The Razor’s Edge

Once something is a near occasion of sin for a person, does that always have to be the case?

It seems to me that what constitutes a near occasion for someone depends on who this person is at the time. At one point in life, something may be a serious trap for someone whereas, at another point, it’s hardly an issue.

For example, consider a teenage boy for whom purity is a problem. Nine times out of ten when he’s alone and goes on his computer, he’s looking at naked women. So, yes, his private home desktop is a near occasion for him.

However, take this same kid when he’s 25 and married. He’s completely different person. Most notably, his throbbing biological urges are no longer banging at the door. Furthermore, with all sorts of new concerns on his mind, pornography is probably just a waste of time at this point. It seems hard to advance the position that even now using the computer alone is a near occasion for him. His mind is totally changed.

At any rate, don’t get too hung up on the example. The bottom line is, are near occasions of sin permanent, or is it possible for enough personal change to occur such that past temptations are no longer stumbling blocks?

No. A person who grows in charity can come to recognize the harm brought on by specific sins, or the benefit that accrues from avoiding those sins, and learn to reject them.

A child might easily be tempted to take another person’s property just because it’s there. This impulse might be restrained only by the fear of getting caught and punished. Later in life he may feel disinclined to steal by considering his honor or pride. Eventually he may recognize that theft causes hardship or inconvenience to the other person, and find it abhorrent. At this point he can break free of temptation to that kind of sin.

Can you think of how someone might break free of other kinds of temptation?

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