How to change my thinking -- hating myself for my repeated sins


#1

I have viewed my faith and going to church as a chain or streak that I cannot break. and when I sin, I feel so horrible, like all my good work is meaningless and I have to start all over again. Sort of like when a recovering alcoholic takes a drink after a long period of sobriety. Like if I go to Confession and confess a sin and then a week later, commit the same sin, I feel like a phony and like God can see through me or that I’m deliberately sinning knowing I can go to Confession. That’s not how I think. But I am very hard on myself and when I recognize I’m about to sin and do it anyway, I feel horrible and like the biggest sinner ever.

I don’t think of myself as deserving of God’s love or forgiveness because I have known something was wrong and committed the sin anyway on many occasions.

I don’t want to think this way or continue to self-loathe and feel defeated and discouraged. I would love to read any answers that can help me to change my thinking about God’s love and forgiveness and how I might learn to believe I am deserving of both. Thank you.


#2

There are so many people in the same boat.
The culture we live in makes it so difficult today.
But God forgives.
How great thou art.


#3

First of all, I would be very hesitant in claiming that any good work is your own. In and of ourselves, we can do no good - but it is purely GRACE that we rely upon and grace that enables us to continue to fight. What is needed is a great deal of humility to acknowledge our weakness and sin and to trust more upon the action of God than our own strength and will.

I don’t want to think this way or continue to self-loathe and feel defeated and discouraged.

Actually,this very wise counsel to yourself is really an action of the Holy Spirit and a recognition of the devil’s insidious attempt to brow-beat you. The very fact that you feel so horrible indicates the action of grace in your soul and I’d be far more worried about someone who did not feel compunction. I would not despair over my condition so much, but view my repeated failure as a greater opportunity to come to know myself and my inherent sinfulness. I believe this is the very process for all of us and the necessary steps toward a fuller union with Christ. Be of good cheer and be encouraged. A faithful regimen of increased prayer with hope in your heart as to the power of God seems to be in order.


#4

Your words are so kind and you are so knowledgeable that I feel better already. Thank you.


#5

None of us are deserving of God’s love or forgiveness. You must try to have faith in His love and forgiveness, because this is the hope which will allow you to repent and persevere. Without believing in God’s ocean of Divine Mercy, you will fall into despair, and that might cause you to lose your faith. Surely you are not saying that your sins are too great for God to forgive? That would make God much too small. He does not love and forgive us because we are worthy, He loves and forgives us because we are His, and it is His good pleasure to lavish His Love on us. You should probably speak with a priest or spiritual director, it sounds like you might be a bit obsessive about these things.


#6

As suggested in the post above, speaking to a priest would be beneficial to you. St. Faustina spread the word that God’s mercy is endless. We just have to accept it. With true sorrow for our sins and a firm resolve to avoid sin, God forgives us. You only have to believe and accept this. Divine Mercy Sunday, the weekend after Easter, reminds us of this. Many graces are in store for those who pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. I am praying for you.


#7

, Spiritual CombatDom Lorenzo cousels us to be very gentle with ourselves when we sin and put all our reliance on God. When we are angry or surprised at ourselves, then we are not relying on God enough and must redouble our efforts to increase in humility.

Sometimes God allows us to fall into sin so as to point out a fault in ourselves.


#8

First, know that God loves you very much, and his will never changes–he loved you from the very beginnings of Creation, enough that when it was time to do so, he even created you. Love creates, love is necessary to create, and so only the love of God can have created you. Take joy and comfort in that. Even when we have sinned, there is no sense in beating ourselves up–rather, we must be gentle with ourselves, realize we are limited, and seek the love and mercy of God all the more. St. Francis de Sales put it this way, in the Introduction to the Devout Life (which I highly recommend):

For instance:–Let me suppose that I am specially seeking to conquer vanity, and yet that I have fallen conspicuously into that sin;–instead of taking myself to task as abominable and wretched, for breaking so many resolutions, calling myself unfit to lift up my eyes to Heaven, as disloyal, faithless, and the like, I would deal pitifully and quietly with myself. “Poor heart! so soon fallen again into the snare! Well now, rise up again bravely and fall no more. Seek God’s Mercy, hope in Him, ask Him to keep you from falling again, and begin to tread the pathway of humility afresh. We must be more on our guard henceforth.” Such a course will be the surest way to making a stedfast substantial resolution against the special fault, to which should be added any external means suitable, and the advice of one’s director.

From the chapter of the Introduction on Gentleness Towards Ourselves–which I recommend you should read if you read nothing else from it.

Know of my prayers for you, and feel free to PM if you need to talk or ask questions.

-ACEGC


#9

I have similar problems and I’ve begun to look at my sin as a way of reminding me that I need God and cannot do this alone. When I sin, I have to turn away from my pride of “look how good I’m doing!” to the humility of “Lord, I’ve sinned against You, please forgive me and help me not to do it again.”


#10

Another great insight from St. Francis de Sales is found here:

“Even when I feel that I’m miserable, I don’t worry about it one bit, and sometimes I’m even joyful about it, thinking that I’m quite a good job for the mercy of God.”

-ACEGC


#11

At Adoration last night instead of trying to understand Jesus in the Host, I began to visualize myself eating the host, and there was a kind of satisfaction in that image. Then I began thinking of Jesus watching me as I thought about consuming the Host, being happy that I found goodness in what he wanted me to eat.

I suggest to begin visualizing yourself doing good things, not just visualizing good things, but seeing yourself carrying them through to completion and the satisfaction you feel in that image.

And, before you begin to sin, when you see it coming, start visualizing your situation after you have sinned, how you are going to end up hating yourself rather than being able to enjoy the sin’s pleasure - the pleasure gone and only self-loathing. Then visualize yourself walking past the temptation and what your self-feelings will be like.


#12

Welcome to Catholic Guilt. I consider it a grace to be so aware of my sins! Doesn’t take away the sting when I commit habitual sins no doubt but a grace none the less!


#13

I’ll grab a oar to paddle with you, since I too ride along in that boat.

Very tough to climb out of the boat, and walk on the water and trust Jesus that you will be saved sometimes, when you feel like you are just going through the motions and that God can see right though you even though you know you are sorry and you know it’s not true that you aren’t worthy.


#14

What’s helped me is to realize that it is 100% true that I really don’t deserve God’s love or forgiveness. None of us do. And that’s okay. That’s why it is called grace. God showed his love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, He died for us.

So, yes, none of us deserve His love and forgiveness. But He offers it anyway. He wants us to have it so badly that He comes running out to meet us even while we are yet a long way off. He paid the ultimate price to be able to give us that gift. And He keeps on extending the gift to us as many times as we slap it away.

It can be tough to clear these mental hurdles. Debilitatingly tough. But there, too, is an opportunity to throw ourselves at God’s feet and ask for mercy.

When I was young reading the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, I always identified with the Pharisee. I thought, “I’m a good kid; why would I be looking down at the ground and beating my chest saying ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner’?” And yet, as time goes by, I find myself becoming more and more like that tax collector. Considering the message of the parable and which one went away justified, I figure that’s probably a good thing. :stuck_out_tongue: :o

God bless you. I will pray for you. Please pray for me, too.


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.