Another selfishness: your sins aren't just hurting you
Just worrying about your own clear conscience is not enough
Bishop Robert Barron published a hard hitting sermon early last year called “There’s Nowhere to Run” about the Prophet Jonah. He is called by God to go to Nineveh but tries to shirk the task and run in the opposite direction, to the ends of the Earth.
Of course in true Biblical fashion, Jonah cannot run forever, and God sends a storm after him and the ship he chartered. The sailors are terrified and beg Jonah to call off his God, asking “What is this that you have done?” and knowing he was fleeing Him.
Jonah asks to be thrown overboard, lest his sin condemn the mariners as well.
A good friend recently reflected:
The evil of sin isn’t just what it does to us but what it does to others through us. Had we reconverted earlier in life, we could’ve been a light to our friends and loved ones sooner, sharing God’s Love with them. Our decision to spurn God harmed them as well.
To forget this important aspect of sin is another selfishness. It is another seal of pride stamped upon our soul which must be opened in order to let God into command of our lives.
If you pray often and pray yourself into thinking you are a good, scrupulous person who needs prayer less and less, you are missing the point and using the faith to rebuild your pride.
A good prayer should call upon God to enter our boats and begin giving orders; it should ask for assistance in the ruination of that which separates us from Him. We should not pray to become better, for we will be humbled in order to make us better. We also should commit to move our prayers more and more into selfless petitioning for others.
We not only owe this to them out of our own contingent existence with them (especially family and friends) but out of a realistic acceptance of the pain we have caused in our lives.
Many of us are guilty of sin which has destroyed or nearly destroyed our families. Many of us have made our parents and siblings weep. Many of us harbor ill-will for friends, family, and others which perpetuates resentment in a curse-like way.
We should all take better notice of how we have fed the fires of division in our lives, as painful as these memories might be, but there is hope: where the devil scatters, the Holy Spirit gathers.
Let the Holy Spirit rebuild the bonds in your life today.
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Matthew 12:31-32 (RSVCE)