from God were to come and directly tell us how we are full of much pride/sin, we simply won’t believe them…from the very pride that is killing us.
Yet, after we are humbled some more and we honestly decide we want to stop sinning, knowing our great hidden sins that live with in, then correction especially if it is harsh or false correction, will be most delightful, since we will see it as a great means to grow in holiness (come to see our sins and/or gain greater humility from being treated like Christ).
However, if we are blessed and can notice ourselves upset when someone tells us we have done wrong, look to see why we have done that. Then seek Mercy to remove our desire for self-glory and humble ourselves before God and man. Then we will be able to change.
As we can see, when our pride is hurt we have responses driven from our malice (hostility) when we feel guilt or if we feel someone is accusing us of being less then who we want to think of ourselves as (lets us know we are sinners). Then we respond with a “you hurt me, I’m going to hurt you” attitude… we as seek cover our guilt and/or gain power, since bringing to light our sin has crushed us. So by trying to crush another, we build up our pride.
And then there are our self-pity responses we have since we feel the need to pout about how imperfect we are instead of humbly accepting ourselves as who we are, sinners.
And lastly we have our arrogant responses as we state how others are the sinners and don’t know The Way but we are without sin and know what is sin and what isn’t.
All these negitive responses to our pride being challenged must end. This will happen by looking for these responses in our lives and coming to see how we actually do those pride boosting, sin blinding/justifying things listed above. Then after we see our failure to humble ourselves, we can repent and seek Mercy for the grace needed to rejoice in such correction…and actually look into our lives to see if we have sinned and then be graceful for such a moment to humble ourselves and/or amend our ways.
Of all of the points mentioned above, focusing on others sins and not our own is the most damaging of them all. It greatly prevents God from accusing us of our sins (enlightening us), through His Word and others, so we can see them and change.
Much of the time we make the mistake and think God is only going to correct us through some great authority figure, but reality is most of the time God corrects us through His Word and regular people, which much of the time, our correction is given quite imprefectly (through the sins of others).
Please know, this article isn’t about how to correct others; it is about how we take correction…actually I should say, how we fail to take correction well. Frankly, most of the examples of correction that were given above were given incorrectly (not moved by much grace). There is a very specific means of how to correct others that leads to Life. If we want to lean how to correct others doing the greatest good (how God wills us to correct others), then please read, “How to Preach the Truth and Save Souls.”
What is a Sin?
Before we can see our sins, we need to learn what is a sin.
A sin: is doing or desiring anything that isn't to know, serve, or love God...any thing in our thoughts, words, or actions that isn't for God's honor and glory, but is done for self love.
Ponder that statement for a little…a sin is anything we do that isn’t to better know, serve or love God. A sin is anything we do for self-love….anything not for God’s honor and glory.
“Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Yikes! How much do we do that doesn’t fit into that category? Everything outside of that is a sin.
Some people will want to know if something is a sin and will receive very poor instruction, since those guiding us quite confused and are actually justify bounds of crimes we commit against God. Knowing if something is sinful or not is really quite simple. If we don’t do something for God…truly for His honor and glory, it is most certainly a sin. Please don’t be deceived.
Remember we are supposed to give our life to God…not ourselves but seeking to become a true Christian, who does everything like Christ. This is our goal for literally every, thought, word or deed we have.
If we still aren’t sure if what we are doing is truly good, then look into the mirror and ask ourselves if what we are doing, thinking or saying is what Jesus or a perfect saint would do so Christ and His love could dwell in us and not our sinful desires.
“I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Another great way to see ourselves is to ask ourselves, if someone else were to look at you, listen to you, or know your thoughts, would they say, “yes, you are a true saint, who truly loves God with all of their heart and their neighbor as themselves”? Would someone say you dress like a saint (modestly), speak like a saint (reserved, pure, without slander or idol chatter), think like a saint (in constant prayer so to not do anything outside of God’s will), and work like a saint (hard for the salvation of souls)? If not we must change…those are our sins.
Anything that a saint wouldn’t do we don’t want to do either.
So lets look into our life and our time, how are we spending our precious time; is it with God-doing His will or with the world and its pleasures? Have we made God what we truly desire?
