I’VE HAD BAD THOUGHTS. HAVE I OFFENDED GOD?
A frequent question I’ve been asked by people in spiritual direction is:
“I’ve had bad thoughts, have I sinned?”
To help you know whether you’ve offended Our Lord or not, it is important to discern if you have entertained those bad thoughts, whether they may be thoughts against charity, holy purity, justice, etc.
- If one realizes that he or she is having bad thoughts, and immediately does something to reject them, such as, praying, focusing on another topic, or simply saying “no” interiorly, THEN, one has NOT offended God. Rather, one has just performed a morally good action for love of God and one’s neighbor, and which helps in acquiring a virtue!
- However, the moment one is aware of the bad thoughts hovering his or her mind, and consequently entertains them, or gives in to them, or gives his consent, THEN, one has committed a free internal action. Hence, one has sinned.
Sin is a free human action which involves both reason and will. If the will does not accept what one’s memory, imagination, or even senses presents to it because one’s reason judges it as wrong , no consent is given. Therefore, no sin is committed.
In order to avoid complications and headaches, it is important to remember the following rule:
To think is one thing, to consent is another.
To feel is one thing, to entertain or accept that feeling is another.
To see is one thing, to voluntarily look is another.
Of course, one must not provoke bad thoughts, feelings nor glances because if one does, one is already consenting to and the cause of the consequent thoughts, feelings and glances.
However, if one has given into either bad thoughts or indiscrete glances, knowing that they are not good, not all is lost. God loves the humble and contrite of heart. Let’s just humbly acknowledge our mistakes and go to Confession. There we will receive God’s loving pardon and mercy!
Remember what St. Josemaria wrote in Forge no. 186:
“The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives, who always get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope.”
Hope the ideas mentioned above would help you. Forward then, let us strive to love God and the people around us in our thoughts, words, and actions. A great day ahead!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
PHOTO CREDIT: RV.
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