22 Jul Sins hide God’s face
Based on talk by Fr Antony Parankimalil VC
God loves us unconditionally; He loves us just the way we are. It is important to know that though God hates the sin, He does not hate the sinner, but loves them. Sin, however, takes us away from God and has many consequences. This article will focus on these consequences, why we should not sin and fall into any kind of temptation that can lead us to more and more sins.
God hates the sin, not the sinner.
Even those who have any kind of sinful habit, it is that sin he hates. It is the sin of
homosexuality that God hates; the sin of fornication that God hates; not the sinner; because a sinner will always have the opportunity to return to the Lord, but the devil is a deceiver. The devil will tell you that it’s okay- that it’s okay to drink alcohol, it’s normal it is lawful then why do you oppose?
Many times, addiction to certain things can in fact lead to other sins. There was once a boy who was suicidal and became upset over the small things. He wasn’t even talking to his parents. Then while praying for him it was revealed that he was very much addicted to movies and social media which was internally destroying him. He was once a very active boy but now was gloomy and was lacking performance, concentration and had even dropped out of one his classes. Social media was controlling him. God gives us power over social media, but if this social media is controlling you, if these games are taking hold of your life your precious time, you actually become a slave of it.
All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.
Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians, 6:12:
“All things are lawful for me but not all things are beneficial all things are lawful for me but I will not be dominated by anything.”
It’s lawful to use our phones, internet and social media, games etc. but is it beneficial is the question? It’s lawful to drink alcohol if you are above 18 years, it’s lawful to smoke it’s also sometimes lawful to taste or take drugs. But are you been dominated by those things? If you have been controlled by social media, if social media is dictating times and it’s making you an introvert, an addict or it’s making you angry and separated from community, you are becoming a slave without even knowing.
Ecclesiastes 11: 9 addresses this: “Rejoice young man while you are young and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” Many excuses, especially for young people, lie in the fact that they are ‘young’ and that entertainment as such is good and pleasurable. Many do not see their purpose past that. However, 1 timothy 5:6 states
“but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.”
Do you live in this world of pleasure? Do you live just to entertain your five senses? If so, you are spiritually dead. And this is why many do not have a thirst for prayer or worship. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” The devil indeed has blinded many from seeing the light, from seeing God, through such addictions. And how do we know this? Many can spend 3,4 hours, maybe more, on their phones but can’t even spare half an hour for God.
One may ask, well, if I don’t enjoy these things now, when can I enjoy? Why can’t I just enjoy my youth and come back to God when I’m older? In Sirach 5:7 we read, “Do not delay to turn back to the lord, and do not postpone it from day to day for suddenly the wrath of the lord will come upon you, and at the time of punishment you will perish.”
Covid-19 was spread suddenly, killing many people, destroying dreams, education, future, jobs. More than 4 million people have lost their lives. And so, what does this teach us? Do not delay turning back to the Lord; do not postpone it from day to day. Covid did not only choose the vulnerable or sick but affected everyone, irrespective of who they were. Do you not think it’s worth serving God at a young age? Dominic Savio did, and so did little Therese, Saint Maria Goretti and many more. To this day, they are still remembered and honored. As little as they were, they still worshiped God, they gave their life to God, and they did not delay turning back to the Lord.
We have a choice.
Some may say, well God gave us eyes for us to see and so what is wrong with watching so much tv, movies etc. Everything He created is good. Well yes, that may be true, but God also given us eyelids, not just to see everything but also to close our eyes when it is not needed; when it maybe sinful. Sirach 15:15 states, “If you choose, you can keep the commandments to act faithfully is a matter of Your own choice.”
One boy asked Father why God gave us all these things- why there is a lot of pornography, impure things, filthy games. He was wondering why God permitted such things. But we read in Sirach 15:20, “He has not commanded anyone to be wicked and he has not given anyone permission to sin.” God has not commanded anyone to be wicked; He has not given anyone permission to sin. God has not permitted you to commit sin. All these things are lawful, all these things are given but God has given us a free choice to choose God, to choose good, to choose holiness, to choose what is good for your soul. He has never given us permission to sin and so we cannot blame God for the things that we choose to do. In James 1:13, we read, “No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.”
Let no one misguide us, the Lord will never put us to test. He cannot be tested by evil and He himself tempts no one. Then how are we tempted? We read in James 1:14, it’s by our own desires our own choice, “but one is tempted by one’s own desire being lured and enticed by it.”
And so, if you are watching unholy movies, games, or anything impure, you should not say that God permitted it. It is our choice to choose either good or bad.
Saint Carlo Acutis was a young boy who used the internet for the Glory of God. He could have let the internet manipulate or misuse him, but the young boy overpowered it and used it to tell everyone about Eucharistic adoration. And so, today the Lord wants you to be a smart servant of God by using all these things for the Glory of God. It should not control you. If you feel it may be controlling you, then keep it apart.
We are God’s dwelling place.
In Sirach 21:1-2, we read, “Have you sinned, my child? Do so no more, but ask forgiveness for your past sins. Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are lion’s teeth, and can destroy human lives.” If you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are like lion’s teeth and can destroy human lives. Remember that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and so we must be very careful about what we allow to enter through our senses. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy spirit within you which you have from god and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore, glorify god in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Our bodies are holy, they are a dwelling place of God. Our body itself is a sacrament, a channel of God’s grace and it should not be manipulated. Let no one misguide us.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So, why do we find ourselves struggling with sin? Why does sin dominate our flesh? Because if we refuse to give honor to God, if our minds are taken off from God then we often find ourselves in this place. Romans 1:21 says, “For though they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.” If we do not stay in prayer, we will find ourselves drifting to things that we do not want to partake in. If we do not give way to the spirit, then the flesh is bound to take over and this is where we enter into gossip, lust, covetousness, and all kinds of sin. But we must remember that God is powerful. He loves us unconditionally but if we choose to stay in sin, it will dominate us, even without our knowledge. The devil is a deceiver and will tell you to glorify him by desecrating your body. But what happens is that we end up destroying our souls as it enslaves us. But Jesus came to break this chain and to set us free, and so let us ask the Lord to break whatever chain is dominating us today. Let Him break every chain and let us pray for this breakthrough in our life. Allow God to come to you. Allow His love to cover you. He is able. He can shake mountains and do any miracle. What do we need to do? Focus on Him, rely on Him and just believe.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”- Galatians 5:1