How about that show we chose to watch before we went to bed last night? Why did we watch that? Was it to know, serve or love God? If not, then we desire the world over God.
Not sure why we do what we do? Then ask yourself, do we think God wants us to relax with the world or with Him before we sleep? Who or what do we desire/long for at the end of our day? Is it God or some thing else? Perhaps we seek time with a loved one or some other useless worldly pleasure?
Have we made our family/friends our idols? Is that really what our hearts desire? Maybe it is our lustful passions? We prove what we desire by our actions. Oh, how easy it is to long for them and not God.
Where is our heart…is it truly with God or sadly still with the world?
Two Kinds of Sins
There are two kinds of sins.
- Sins we convince ourselves (justify) they are good (not sinful)
- Sins we know are wrong but we do them anyway
For example: Let’s say a man, Dan, commits an obvious crime. But, so he won’t be found guilty, he comes up with many lies and says someone else did it. He convinces his mother, who doesn’t want to think of her son as doing anything wrong, that he isn’t guilty. Then to protect her son, Dan’s mom begins to deface and persecute the falsely accused innocent victim that Dan accused of his crime, trying to force the innocent to admit to a crime he didn’t commit.
Now, there are two very different kinds of sins here. Dan, who knows exactly what he has done wrong and does it anyway, even allowing an innocent person to suffer because of him and chooses to cause his mother distress as she tries to seek justice for him. Dan is full of much self-love.
But his mother, who wants to live in a false reality (refuses to see obvious sin), who has convinced herself that protecting her son’s reputation and pride (making him happy by defending him) by harassing and degrading another is the right thing to do.
So, to make her son feel loved, Dan’s mom, condones Dan’s outrage at the innocent (who she thinks is guilty), instead of promoting understanding and forgiveness. Dan’s mother lives in much blindness and doesn’t even recognize her own sins, since she has justified them as good. Now, Dan’s mom is an unwitting accomplice in the deceptive plans of evil her son has created all to hide his guilt.
So, both Dan and his mother are greatly offending God and harming an innocent person for self-gain. Dan’s mom does this, while justifying her sin as good, but Dan sins knowing clear well it is wrong. But he loves his pride so much more than anyone else, he willfully consciously hurts others to benefit himself.
Dan does this to benefit his pride/self-love by not wanting to humbly admit to his crime and take responsibility for it (not wanting to humbly suffer because of his sin). His mother does this to boost her pride, since she does not want to admit she has a son that sins, and from being deceived as to what true love is, since she feels making Dan feel loved by defending him through hurting/slandering another is love, she sins. Therefore, both are horrible sins, against God and an innocent person, but they are very different.
Therefore, Dan’s sin has a much greater guilt/punishment attached to it, since it is driven from direct maliciousness, because he clearly knows it is wrong to harm another to love himself. Plus, he has directly lead another into sin (his mom)…and just doesn’t care.
But his mom’s guilt/punishment is less, since she has convinced herself that her very sinful actions are justifiable (good/actually loving) from misguided love. But both will suffer the eternal fire, if they don’t repent and change before their death.
These are two very different kinds of evil. But both are deadly. However, one is driven from straight evil and the other is directed by the anti-christ (pretends to be doing good but it is far from it). In our world today, the anti-christ is what drives most souls to our doom.
We are going to have to learn how to see both of these kinds of sins in our lives too if we wish to come to truly repent of them for the salvation of our souls.
Please don’t think we don’t have both of them, we do…and for most of us, we have them in a big way. Perhaps they aren’t a sinister plots of evil that harm another to benefit ourselves, like in the example above, but how many things do we wrong knowing they are wrong but we just don’t care or we do them to boost up our own pride.
Well there is a lot…even if we can’t see them. Therefore, we must come to see the sins we know are wrong but do them anyway, which are all directed by evil. And we must also come to see the sins that we justify as good, because we don’t want to see the truth, in which we are being influenced by the anti-christ. To learn more please read, “What Does Evil Look Like.”
Both are quite deadly, but the sins moved by the anti-christ–the ones’ we have lied to ourselves convincing ourselves they aren’t even sinful, are the hardest to truly repent of, because we don’t want to see them. Therefore, seek to know your sins…knowing you have MANY of them and do this by looking for them.
