Is this a Sin? (deliberately putting yourself in a tempting situation)

Is it a sin to deliberately put yourself into a situation that you think that “might” make you sin? This one post that this one guy wrote within a thread made me think about it. He said, and I quote, “maybe if you expose yourself to the risk of sin without wanting to sin it might be a venial sin in that case.”

It is a near occasion of sin. If one knows beforehand that temptation awaits, one is best advised to avoid it. At some point, knowingly subjecting yourself to near occasions of sin may become sinful.

Can you name a specific situation?

There is no absolute prohibition on avoiding situations of temptation if there is a good reason. Censors must view pornographic material for example.

Obviously a censor must have good reason to believe he is the right person for the job as not everyone would be suitable.

Matthew 5:28
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We have enough temptation in our heads to fill all of Hell,
I’d purify my mind first, then temptation will have little to no effect on us.

Thought, Word, and Deed.
Notice that Jesus said “Thought” first,
because without the thought of it, the rest would not follow.

I’d find either a nice statue or pic of Jesus, and practice visualizing him.
Why? Why is it easier to see a dream when we are sleeping? It’s like in order
to see another reality we got to be sleeping, but for some oddball reason we
can’t control what we want to see in our dreams, we usually dream about stuff that is symbolic to the stimuli in our daily lives. But in waking conditions, we are affected by the things we see, and the thoughts that follow them as well.

Well, I try to bring the dream to the waking state, by forcing myself to seeing the image of Jesus behind closed eyelids by every now and then refocusing on his image. Instead of being affected by Temptation thru the sight of “it” and all the thoughts that accompany it, I train my mind to see what I want it to see, thru my visualization method. This brings the mind under better control and sin will not enter my heart. This is not a one-time cure all method. It has to be practiced daily. This is what I believe means to be “A Practicing Catholic”.

Also, from my experience, I have had many dreams of Jesus, most of them are reenactments of the stories in the New Testament. It is as if I am looking thru the eyes of the different apostles at different times and I get to experience Jesus thru them, I believe I see the most thru St. Peter and perhaps he is supposed to be my Patron Saint, though I like St. Benedict more. Since I have not become a full Catholic yet (RCIA process), Catholics get to experience the Eucharist, I just have my dreams of Jesus.

I believe I have seen thru the eyes of other Saints, cause I’ve seen some old structures, and though I haven’t read to much about the lives of all the saints, it’d be interesting to see if any of their stories match up with my dreams.

So you can see from my method, that besides gaining better control of your mind, nice dreams result too.

What happens if you watch a scary movie before going to sleep? Nightmares.

  • Sweet Dreams.

I might even say that it might be good to put yourself in places of mild temptation in order to work on overcoming that specific temptation. At least for situations where the temptation is likely to arise in any case in the normal course of life, it might be better to expose yourself in a controlled way. So someone struggling to control their anger might be better off exposing themselves to people who frustrate or annoy them, in part to learn how not to fly off the handle.

The Baltimore Catechism ( #207 ) says that in our Act of Contrition at Confession we promise to amend our lives. It goes on to point out that to willingly and freely place ourselves in a a situation which we can avoid and which we know will cause us to commit a mortal sin ( a near occasion of sin ), would indicate that we had no intention to amend our lives. The implication is that to place ourselves in a near occassion of sin would make our confession invalid and would, in itself, constitute a mortal sin. .

However, if we made a firm and sincere promise to amend our lives and through human weakness gave in to a near occasion, that would not invalidate the confession but might well constitute a mortal sin. This my personal opinion. Seek advice from your confessor if you are concerned.

I am not a moral theologian. So if you have a problem on this issue, you should speak to your confessor about it. For myself, I would regard such acts to be mortal sins and would require making that confession again but this time with the intention of avoiding all near occasions of sin in the future. Seek the advice of your confessor. My opinion should not be accepted as a guide to conscience formation.


The concern for me is in cases where one knows one is going to be exposed to the occasion on a frequent basis, no matter what one does. Avoidance of cases that might be an occasion for sin merely makes the blow-up that much more inevitable when a serious occasion will occur. And occur they will, because that is the nature of life. Such things as porn may be avoided, but one could hardly, say, licitly avoid one’s family merely because it leads to a near occasion of sin. In such a case it is far better to allow the temptation earlier in cases where one has a decent chance of managing it, than to run and hide until it comes to the point where the temptation is great and the situation unavoidable.

