Despair?

Hey all,

I’m new to the forums and am asking for some advice. If you commit a mortal sin, yet did not want to do it (yet were personally responsible for it), does that count as a mortal sin?

Regardless, here’s the real problem. Whenever I sin, I automatically feel as though I am completely worthless. I feel as though God has exhausted His mercy towards me, and that nothing will go right in my life because of it. Example: I am waiting to hear back about a job interview I went on a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve sinned since then, so now I feel as though I won’t get the job, my husband and I will not have any money, and I won’t make it to Heaven. I get to Confession, but it’s a horrible cycle when it starts up again.

I know it sounds silly, but that’s only half of it: my anxiety over sinning is so great that when I think this way, I berate myself for not trusting in God’s mercy, which makes things even worse.

I don’t know what to do - can anyone help? :frowning:

Do you love your husband and family members even though they make mistakes? Do you hold them to unrealistic expectations of perfection, knowing they can never achieve that? Or do you feel their pain, and love and support them while they grow and learn from their mistakes? Your loving Father in heaven feels the same way about you. Our mistake is when we try to imagine ourselves as God and react as we think He would. We can never fully understand the depths of love that God demonstrated for us when He sacrificed His only son to a terrible death to ensure forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with Him. We can only trust that what He tells us is true, and call on His love and mercy when we fail him through sin. Forgive yourself and accept God’s forgiveness when you seek it through confession. Who are we to reject His forgiveness? Meditate on the suffering of Christ to better understand His all encompassing love for you. You are His child, He loves you. God bless you.

God is so much greater than anything we can even fathom to do - He never tires of loving and forgiving us. Of course, because of our love for Him, we should always do our best to avoid sin at all cost.

I hope you don’t take offense to this, but the phrases “horrible cycle” and “anxiety over sinning” jumped out at me because they’re so familiar. I’m being treated for OCD, and one of the ways in manifested for me was through religious scrupulosity. I was constantly thinking I was in a state of mortal sin, even though I did nothing wrong, and afraid that my faults would cause misfortune for my family. I was always going to confession for minor things, when my priest suggested I may have a problem with scrupulosity. Is this possibly the case with you?

Please feel free to PM me if you would like to talk privately.

Thank you for the responses! Carol Ann, you’re definitely right: I don’t treat myself with the same mercy and compassion I give my family; and interestingly enough, Irish Becca, I struggle big-time with perfectionism, and I think some lines got crossed. I’ll keep working on this; thanks

agapeflower117,

Those feelings sound so familiar to me, and I still fight with them. I can only tell you what is helping me. Remember, don’t trust your feelings. The devil can mess with your feelings, but he can’t mess with your reason. So repeat out loud the truth of how much God loves you when these feelings start getting to you; repeat the name of Jesus over and over; have a prayer that reminds you of God’s love. Rather than watching inane TV programs, read and study the Bible, get to Mass as often as possible, read books that teach of God’s love for you, and of the history of the Church and why God gave us the Church. Just get as much stuff about God in your head as you can.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Years ago (decades, really :)), this verse struck a cord with me. I believe that it’s because it is what I really needed to do. Our culture is very damaging to the knowledge of our relationship with God, but although you may feel that you are beyond God’s saving grace, remind yourself that He made you and it is He that is keeping you in existence, and without Him you wouldn’t even be able to take your next breath; that in fact, if He stopped loving you for a nanosecond that you would cease to exist. So He must have faith that you can do it if you just keep working at it.

Think of a little child learning to walk. The parent (God) is standing with his hands out just waiting. Though the child may fall down and get up several times, the parent stays there. The parent knows he can’t do it for the child–he can only stand there waiting until the child does it for himself. He can encourage the child and smile and tell him that he can do, but the child must do it himself. Think of that child as yourself trying to get to God, who when you do, is going to just grab you and raise you up over His head and swing you around and hug you and shower you with His love and congratulations for doing what He always knew you could do, and how wonderful it’s going to feel just being safe in His Arms forever! :extrahappy: :dancing:

There are so many analogies you can use, and so many books you can read, but just try immersing yourself in as many of the helps God has given us to remind us of His love. That’s what the Church is for, so remember that “He has not left us orphans”, but is truly with us though we can’t see him with our human eyes, only spiritually for now.

One book that is a good one is “Hinds Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. I’m sure you can find many others.

I hope this helps you. God bless you and I will pray for you and all who are struggling with those feelings.

Thanks so much, Ruthmary – your words were so comforting. I’ll definitely work on it! :slight_smile:

Agapeflower,

Whenever I’ve found myself with those thoughts the memories of parenting always help me the most. I remember when my daughter was young and would get sent to her room for something she did. While I heard her yelling at me or crying or…it was so hard not to go let her come out and hug her (possibly, while laughing). I really think that some of our parenting “feelings” may have come from Him and whenever I think of those I can only Praise Him.

It sounds like you’re your own worst enemy.

Today’s Gospel reading fits your situation perfectly:

*Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be compassionate, just as your heavenly Father is compassionate. *

I’ve highlighted the word “compassionate” in blue because this meaning has been lost in translation. The Greek can be translated as “perfect,” but the original Aramaic definitely means “compassionate.” While we can never be “perfect” like our Father, we can be compassionate.

So be compassionate with yourself. Recognize that you are human, that you are weak, and that you need Jesus to lift you up when you are down.

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