Oh, How Hard it is Too See
I can’t explain how hard it is for us to see our sin. I want to stress this point because if we don’t realize we are most certainly constantly lying to ourselves, we will never look into our actions to see reality.
Yes, since we have spent our life trying to not see, coming to see is going to be unbelievably hard.
Like was said, the reason we can’t see is because we have been searching for happiness in all the wrong places thinking happiness come from building up our pride.
We have been trained from young to thrive off our pride. And until we come to know God, we will seek self-value and happiness from our pride (complements, success, love from others, acceptance, etc.), since we have nothing else (no God) to live for.
But when we come to know God, we should seek to surrender our pride, so we can learn how to find happiness in loving God. To learn more please read, “How Can I Find True Happiness.”
But most have never learned how to lose our pride. Now, we try to love God and love our sinful selves at the same time, which just doesn’t work. So, we live confused…trying to grow in faith without gaining humility (knowledge of our sinfulness), causing to live greatly deceived and blind to the truth.
Therefore, coming to see how we aren’t successful (but sinful) is most difficult for us. Now, most of us become defensive if someone corrects us. We find every excuse in the world why we haven’t done something…how we are right, especially if someone under us corrects us.
Sometimes, we will put down another who dares to tell us we are doing something wrong, calling them names and accuse them of being the one with the problem or self-righteous or worse…oh, if someone dares to speak to us about our wrongs, many are grosly offended. We don’t want to see.
Some of us live with such a false reality of who we are, the truth will be devastating…However, this shock should give us the boost in humility we need to begin to truly change.
Oh, but please don’t think we aren’t one of the people living in a great false reality or we will never be able to see. I promise you, unless you approach this honest search within in your soul to see your fantastic misery….seeking to know believing–nothing I do is truly good–then you won’t have the humility needed to progress.
We need to be open this journey believing we are the most deceived person there is…blind, blind, blind. In great need of Our Savior to enlighten us to the truth. With this understanding that we need help and a willingness to accept reality, no matter what it is, we will begin to see.
How Easy it is to See, IF WE WANT TO
Seeing our sinfulness is really rather easy once we understand everything we do–if grace isn’t moving us–is broken. Like I said God won’t allow us to see everything, but seeking what God wills (with out becoming over scruplious) isn’t hard at all.
We just have to look. Our sins are most easily seen by looking at our reactions to life. We can see how that is our happiness. Just look at our responses to live. With complements we are all happy, with critizem we are all distressed. Yes, our reactions to like
To come to see our sins, God tests us. Through out all time, God has tested us so we can see our sinfulness. He doesn’t want us to live blind (thinking we truly love Him when we don’t). These tests are to enlighten us to our real self–our ugly sinful self–so can come to know our misery and then seek Mercy to forgive and change us into people of true faith.
We clearly see how God tested the Israelites in the dessert by removing their comforts so they could see if they TRULY loved and trusted in God…if even under distress they would have gratitude for all He has done for them and still love Him…so they could see if the faith they thought they had was true. But they proved to be stiffed necked people who complained against The Lord and began to look for happiness even in another god–forgetting about what the true God has done for them.
No matter what time in history we are talking about, ONLY those who Truly love God obtain Heaven..and we don’t truly love God if we hate what He allows and run to other god’s (the world’s pleasures) looking for happiness.
“Moses said to the people: “Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments.”
God tests us in the same way today, but are we seeing our sins through His tests? For most of us, the answer is no. We don’t know how to look at our responses to life’s crosses and see our failures to love God. We ignore our bad behavior or cover our sins and justify away our crimes against God as being not even wrong.
If we want to ever come to see our sins, we need to stop saying our sinful responses in life are “just normal” and stop justifying our sinful choices as not even sins and start calling our sin what they are, “grievous offences against God.” Then we will able to seek Mercy to change us and give us a saving faith.
Complaining and being unwilling to suffer if God wills, isn’t just a normal response…no God clearly showed us that is a horrible offence against God…He was so angry with them Moses had to pray for mercy so God wouldn’t destroy them (send them to Hell as they wanted)…so to give them another chance to change. That, complaining and ingratitude they showed to the Lord their God, who has done such marvles for them, is only a normal response for those who lack love and trust in God….for those who don’t have a saving faith.
