Certainly, piling wrong upon wrong, building a pile of guilt, is more ‘wrong’, – more ‘sinful’ than a single sin, if you will, but isn’t it up to Him Who is sinned-against to determine how much sin there actually is?
Please bear with me for a bit here. One of my own parables for today: Suppose you have a child who is a real handful. And, you’re poor – poor enough that every penny counts to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. In this parable, your child has been given a good moral code (foundational training in right and wrong) and you have taught this child as much as you can about character, honesty, consideration, respect for others, and all the good, ‘homely’ virtues. One day, this child decides to take money to buy something just for himself. So, he goes into the cookie jar, and takes a handful of the rent money to buy some wi-fi or something. YOU find it’s gone, but don’t say anything immediately, waiting to see if he’ll put it back. Then, figuring he ‘got away with it once, he’ll do it again’, he takes MORE money for something else. And this happens a number of times.
WHEN is it more serious? When it first happens? Or when you have let it go and can’t pay the rent? At what point does ‘wrongdoing’ becomes an issue of ‘quantity’?
(With apologies to Jesus, Who was MUCH better at parables than I am!)
The thing to remember is that, we HAVE been given a good Moral Code – one which includes respect for Life, as the elemental Gift from God, without which no other Gift would be necessary. Deciding ONCE to take that gift of life, and throw it back into the very teeth of God because WE HAVE DECIDED that He made a serious mistake in giving it to an unborn child, is a terrible sin. Does one have to commit the SAME sin over and over before it becomes wrong? I don’t think so.
Being “confronted by the Church” isn’t a requisite for wrong-doing. The Church knows and understands that the Rules (The Ten Commandments) are put into the hearts of its members, and in ANY society, individual responsibility is important. We don’t only obey traffic laws because there’s a cop sitting on the corner with a radar gun checking to make sure we obey them. We know those rules are there to protect us, like them or not.
I think we get into a real morass when we lose ourselves in semantics, and forget about ‘right and wrong’. Sadly, we become like the pharisees of Jesus’ time who knew all the rules, followed those they wanted to observe, and insisted only that others obey all of them. (Sounds like politicians, doesn’t it?)
Jerry, I’m glad you’re searching, and thinking, and praying for Light. I will offer my prayers for you too, to find the Light, and to know that Jesus – God, forgives sinners, whether they be falling for the first time, or have become mud-encrusted from wallowing in their sin. We must never forget how MUCH He loves us – even when we are in error and sin.