What is a sin?

When suddenly a thought comes in your mind saying: i want to punch him! and then you stop that thought. Or when you actually think or intend to punch him?

Random thoughts such as this - quickly dismissed - are not a sin.
They are more of a “flaw in our sanctity” - an area that needs work as we grow in holiness.

Or when you actually think or intend to punch him?

Dwelling on it or “intending” to do harm would be a sin.

Caveat - The above is true in most cases. However according to church teaching, it is legitimate to use force in the defense of ones self or another.


Fleeting thoughts are not a sin. If you think about punching someone briefly because they cut you off on the freeway but quickly forget about it as you head home, that is not a sin. There is no culpability.

If you follow them home for half an hour and punch them when they exit their car then that is a sin, you have had ample time to think about what you are going to do, you know that it is a sin and you did it anyway.

Friend, a sin requires consent and knowledge. Do you consent to have a thought pop in your head? I know I don’t. They simply appear there. This is not a sin.

OK if that is the case then what if I see a pretty woman walk by and I have an impure thought about her and continue on never thinking of her again. Is that still adultery? Or if I smash my finger and yell out in pain using the lords name in vain. Is that a sin?

There are varying degrees of sin, and very rarely is it a black and white issue. If you see a pretty woman woman walk by, and an impure thought comes into your mind, what did you do with that thought? Did you make a conscious effort to get the thought out of your mind, or did you allow yourself to hold on to the thought? See the difference? We can’t control the random thoughts that come into our mind. We can control what we do with them once they are there.

Apart from the “basic sins” all Catholics know there are variety of venial and also mortal sins. It depend on what you do. If you look at a pretty girl it is OK, God made her pretty, but if you think about to sleep with her it is a sin. Usually if you do something that make you feel bad, you have sinned, or done something you do not know is wrong, and then it is not a sin.

I have been reading your questions and you seem to have a lot to ask. I am a new member here and are trying to adapt, so my answers are not always so complete as I would like them to be. I just don’t know how far I can go. But I would suggest that you make an appointment with your priest. Make a list of those things you have doubt’s about, and those you need a accurate (I do not mean your answers, dear fellow members on CAF is in any way wrong) answers to. That could give you peace of mind and you will feel better. How does that sound like? Could you do it? And all other members, please tell me if I go to far or offend anyone. (However, I don’t want a thread “how wrong Lasting faith is”)

Oh lookit, my dear, you will find some here that will pummel you with sarcasm to the point of screaming and running for the door or the “enter” key. :eek: Then there are the rest of us. OH BOY I can just see the reaction if the subject was: Lasting Faith is Wrong. ROFL!!! Just like anywhere else on the internet (and IRL), there are sensitives, kind, charitable, loving, indifferent, angry, confused, insulting…ad infinitum. I think your observation of the OP is correct, he needs consolation and the guidance of a good spiritual director because all of his worries are keeping him from receiving peace and experiencing the love and mercy of Christ.

The Gospel says if you “Look at a woman with lust” it is adultery. Now consider that statement. “Looking at” is different than simply “seeing” Our eyes are constantly seeing things and evaluating them in certain very basic ways like - what is that, is it in my way etc…very basic evaluations.
“Looking at” something is somewhat different in that it tends to engage more of the conscious mind. In case of a female person, the mind says not only “what is that” but “is she pretty” - “nice clothes” etc…
It is at this point that we begin to move from random thought to a possible temptation to sin. As the consciousness is engaged…we must decide what to do with the random thought(s) that have popped up.

As to things like shouting in pain or other things we might do from bad habit and/or without thinking…These things fall more under what is called in business…“opportunities for improvement”. The may not be an outright non-conformance (sin) but they certainly point to a weak spot in the system (our character) and we should consider addressing the matter so as to improve (grow in holiness).

Today’s Gospel was about loving our enemies - and concluded with Mt 5:48 - you must be perfect (in love) as your heavenly Father is perfect.
A high bar indeed - and one we cannot achieve instantaneously…we must continue to strive, by God’s grace, to improve.


Thank you all for your thoughts. JRKH yours were especially helpful to me. As to being offended by Lasting Faiths reply I say we all have a right to our opinions but referring someone to a priest is never a bad thing.

Thank you and God bless. I feel better. I am new to web-forums and I try to do what is right, and trying to find new friends. You know, with enough friends you don’t need enemies.

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