Therefore, for God to show us our sins, for ourselves to become humbled enough, so our pride won’t refuse to see them, God must crush us, through many tests.
“Those whose spirit [pride] is crushed he will save.” (Psalm 34)
Then from realizing we aren’t the great person we think we are–after we fail a few tests (come to see some sins) and failure to understand The Way–we can be more opened to seeing additional errors and learn The Truth. Then from finally being able to see our misery and humbly turning to God for help, He can sincerely help us repent and change.
“I do not give him this knowledge [of his misery] so that he may despair, but so that he may come to a perfect self-knowledge and shame for his sins, with hope, so that with that pain and knowledge he may pay for his sins, and appease My anger, humbly begging My mercy.”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
Knowing our sinfulness is essential for salvation. Dying with just ONE sin we refuse to see ejects God’s most merciful gift of Eternal Life for that sin.
God wants us to see our great sinfulness, so we can honestly repent, but we must welcome this act of mercy into our hearts even if it will cause much pain.
We have such a hard time seeing our sins, because we want to be good. We don’t want ourselves or others to see ourselves as sinners. That is why the sacrament of reconciliation is so valuable, we have the oppertunity to tell ourselves and others and of course God, how sinful we are.
How many times has God tried to humble us into seeing our sinfulness, but we just won’t listen. Someone tells us we are doing something wrong, and we are so quick to say, “no, I didn’t.” We don’t want to see.
This is because we haven’t learned how to look honestly into ourselves but are so good at distracting our minds looking at everyone else as we unknowingly pride ourselves as not doing what they do.
Oh, it is hard work to bring to the light what we have hidden so well in the dark.
If we don’t really want to know our misery, which is going to bring about hurt, shock and sadden us, then don’t even proceed; we still won’t see enough to allow God to save our souls.
Do I sound harsh? Well, I’m trying to be harsh so the weak will leave and gain some courage before proceeding.
If done correctly, this process is going to crush us. I mean crush us. There is no gentle way (one that causes no pain) to see our great sinfulness. If we want to protect our feelings, then we don’t really want to know who we are and what we need to amend, and are still thinking we can somehow escape death.
If we are still so weak that we can’t bear the truth that we are less than wonderful, and most likely committing abominations against Our Lord…all the long as we live deceived thinking we are outside of mortal sin, then this process simply ins’t going to work.
Salvation isn’t for the weak.
Some poor deceived people make Jesus out to be some big teddy bear, who only says the kind fluffy things that make us feel good, who would never tell us we are “liars” (cf. John 8:4) or “fools” (cf. Matthew 7:26) or “abominations” (cf. Luke 16:15). If we have mistakenly done this, we simply aren’t reading The Word with eyes that can see The Truth…oh, that evil one is cunning.
God is most loving, patient, tolerant and kind…but does that mean He doesn’t preach the direct truth? Not at all. Actually, anyone who has come to know something of God, knows along with all of those qualities, He is also, quite demanding, blunt and only patient and tolerant until a point…then when we just don’t learn by His more gentle hand, He will scare us hopefully in to submission with His almighty power as The Word clearly shows us.
God will tolerate our weakness (lack of humility) for a while, but He intends to make us strong. If we have read this website and now want to know our misery, if we really want to know what we must repent and change from, so to hopefully gain enough fear of the Lord to give you a real desire to amend, so God can save us, then we must already be strong enough to handle the real truth…or we will still just justify our sins away because we can’t stand the painful reality of who we are and the sins we really love.
We must be willing to accept the fact that this honest look into our souls is going to cause us to feel horrible about ourselves (in a good way) and most likely cause us to need to remove what we enjoy most in life.
If we aren’t willing to see what terrible children of God we really are and how little we really love God…if we aren’t willing to surrender all we run to for happiness (our idols) so to truly love God and not the world, then we must surrender to the reality of our eternal demise instead, so we can keep what is killing us.
