Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 33 – Is everyone a sinner?
For Christians, the word ‘sin’* always says something about their relationship with God*, especially about how that relationship is challenging them to live a fuller life. Sin is actually about saying ‘no’ to God’s invitation to live fully. It is about refusing the outstretched hand, because of anxiety, anger, stubbornness or sadness. As a result a person becomes isolated, instead of blossoming into openness and joy.
Sin can be about what you do or don’t do, and what you think, say, and so on. You can sin against God, but also against yourself or against other people. To know if something is sinful, it is not enough to look at the outside. Often it is necessary to know with what intentions you do or don’t do something. A well-known example is that of giving alms to a beggar. That always seems good, but you can also give money to someone to make that person dependent on you.
Sin can be about serious things, but also about small, seemingly unimportant things. These peccadillos can be more harmful than heavy sins, because they are repeated more often. Many little ones make one big one.
Sin can only exist if you both realise that an act or attitude is harmful and you agree to it in freedom*. Without consciousness and freedom there is no responsibility and therefore no sin.
Sin is something that all people have to deal with, even if they often don’t want it. The Bible* expresses this in this way: ‘I don’t do the good I want to do, but I do the evil I don’t want to do’ (Rom 7:19). Christians believe that Jesus* has not sinned.
– What does sin mean to you?
– Do you relate to what the Bible says about not wanting to do sin but still doing it?
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 34 – Does God forgive all sins?
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If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.