The goal itself is to amend one’s life. It is merely to amend it in a way that takes into account our own human nature. To jump straight to the worst situation is to make it all the more likely that you will fall into sin and into more serious sin.

Temptation is never a sin. Succumbing to temptation is a sin. Putting oneself in a situation that could lead to temptation, may not be wise, because of the inherent weakness of man, but it is not a sin, and could be a spiritual exercise to strengthen one’s resolve not to sin.

The Holy Spirit led Christ into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Christ did not give into the temptation of Satan and did not sin. If we follow the contention that knowingly putting ourselves into temptation is sinful, Christ sinned because he was led into temptation by the Holy Spirit, This presents a theological conundrum, in that Christ and the Holy Spirit (along with the Father) are one God, and it would present a case that God himself sinned.

The examples of other postings (looking with lust at a woman, comes to mind) is not temptation, it is acting on a temptation.

Peace and prayers!

There are some cases, I think. Doing an otherwise neutral action that one knows is going to lead to temptation, and that does not have some counterbalancing factor, will be sin. So, for example, a man who has repented of an affair should not generally go to see his former mistress alone, because he will be tempted to commit adultery again.

To think “it is only a venial sin” is not the best attitude to have. The Lord loves us without measure, and desires that we love Him the same way.

He desires this because He wants our eternal happiness.

We are human and with that we are weak. We must not deliberately place too much faith in ourselves that we will ***not ***fall into sin if we place ourselves in near occasion of sin.

In one version of the Act of Contrition, it says “I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to avoid the near occasion of sin.” One is resolving to God to avoid such occasions with all of one’s ability.

We must avoid all near occasions of sin at all expenses. Unless, as another poster wrote, it falls within the purview of our jobs or cannot be avoided as with family, etc. In which case, we should pray to overcome temptation in such unavoidable situations.

It is playing with fire if we ***purposely ***subject ourselves to these occasions with no good reason to do so. Playing with fire will ultimately get you burned.



Fr. John Corapi once compared the devil to a big mean dog on a 6 foot chain - stay out of range and you’ll be fine. Deliberately putting yourself in a situation you know will seriously tempt one to sin, is like walking within the 6 foot range of the dog - you’re likely to get bitten, and possibly mauled.

I agree with this. I might also add that as we recite the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer at mass, we ask God to “lead us not into temptation.” While this petition intends protection and grace during occasions of trial, to intentionally expose ourselves to temptation would be a deliberately contrary act to the “right petitions” our Savior encouraged us to request.

It depends on what one means. There are all sorts of* remote* occasions in life…all sorts of possible good things that one can do --where there is a possibility that some temptation may come. We would have to lock avoid many good things in life to avoid all those --and maybe knock ourselves unconscious…

(not saying here one does not still seek to avoid such often…one judges prudently such things)

Certainly one is to avoid the *near occasion *of mortal sin.

We are obliged to avoid “near occasions” of mortal sin (usually the focus is on such in this sort of question).

A near occasion of mortal sin is such where one would generally falls into mortal sin – or is what is likely to cause one to commit a particular mortal sin now. Due to the nature of thing itself or ones particular weakness.

Though there can at times be good reasons to be in them…ones confessor can guide one (necessary occasions…which one still tries to make more remote…)

I am reading a book by Thomas Merton, and while he does not say that one should not visualize Jesus, one should be aware that their own visualization comes from their own imagination, and he seems to suggest that we should grow past the stage of requiring a visualization. I think you are on the right track though. I read some of your other posts. You have really cool dreams. May God bless you and guide you.

Sometimes, as stated below, if that chain has grown abnormally long, it can be shortened by going into the pit with wise-counsel and caring helpers. Such would seem to be the goal of therapy based on role-playing in a controlled environment.

Of course, these “temptations” addressed by therapy are usually more impairments of proper human functioning due to past trauma or poor upbringing rather than totally freely-willed sins in the first place.

But, again, the temptation is not the sin, only consummating the adultery would be.

It could yes be a sin.

By our very nature, we live in temptation (see Sirach 15:14), which led to the fall of man. God did not banish man from the Garden, or block his access to the Tree of Life until after he succumbed to temptation.

We will not be judged for our human condition, only the choices of sinfulness or righteousness we make (continue on with Sirach 15:15-20).

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