After reading a vision from Don Bosco about hell, I realized I needed to change some things. One of which is who I spend time with. Some of these people who I call my friends are, how should I say, non Catholic people. They speak inappropriately they say things that get stuck in my head, like when one of them sent me a picture of a blasphemous nature that is still stuck in my head. I feel that they don’t bring me closer to God. Some of these friends don’t agree with our faith (which isn’t surprising, not many hold our views anymore) and I feel that I commit sin and experience way more temptation when I’m with them. I’m wondering what should I do? These people I work with and have classes with.
I’d do several things.
First, I’d tell them that the pictures, etc. are not appreciated. (although I don’t know how that would go over with them.)
Second, I’d minimize my time with them.
Third, I’d give a quick prayer for them at the time they did the deed (usually silently). Particularly if they say, use the Lord’s name in vain, I’d say something like “Blessed be His Name forever.”
I don’t know how any of these would be received, since I’m not there.
Are you scrupulous?
Are you sure you really do “commit sin” in these circumstances?
Does inappropriate thoughts and increasing a dirty mind that is trying to become pure count?
You are not responsible for thoughts that come to you involuntarily. No matter how much your soul and mind love Christ, your body will find as many ways to protest His Laws as it can. It is the sin of others that is affecting you, though you are responsible for your actions in response. Still, Our Lord is merciful and labors endlessly your salvation. Trust Him to carry you through the temptation.
And when you stumble and fall inevitably, He will forgive you if you sincerely repent. And He will sustain you.
We need to distinguish between the thought and the will. Understanding this difference is what eventually ended my scrupulosity last year. Christ says that it is not what enters a person that defiles him, but what comes from within. Seeing a dirty image or thinking a dirty thought is not sinful in and of themselves, unless you intentionally searched up pornography or entertained impure thoughts on purpose (especially for the purpose of arousal). It seems here, however, that your friends are sending you this kind of content, and you’re having trouble getting it out of your mind.
We do not have full control over our thoughts. What enters us (here, this sexual content) does not defile us; what comes from within (i.e. our reaction to the stimulus / suggestion) is what determines whether we have sinned. If a dirty image or thought occurs to me, or if I accidentally see a disgusting image someone texted to me, I have two options:
- Think “Hey, I like this, so I’ll stay here and feast on these thoughts and images!”
- Walk away, distract myself, and try to forget about it.
Only #1 constitutes sin. #2 can be difficult if it takes a long time to get something out of your head. But your will must not consent.
As to your situation, please tell your friends you do not want this content sent to you and for them to at least respect the Catholic faith — even if they don’t agree, it’s just common decency to be respectful at the very least. If they continue to do so, block them or something on your phone. However, if you ever DO accidentally see this kind of material, remember the reasoning above.
One more thing: if you’re not sure you gave consent, then give yourself the benefit of the doubt and assume that you did not. A man witnessing a murder doesn’t doubt whether he consented to that murder.
I would humbly add that sins of lust are both unwanted (in the soul) and intensely desired (by the body). Sometimes the fight is just too much. It’s no excuse, but I’m so thankful for Our Lord and Our Lady and Their relentless love of sinners. It’s a struggle to remember that sometimes.
And frankly, that is part of why Purgatory is such a blessing. He desires to continue to forgive and cleanse us even after death, so that we may fully experience eternal life.
Praised be Jesus and Mary.
You can go for a walk around the world, by yourself, if you think that is what you need to do. You don’t have to give all your reasons why. You just shake everyone’s hand and thank them. “It is just something I need to do.”
There are many verses in the Bible talking about believers not yolking with unbelievers, that the clean should not mix with unclean. Though you are not sinning maybe when you are with them, it is most definitely likely they could lead you to temptation in the future.
I know this because I’ve had a friend of several years behave very inappropriately, making sexual jokes basically every minute, asking me for advice about his promiscuous same sex encounters, and encouraging me to go to gay bars with him and get drunk, and gossiping. I had been friends with him before my re-version (still in the process of, of course I’m not perfect). But something snapped in me after reading spiritual books, then going to hang out with him. Whatever came from his mouth sounded like the most vile words you could imagine. I couldn’t put up with it anymore and prayed for our friendship to end. Thankfully, one night we got into the worst fight of my life, and after praying to St. Therese for it to end, it did.
When I was in that friendship, I had bad tendencies. It was much harder not to cave in and sin. Be very careful who you choose to be friends with.
Get a Spiritual Director and follow his advice to the letter. Hanging out online, (as much as we are so fond of you dear one) won’t help scruples, and will likely make them worse.
God bless you
^^^^^^^This…read forum rules regarding advice
I’m a person who struggles being assertive offline. I personally would love to stand up for the One True Faith and our Lord more than I do. It is, however, a skill one can learn. As a good friend of mine has said, the only way to become assertive is to be assertive when the opportunity arises. With time you will master the art of being assertive and defending the Faith. As she also always says, never give up, and just do it!
Following Jesus would be preferred
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