A couple of years ago I was not in the church but was seeking some answers to questions on spirituality. At that time I smoked marijuana constantly and admitedly was addicted (I know some say it isnt addictive, but let me tell you - it was for me). Now during that time I would occasionaly read the bible and even attend catholic mass with my girlfriend - although i didnt receive communion then. I needed some answers and was very distant from orgnanized religion, so I came to Jesus the only way I knew how at the time. Sometimes I would get the feeling that soon I would need to stop smoking for good. Maybe god was speaking to me or something but I just got the feeling that I ought to quit. that it was time, and the right thing to do. This was incredibly difficult for me and I had to quit many times before finally stopping altogether. While at the tail end of my battle I entered into cathecism and began to get serious about joining the church. Now I was very skeptical about God and Jesus prior to joining the church so sometimes I would pray a prayer to god asking for an exchange…if you will. I would pray “God, I will do my best to quit smoking if you could see it right to grant me … such and such blessing in my life” Amazingly - he never failed to accomodate my arrogance and ignorance in order to lead me closer to him. Sometimes I would fail and have to start over again … but I always made it further and further down the road - until finally I can say I havent smoked in almost two years. However one of the last times I smoked was in a social setting (always the hardest for me - all my closest family and friends smoked since I could remember) and during that time I felt a pop in my back during a particularly strong cough. I had herniated a disc and the resulting pain and struggles were by far the most debilitating and painfull things I have ever had to endure. Two surgeries and after almost a year of chronic pain later… I had rehabed completely. My questions are simple - did god cause my herniated disc to punish me for smoking? if not, was it satan? in scripture I see alot on God punishing his children to teach them lessons- was he simply teaching me? In Hebrews I believe it says God only punishes those children he loves - yet my preist says god doesn’t just zap us with things like back pain in retribution for our faults. Catholics (only, please) help me to understand this , thank you.
God did not cause your disc problems. Promise.
Human violence and suffering should not be explained or excused by attributing them to God. Jesus states unequivocally: God is not violent. God does not punish. That is the whole point of the parable he tells about the landowner and the barren fig tree. The fig tree has repeatedly failed to produce fruit. But in the end the landowner proves patient. He does not have the tree cut down. Jesus’ point is that this is God’s way with us. This is the way God handles our violence with one another. He does not retaliate. He does not repeat our violence. And Jesus wants God’s way to become our way. We are to deal with one another – just as God deals with us.
Read what Jimmy Akin says about God and His punishment.
Ask yourself this.
God gave you life, did He not? Do you ask Him daily if all of your blessings are a reward for your good deeds as His child? If you do not ask Him “why the blessings?”, why do you ask him, “why the sufferings?”
Peace be with you
God does not cause punishment or pain. He created us out of love.
When sin entered the world… so did pain and suffering. God did not cause this to happen, but He allowed it to happen because He granted His creatures with the gift of free will.
Satan wants to turn our free will away from God.
God wants our free will to choose Him.
All pain and suffering is NOT from God.
But God does allow it to happen if it helps to mold our free will towards His perfection. We are sinful people… that sin must be purified.
I wrote a not so nice thing about this, but decided to delete it instead. I don’t know myself why bad things happen, I just know I’m tired of it. Tim
in general the consequences of sin, or of a damaging habit that may become a sin or occasion of sin, are contained within the sin or habit itself. If you had been diagnosed with lung cancer, for instance, after years of smoking tobacco, you would probably infer that the smoking caused the cancer. Except insofar that it is in the created nature of tobacco that when burned and smoked by humans it can cause cancer, God did not cause the cancer. He created tobacco with certain properties, yes, but the misuse of the created object led to the consequence. So there was punishment after a fashion, but the punishment is a natural consquence of the action.
Cheating on my husband will have the natural consequence of damaged trust, poor communication and possibly a ruptured marriage. If I suffer because of the situation it will not be God punishing me directly, it will be me inheriting the natural consequence of what I have done. It is also probable that innocent people will also suffer in consequence of my actions as well, so they cannot blame God, they should blame me.
Where does Jesus state this “unequivocally?”
What do you make of these lines of Scripture:
Sirach 5:4-9 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition.)
4 Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the most High is a patient rewarder.
5 Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin:
6 And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins.
7 For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners.
8 Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day.
9 For his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee.
Pax Christi tecum.
I do believe that God punishes us for the wrong that we do… but I also believe that HE forgives us if we repent sincerely!!!
HIS mercy is great… also, the closer you get to HIM, the more raps you get on your knuckles… HE catches you before you commit anything major… i have always felt that even before I do something, when I think about it… HE catches me and warns me…