God's Mercy, Repentance & Sin


Is sin really just black and white? Are there gray areas of sin? I mean people are all very different. It is difficult to imagine the same moral code applies to everyone. Sin affects us each differently - some not at all, some more deeply than others. God wants us all to have a relationship with him. Some people seem to need a deep, personal relationship with God. Some do not need spiritual directors. Some people’s sins are deep-rooted and they are opaque. Other people are translucent or transparent with their sinful tendencies. It is beautiful He made us all different. I wonder if in the end we are all equal. I just wonder why it takes some people decades or years to break a sinful habit, others flee quickly. Some people’s sin never backfire on them, at least in this life. Every had a different level of understanding and conscience. How can we all be held accountable for the same sin? If we confess our sins, are they completely blotted out? What happens to the people hurt by our sins? Life goes on. We cannot deny the imprinting and scars some of our sins have done to others. Some may learn to never trust again. Some God punishes immediately and harshly for their sins, others God extends his mercy until death.


A couple thoughts.

Morality is black and white yes. There is truth and then not truth that’s it.

Good and evil. There is no middle. Strictly speaking.

But sin involves gray areas. Acts are either sinful or not sinful, but they are gray in how we are culpable and how they affect those around us and ourselves.

For example: contraception is always immoral. Always evil. But individuals who engage in it may or may not be culpable. It depends on their knowledge and consent. So it’s always damaging but may or may not be a mortal sin.

All sins affect the world and us. Even if we never realize it or know it. Like a drop that ripples through the ocean, we too cause ripples through time with every choice we make.

We may never know how negatively our choices affected the world in this life, but we shall know it in the next.


A helpful analogy may be this legal doctrine. To have a crime, you must have a guilty act (actus reus) and a guilty mind (mens rea). The crime is always objectively there if the act of committed. But you need the necessary intent as well, which depends on knowledge and can depend on the person’s mental state, age etc. Its similar with sin. A sin is a sin, objectively. But you still need the necessary intent: full knowledge and consent for a mortal sin.


The only thing I would add is that most definitely affects everyone. Maybe a person believes something’s not evil, but it could have a terrible consequence for society at large, or members of a community or a family even. Sin affects everyone to a greater or lesser degree.


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