Sin, Snares and Dealing with Temptation

I have a question on dealing with sin, but - before asking it - I’d like to remind everyone that we’re all in need of God’s mercy. And the fifth petition of the Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” requires us to be forgiving of each other to be forgiven ourselves. When people are in church, it sometimes seems they become like the Proud Pharisee, who thanked God he wasn’t like the contrite tax collector, who couldn’t even begin to raise his eyes to heaven - although it was actually the contrite tax collector who was seen as the more worthy of the two. Hopefully, if we can remember these admonitions, we can stave off any incendiary arguments and humble ourselves in favor of God’s mercy.

In the Bible, we hear sin as being like a “snare”, which in recent web lingo is probably something like what people nowadays call a “trigger”. Just as people can lay traps and snares, so too can people play upon your triggers, so as to provoke reactions and get a rise of a soul.

I guess my point is - the snare of sin happens… and, in fact, sin seems to happen so often, it doesn’t even seem like it happens until maybe is too late…

Without picking apart the stages that lead to sin - what I’m questioning is more like the reaction to the trigger - which can sometimes lead to worse situations… Getting reactionary to temptation or a transgression sometimes seems worse than committing the sin itself, although neither is justifiable…

If you were on a diet, for instance, and someone set a huge, tasty chocolate cake right in front of you, then you sort of see my point… The urge (whatever it is: sex, anger, fear, gluttony, sloth, etc) tends to develop a tunnel vision, which is as good as actually having sprung the trap… one can’t see objectively, until maybe one actually touches the stove, gets burned, and then learns not to touch the stove again…

My question is - how is one supposed to come back to a state of peace? Sometimes when I pray - it only makes it worse… saying fifty Hail Mary’s to avoid a temptation can almost be like reminding myself of the temptation a lot more than if I simply sinned or didnt pray at all…

I do have one possible clue to a solution, though.

I used to want to be a Priest, but never made it in. One question I asked the Vocational Directors was, “What if you want to become a Priest because you are a sinner, and you want to go somewhere to escape it?”

They told me that doesn’t work… I think it is because you can’t clean a dirty glass with dirty hands - the dirt on your hands just transfers onto the glass… You’d have to have clean hands to clean the glass… I guess, as per Spiritual Direction, one could liken the Priests role to being the designated driver a party - the designated driver can’t get drunk like everyone else, or it would make no difference…

So - what do you all do to avoid temptation? Sin? Or, if caught in a snare, how do you get out?

Pax et Bonum.

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It’s a good question ,and definitely for me I have to avoid entertaining any thoughts that lead to something else.Nipping something in the bud before it even takes root in the mind …so with say purity for my self,I avoid any scene in a book,on tv ,lyrics in music that would even start a thought that could lead to more concrete thoughts.
It has to begin with thought.
I don’t have the best of control with eating a block of chocolate …yes, I need to work on self control,but in the meantime I very rarely buy it as I know I’d eat the lot in one go.I want that self control,I want to keep working towards it.
Daily examination of thoughts and regular confession are a must.
If I feel more vulnerable to sin I increase my prayers,kiss my scapular ,use holy water and look at my holy pictures more often ,I give that threatening temptation to Jesus and ask Our Lady to help.
Hope this makes some sense :slight_smile: God bless.

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Be vigilant. Always.

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Couldn’t have said it better myself!!

Might I add: when a temptation crosses my path, physically or in thought, avoid ruminating about whether or not you entertained it bcz that leads to more thinking about the temptation. Just catch yourself, HATE the thought and know that merely having the thought without FULL consent clears you of committing the sin.

God calls us to fight the temptation and that we’ll always be plagued with them while we still have air in our lungs.

Also, if one happens to fall, then get back up, say a sincere Act of Contrition, and busy yourself with work or prayer. Don’t stay stuck in the mud! Trust in God’s mercy – as God gives it in abundance on this side of life. He wants your salvation more than you do!

Peace.

+JMJ+

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I have just reflected on Tuesday reading. 1st reading is from James 1:12-18. It touches a bit on temptation.

St. James says anyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire. Temptation does not comes from God.

The desire conceives and gives birth to sins. And sins will give birth to their children.

Interesting, isn’t it?

He goes on to say all that is good and perfect is given to us from above, from the Father, so that we will be first fruits of all he had created.

I think this is the key - when we experience temptation, we should realise that it arises from our wrong desire. This we should turn around - to stop it before it can give birth to sins. Thus, we ourselves can stop it, since it comes from us.

The ‘wrong desire’ comes from us.

So St. James says happy the man who stands firm when trials come.

God bless.

I wouldn’t over-examine sin. The word “ repent “ means to - “ turn away from “ - Jesus did that simply enough with the devil - the book of James says His commandments aren’t that difficult to keep.

I heard that Saint Francis - when arroused by the flesh - in the summer - stripped and threw himself into thorn bushes - imagine that - and in the winter, stripped naked and rolled around in the snow.

Be aware.

In formation for the Secular Franciscans, they taught us Saint Francis was a special case, and he probably wouldn’t even make it into his own order today. People might likely find him too radical.

I love Saint Francis, but - if you were tempted, stripped naked and publicly threw yourself into a bed or thorn bushes as a remedy - you’d probably get arrested. I guess you could do it in private, but - would you take your own advice?

My question assumes the person has already fallen into sin and temptation.

It asks how to find peace again?

How the “turning”, i.e. the metanoia, i.e. the conversion, is affected.

For your last question - how to get out of the snare (of sin).

I mentioned about our wrong desire that leads to temptation and sin, which can breed more sins. Perhaps this akin to being trapped in it. Sin, of course, brings about war and disharmony within ourselves.

To get out, would be to recognize our wrong desire and then convert - repent. That would be solving the root cause.

The same applies to the current state of being deep in the mess (of sin), is to convert - repent.

Other ways may be indirectly addressing the root cause but repentance (turning away and remorse) is the classic response to sin.

Make a decision to stop, come whatever may.

Fall on our knees, asking the Holy Spirit to help us with the strength to overcome.

Practical step of going to Confession, is of course, mandatory.

It can amaze us how powerful these tools may be - that we can be conqueror (of sins).

God bless.

I make sure to talk to God as if He’s right in front of me. I don’t need to recite long prayers-- I just get everything off of my chest. Tell Him everything that’s bothering you and ask Him questions if you need to; He will respond. When I’ve been devoted to the Scriptures or prayer, I have found that I no longer have a desire to view pornography or smoke weed. Fasting helps tremendously, too; it has had a positive impact on my soul.

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In spiritual combat against the Devil, you need to know your enemy well and from that knowledge form a strategy to counter his main battle plan. For in each trait of the Devil is also revealed the Devil’s weaknesses. In each weakness is revealed the flaws in his campaign against you. Upon seeing that weakness, execute your plan with boldness not expected by your foe. In that moment of surprise, it is your snare into which he will fall. Satan will lick your boots upon the battlefield of his utter defeat. And, all glory of your efforts will be to Christ.

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