Have a hard time feeling sorrow for offending God. (God is perfectly content)

(I posted this in the Philosophy forum first, but I think this forum would be more appropriate)

Recently I have been reflecting that God is perfectly content in himself and nothing I do will take away any of that.

So when I sin, I used to think “This hurts God’s feelings”, and was able to feel more sorrow for my sins. Now that I realize that when I sin, it is ‘offensive’ to God, but he isn’t actually hurt by it. If I were to fall off the face of the universe, it wouldn’t bother him one bit. So it seems like God is indifferent to me because he doesn’t lose any contentedness with my lack of love for him.

I don’t think this is an either/or situation, but an and/and one.

God does not need a single thing, but it does not mean he doesn’t want things from us.

You speak of God’s “contentedness”. I feel like this is a misunderstanding of what God is.

When you say “God is perfectly content in himself”, that is true enough, since it communicates the fact that God is perfectly self-sufficient and does not require our existence. But you take it too far to then make measurements of God’s “contentedness” given certain hypotheticals.

God created us. Why? Well, since He doesn’t need us, He did it out of pure love. He created YOU out of love. We owe Him our love not just because He is our creator, but because He is not an indifferent God who just set the universe in motion for no reason. He is a personal God, who loves each of us on a personal level.

Therefore, you do “hurt” God in a sense when you sin. You don’t (and can’t) hurt Him in a way that lessens Him, or detracts from His perfect goodness/perfection, but when you sin, you are rejecting the personal gifts of love which He has given you.

He created us and gave us the power to love Him back. Those who do give Him joy, and those who do not, who reject Him and throw themselves into Hell, give him sorrow.

I used to struggle with this too, so I know what you’re feeling. I think I should first counsel you to speak with your confessor or spiritual director about this, since he’s going to be better trained than any of us here (except the priests).

That said, you do want to be careful about relying too much on feelings. True contrition can exist without any sensible sorrow whatever. The important thing is that we are in fact truly sorry. While the sensible sorrow is nice, I admit, it’s an accidential perfection only, and we need not worry if it be not present. God in fact, often removes the sensible devotion so that we grow stronger and more confident in His mercy, rather than our feelings or our own acts.

It’s true that God’s happiness cannot in anyway be lessened by the acts of His creatures. But, He can be offended by them, and a good practice may be (again, speak with your director) to consider that God at every moment holds you in existence, gives you all that you have etc., and then you abuse it by rebelling against Him. This may stir up a recognition of the justice of God’s indignation. Also, it is worth noting that this feeling of only being sorry because it hurts someone is corollary of the “harm principle” of John Stuart Mill, which is incompatible with a Christian view of justice. But, unless you’re interested, I won’t expound on that here.

Anyway, again speaking to your confessor about this is the best thing to do, but maybe what I’ve said above will help you.

Benedicat Deus,

Although God needs nothing, that doesn’t stop Him from caring about you, and what you have need of.

I found this helpful from the Catechism of St Pius X:

54 Q. What should you do to excite yourself to detest your sins?
A. To excite myself to detest my sins: (1) I will consider the rigour of the infinite justice of God And the foulness of sin which has defiled my soul and made me worthy of the eternal punishment of hell; (2) I will consider that by sin I have lost the grace, friendship and sonship of God and the inheritance of Heaven; (3) That I have offended my Redeemer who died for me And that my sins caused His death; (4) That I have despised my Creator and my God, that I have turned my back upon Him who is my Supreme Good and worthy of being loved above everything else And of being faithfully served.

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