However, if we are willing to honestly see and admit our horrendous sinfulness and are willing to remove all of our deadly attachments, then GREAT JOY awaits us. Oh, we won’t loose our incredible sadness over our sins…and people just won’t understand why we are so crushed from our misery, but along side of knowing our horrible sinfulness, God–at the same time–will fill us with such great hope for salvation, we will be filled with wonderful peace.
Then after after we seek mercy to remove some of our horrid sins and much sin leaves, our relationship with God will improve GREATLY. God will envelop us with such love it will be beyond any joy or pleasure we could possible receive from any worldly indulgence. And if we continue repenting and changing–growing in greater love of God and contrition for our sins–until our last hour, we will receive the reward of Eternal Life. Praise God for wonderful self-knowledge.
We Can’t Live the Lie
But yet, sadly most won’t obtain this joy. Many “say” we want to see our sins, but for most our desire simply isn’t true. Some we will see a few sins, only for a moment, and know our great need for mercy. Then from still having a great love for sin, we will go right back to living our life just the same…not motivated to change but re-justifying our life of sin.
Most don’t want to see our failures to live a faithful, devout life, and work hard to change, since we prefer to think we are good, but in reality, we are dying from blindness because of it.
We all have different sins that are killing us, but most have come to pride ourselves on the “good” we do, and we are now neglecting our souls–not working to truly live the faith, and suffer from presumption of salvation and are perishing into eternal anguish.
“A man reckons himself as devout because he repeats many prayers daily, although at the same time he does not refrain from all manner of angry, irritating, conceited or insulting speeches among his family and neighbors.
This [other] man freely opens his purse in almsgiving [donating money], but closes he heart to all gentle and forgiving feelings towards those who are opposed to him; while that [other] one is ready enough to forgive his enemies, but will never pay his rightful debts save [unless] under pressure. Nevertheless, they are in no true sense really devout.”
–St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church
Oh, we don’t want to be like that…ignoring our sinfulness because of the “good” we see ourselves doing, thinking we are devout. But tragically, most of us do just that. We will have to work hard to change especially at first before we receive much of God’s grace. But after receiving God’s mercy, God’s yoke will become easy and His burden light.
The main reason we can’t see our sins is because we try to justify them.
If the saints don’t do or wouldn’t do something, why do we justify our behavior, which is opposed to theirs, as acceptable?
Just look at ourselves. What are our priorities? Doing God’s will alone? Oh, we might say that but our reality is far different. What is it that we do which is opposed to the saints? Are we concerned with vanity? Do we seek to look good and feel good…have nice clothes, a nice car, nice friends, nice food, nice things, nice piggy bank? Was this what the saints sought after. No, the saints sought the opposite of those things…just like Christ. There focus was completely off of themselves and 100% focused on them being seen as nothing so Christ could be everything. But we don’t even see wanting those “nice” things as sinful…well let me explain:
People in general don’t want to do wrong, so the reason we constantly sin is because we have justified our sins as good. Therefore, we need to come to see how we rationalize our sins if we want to see them.
For example: From coming to see her great sinfulness, a wife has learned how to obtain salvation and has amended many of her ways. However, her husband hasn’t grown to this place in his spiritual life. So to try to save his soul, she has tried to enlighten him to his errors so he can change and walk towards the path of Life.
At first, from his pride, he was offended at such “help,” but over time–from seeing her change and her great efforts to see her own sins–he humbled himself enough to at least listen to her.
Yet, she finds her words mostly in vain because he simply does’t want to see his sinfulness and comes up with a different justification as to why he isn’t sinning with almost every word of enlightenment or proof she gives.
This is sadly common for two reasons…we like our sin and don’t want to stop committing them and/or we don’t want to think of ourselves as a sinner.
We tend to become most offended and defensive when sins we love the most or want to hide are brought to the light. The more upset or defensive we become towards someone accusing us of sinning, even if their claim isn’t true (but we should never assume such a thing–always carefully examine our conscience for even part truths), however, we we are upset, if nothing else our poor reaction to correction lets us know of our great deadly pride we suffer from (not wanting to be corrected or be seen as less than who we believe we are).
