19 of 35 What makes a sin a sin – Story of Adam to Jesus

What makes something a sin that can enslave us?

Is a sin a sin because God says it is a NO-NO? No!

A sin is a sin because it is something, anything that has evil consequences:

… sin [is] disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness. # 397

Grave sin [mortal sin] deprives us of communion with God … [and] … every sin, even venial (sin), entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified … [however] These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. # 1472

Sound confusing? The Catechism often does. Think of the Ten Commandments this way:

If God was to write commandments for bowling, the 1st Commandment of Bowling would be, ”You shall not drop the bowling ball on your foot.” Now, what would happen if you broke this law of bowling? Would the manager come out and say, “You are banned from bowling”? No! Dropping a bowling ball on your foot would hurt! God gave us the Ten Commandments so we could avoid hurting ourselves and avoid hurting each other.

Or think of the Law this way. Have you ever seen someone tell a lie? Did they get struck with lightning when they told the lie? No. But …

Lying is destructive of society; [lying] undermines trust … and (lying) tears apart the fabric of social relationships. # 2486

These are the natural consequences of lying. Lying is a sin because it hurts people, not because God says it is a NO-NO.

Or think of the Law this way:

If you drive 100 miles per hour over the speed limit – 155 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, then you could get a ticket. You could be punished for breaking the law. But if you do drive 155 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, do not worry about getting a speeding ticket. Worry about killing yourself! In the same way, when you think about the sins we human beings commit, do not worry so much about punishment as about the natural consequences that caused God to name those things as sin.

By giving the Law, God made it clear.

[We] have before [us] life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, … by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. Deut 30:19-20

The choice is ours.

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