What makes something a sin?


If you feel guilty or not afterwards? Does motivation/intention count? What about ignorance? If you do not know, believe, or agree that something is a sin, is it no longer a sin?

I have heard blasphemy of Holy Spirit is when someone goes against something they know in their hearts is wrong.

I have also heard sin is a continuum. Although fornication is a sin, there is a difference between a romantic couple having sex versus prostitute soliciting sex.

There is difference between someone using foul language because something fell on their pinky toe. Ouch. :wink: Someone just using foul language in an everyday conversation.

I thought about it. Two people can steal, but for very different reasons. Some people cannot afford necessities of life. Some people simply steal for their thrill. There are teenagers who steal for to be cool or “bad.”

In the end, unfortunately, no matter what you think, sin hurts someone, maybe not the perpetrator.

I guess God will reward and punish us justly.


Have you read the Catechism’s section on sin?


No. I just wondered. What if you honestly do not care? Can someone be very knowledgeable about sins, yet still choose to do it. A lot of people think people sin because they are misinformed. If I fully understood the gravity of a particular sin, I will probably would not do it or too scared. I still do not understand sins of the heart either. There are things I fantasize about it or would love to do but I am WAY TOO SCARED of the consequences. How are thoughts sins though?


If you enjoy it,don’t do it,


That thoughts can be sin is clear from Scripture.

Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves,

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.


The catechism is a good reference for understanding what sin is. Many sins are committed through weakness, but many sins are also deliberate and/or malicious.

God’s love is the cause of any goodness in us, so the best means of avoiding sin is to have a strong, childlike faith in His love, and to correspond generously with His grace. The more we love God, the more He will enlighten us as to the nature of sin, as well as the extent of His goodness. Spiritual reading is also very important. Blosius (Ven. Louis de Blois) is an excellent spiritual guide! He is very balanced, gentle, clear and inspiring: archive.org/stream/bookofspirituali00bloi#page/n31/mode/2up

Many holy souls are very fond of his writings, including Bl. Dom Marmion and St. Alphonsus.


Foul language is foul language. Context has nothing to do with it.
It’s FOUL.
There’s not any “good way” or “acceptable way” to commit sin…


Foul language is foul, no matter the situation. Just because a person feels justified, doesn’t make it acceptable.

Disordered sex is disordered sex. You don’t say anything about the romantic couple being married. Sex is in itself not sinful. Having sexual contact outside of marriage is sinful. The profession of the people involved doesn’t factor in. Who cares if it’s a hooker or a sweet young woman? They both commit sin. For very different reasons, but still sinful activity.

Stealing is always a sin. It doesn’t matter why. It’s not yours. You can’t help yourself to something that is not yours. It’s one of the 10 Commandments after all. It’s serious.
If someone stole your car, and they later said “well, but I needed it for work” you wouldn’t feel less harmed. You’re still a victim of their selfish desires.

Read the catechism on this as others have recommended.


I see sin as an action which goes against the nature of something. It is that going against the nature which makes it sinful, because the will of God is that the nature of things be respected.

Some people are apparently ignorant of the sinful nature of some acts, but God asks about this if it was the person’s fault they were ignorant? If the person felt it was sinful and did it anyway? Or if the person were truly ignorant beyond his own fault?

As to thoughts, they violate our own nature. As a priest I heard explained it (if I get this right), our intellects are made for truth. When our desires conflict with good, our intellect is asked to justify an act which is bad. Thus, our intellect is harmed when we allow our thoughts to *dwell *on evil acts.

Have you seen Breaking Bad, or read a book like Heart of Darkness or even Lord of the Flies? Committing evil acts is not freeing or conducive to anything good; instead, people just feel icky about themselves. Don’t envy those caught up in a life of sin, consider the amazing goodness of saints, who are truly free.


Here’s a story of someone who did as he pleased.


A mortal sin requires full knowledge, full consent of will, and grave matter. If any of those are missing, the act is not a mortal sin, but whether it is venial or not is… complicated.

Our incorrect beliefs may, lessen our culpability (responsibility/guilt) for a particular objectively wrong act, but cannot change that the act itself was objectively wrong.

In short, an action is sinful insofar it puts something (typically our own selfish desires) before God and what is actually good and true.


There is a fine between saying a bad word because something fell on your pinky toe versus freely using foul language. There is harsher consequences of willingly prostituting yourself versus having sex in a loving union. There is a difference between poor man stealing money to survive versus young people who just do not want to pay or love the rush of theft.

People make mistakes. Sometimes I think calling something a sin sounds just so harsh. I have bad days. I seems like the one way to be a good Christian to be on your best behavior at all times. Does this happen with anyone? No. Even if I am on my best behavior, I may still in my thoughts or failure of action.


Well the thing is that we do all mess up at times. We try to avoid that; with God’s grace we can do better, but overall, we mess up.

But for a Catholic, this is not the end of the world! We have Confession! So, we mess up, we apologize to God, and the we try to do better, with the additional help He gives us through Confession.

And do not forget that in order tk be sinful, our thoughts have to be agreed to by us. Random thoughts which cross our minds are not sins, they are just temptations. As soon as we notice that our thoughts have gone in that direction, we can either agree to co tinue down that path, or shake those thoughts off while praying for help to keep them away. Only one of these is sinful.


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