This upsetness we experience should be a great eye opener for those of us who want to see our sinfulness, but have not yet received enough grace to immediately be grateful for such criticism. Therefore, if we want to see, we must pay attention to our emotions…they can tell us much.
Many of us are at least humble enough to think about what someone said later, even if they initially became angry, so to have at least some hope of not remaining blind. But even for those who can reflect later on what was said, for us to stay concerned over our sin–enough to put forth effort to change–takes much grace, which sadly, most don’t have. Sadly, most only stay concerned for a moment and then all concern over their sin/salvation (fear of the Lord) leaves and they resume their life with little or no change.
Until our pride is crushed and we truly see our doom is evident, we won’t acknowledge our sinfulness, even if we think we don’t want to sin; we like to pride ourselves as being not very sinful. Therefore, when someone shows us our misery, we don’t want to look if in fact they are correct and admit we are sinning, so we look for how we aren’t sinning instead.
This is the mind set of death. I can’t express how we must banish this “I didn’t do it” attitude our pride drives us into thinking. We must work hard seeking God’s grace to stop reacting to our emotions (especially if we lack grace to naturally desire to see our misery) and listen WANTING TO LEARN OUR SINFULNESS or we will die blind. This is especially important when someone below us in society status speaks to us, as much of the time God speaks His most impactful words to us through the least of His children.
When someone talks to us, please know that moment is allowed by God for us to learn for the salvation of our souls. What does God want to teach us is the question? There are so many things. But perhaps, this person might have great enlightenment for us or perhaps they might not. But we need to be ready if they God is going to use them to help us see our sinfulness or not.
If we don’t listen wanting to love them and learn, we won’t hear God speaking to us. If they say something meant to show us our sinfulness, and our pride won’t listen to them, then we miss God sending His love to us and we will just continue blindly in our life of sin.
“It is pleasing to God when a man begins to notice His actions in the heart, because He is the Light and the Truth, whilst the Devil especially fears this, being himself darkness and falsehood; and the darkness cannot come to the light for fear its doing shall be revealed. The Devil is powerful only through darkness, deceit, and falsehood; reveal his falsehood, place it before the light, and all will disappear.”
–St. John of Kronstadt
The Causes of Sin
If we want to know what causes us to sin…here it is. The lack of hatred for sin is the main reason we sin, which is from our desire to sin (concupiscence CCC #405, #418) which results in our idols, neglect and maliciousness.
Lets look at the three main causes of sin and what they are:
Want of Pleasure
Take the Test
Ok, since we have such a hard time seeing our sins, I have a test to help us. This test can be very enlightening, if done correctly.
I have two tests.. The tests, “How Well Do You Know _________ [fill in your name]” is for ourselves and someone else who knows us pretty well…a spouse, child, parent, friend, colleague, etc. The more opinions you can get about you, the better.
This test is to find out more concretely what we and others think we like, love, hate, desire…what angers us, brings us joy, causes us to sin, what we like to do and don’t like to do, what we do for others, what we like others doing for us, how we show we care, what we don’t care about, and much more. All of these answers, the positives and negitives will help us to see our sinfulness.
I can’t tell us how to read or use the test before it is taken or it will ruin the test and make it ineffective (at least the part we will fill out). Therefore, PLEASE DON’T READ the “How to Use This Test” before it is taken. Its like cheating on a test and it is guaranteed to taint our answers.
Also, please only tell someone, whom you give the test to, that this is to help you know yourself better and you would appreciate their blatant honesty…nothing more. Plus, this test isn’t good to give to someone who can’t be honest and is known for over complementing and placating others trying to make people happy.
The First Thing
When we are first looking to remove our sins, we only need to worry about amending what God has allowed us to see, unless of course we can’t see any. But even then, a standard examination is good enough. Click this link for basic examination of conscience for help.
A regurlar examination–the basic, intermediary and then advance examination–is enough, if we have desire.
This in-depth look into our sinfulness isn’t necessary to start amending. However, this in-depth look into our soul is mostly done to help us to understand our great misery so to increase our understanding of our eternal doom that awaits us if we don’t change. And therefore increases our desire to leave sin to follow God.
But like I said, it isn’t needed to begin walking towards the path of Life, if we do have a great desire to amend our ways.