For the homily today, the priest talked about prayer in general. I really liked what he had to say, but was confused about one aspect. In a nutshell, he said that our sins do not and cannot offend or hurt God, that it is only his image, which is as persons, that is affected. Sin does nothing (bad) to God–the only ones who are hurt by it is us alone. In essense, God is not looking all day long at our actions to see how He can get offended.
I know that God cannot be hurt by our actions, but somehow I thought our sins did offend God.
Could some of you more knowledgeable than me shed some light on this? What the priest made me hesitate in my thoughts at first for a moment, but, somehow, it does make some sense…
I’ve always thought that God is quite self-sufficient and does not have the quality of His day affected by anything mortal creatures do. To ascribe human emotions such as being offended to God would presuppose that He is somehow exaggerated humanity, not unlike the Pantheon.
I think He is so ineffable and above all these categories that words fall short. Having said that, I think it is possible to “offend” the statutes of God and violate His plan. This ultimately affects only us really. Like I said, we can’t “upset” Him in the sense of the word we are used to. God does not cede to humans the means to impinge on Him in this way.
My thoughts are all just rambling conjecture. Your mileage may vary. Consult your theologian.
Our sins offend God in that we push Him away when we sin. Upon Baptism we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That Presence is in us until we mortally sin. God can not be in the presence of sin, so when we do sin, His presence leaves. That is what we mean when we say that our sins we offend Him.
What you say makes sense, and I think that you touched on something important when you said that we can “offend” His statutes, which is still not God Himself, but rather His laws.
I am not sure if this is very connected, but I remember Scott Hahn explaining how the punishment for sinning is the fact we have sinned itself, since it makes us more prone to sin in the future. In other words, it is not getting God getting angry and punishing for upsetting Him. This also ties in with Hell and with the concept that it is not God that sends us there, but that it is we as humans that choose to go there.
But, anyway, I feel I might be getting a little off topic here (sorry for trying to hijack my own thread so soon :p). The main topic is still *do our sins offend God? *
The divinity cannot suffer. Our sins do not damage or harm God.
However, our sins harm ourselves (most of all) and others. This is an offense against God because it means that we do not love him and others as we ought. We have chosen to corrupt his creation from what he intended.
God’s great Love was wound up in his Heart’s desire to live in and through us, his People–his Bride. When we sin, especially mortally, we are rejecting him, pushing him out of our lives. For someone madly in love with us, I imagine that does have to hurt. I simply believe we as humans can’t understand how we can harm, in this sense, deity. We don’t have to, really.
"When the LORD saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved."–Gen. 6:6
The Bible says so …
Think about it: Our God wanted nothing more than to be with us. It was his “passion”! Not only do we reject him on a daily basis, but it was our misdeeds that nailed Christ to the Cross to begin with. He endured that BECAUSE of our sins, and STILL we sin and renounce him in our thoughts and actions. Sound hurtful? Very. Thank goodness “when we are faithless, he is still faithful.”
So, in a word, yes, our sins offend (and in this sense “hurt”) God, but this is about more than just the fact that they push him away. They always hurt us, and God wants what’s best for us: him.
I think saying something is an offense against God is the same as saying it is an offense against charity, or an offense against justice. You can neither offend charity or justice. But, you can violate or contradict them. You can not change or hurt charity by an offense against it. It remains the same. Rather it serves to point out the offense. Sin is to miss the mark. Likewise if you measured something wrong it does not harm the ruler. The ruler only serves to show how your measurement was off. Since God is Love an offense against God is an offense against love. An offense against charity would at the very least hurt one’s own soul, which is more precious than gold and silver. Socrates taught that it was better to be harmed by evil from another then to harm others by doing evil because when you do evil to another you harm your own soul.
Our sins do personally offend God who is love and desires that we love Him in return by doing what He wills for the sake of His goodness to us. God is a real personal being, not some metaphor. His love is a personal attribute of His as are His purity and righteousness and wisdom. And His love for us is visibly manifested in Christ. The compassion our Lord had when he healed the sick and cured the lame was genuine compassion. The love Christ had for us on the Cross was genuine love. God’s forgiveness of our sins proceeds from His genuine mercy. God is not abstract, but real and personal. God’s love for us is not a feeling, but it is a sensation of a spiritual kind, just as drinking water when thirsty isn’t a feeling, but a sensation of a physical kind. God is Spirit. Our heavenly Father is our Father, with whom we can have a personal relationship, having been created in the Divine image. He is not a metaphor. True, God doesn’t ever “feel” angry, vengeful, or jealous, or even sad and disappointed in an emotional way, but our sins do in fact personally grieve Him (Gen. 6:5:6). Our offenses against God mustn’t be taken figuratively. God doesn’t act emotionally by how He feels, but His anger is genuine. It was visibly manifested in the person of Christ when he cast the money-lenders and merchants from the Temple for the offense they had committed against God’s holiness. Jesus did not act with a feeling of hatred and resentment, which normally constitutes human anger, but rather with a real and unadulterated sense of justice.
Unfortunately, modernism has swept through the Church in the West like a plague. Apostasy made its rise decades ago, as our Blessed Mother forewarned in her apparitions. Sin, hell, and repentance have become dirty words in the lexicon of too many priests and even bishops in modern society. Psychology and sociology (scientism) are overshadowing spirituality. Too much emphasis has been made on social justice at the expense of the Divine justice. The state of our minds and emotions often take precedence over the state of our souls and where we stand before God. Human relations are more important. There are priests who have advised their parishioners to cast their votes for the legalization of gay marriage according to the dictates of their conscience, with no thought given to the moral teachings of the Church and what offends God. But what Jesus had preached was essentially about being reconciled with God and our eternal destiny. Many of his teachings had to do explicitly with the consequence of sin (Mt.18:7, etc.) and all were related to it. Mother Angelica has rightly reminded us that if we are to love our neighbour, we must love God first. To love and adore God is the first Commandment. The second is no less great, so Jesus tells us. But we cannot love our neighbour unless we love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. I certainly hope that your parish priest didn’t give that homily during Lent.
Anyway, giving a homily is supposed to be a pastoral exercise, not a session in speculative theology. I’m sure there were many other parishioners who were just as confused as you were. In his homily, the priest serves to instruct and exhort the faithful in their faith in order to strengthen it through enlightenment, not cast doubts that could diminish or weaken it by sowing confusion. The homily should reflect the character of the Gospels and pastoral Letters in the NT in every way. The priest who represents Jesus should preach exactly as he did, giving thought to what Jesus primarily gave thought to.
"Make of everything you can a sacrifice and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication, for the conversion of sinners."
Our Lady of Fatima