how can i see my sins?
DON'T LIVE BLIND - OPEN UP YOUR HEART AND SEE HOW YOU ARE OFFENDING GOD
The Ugly Truth
Coming to know our sinfulness is quite painful. It is how God crushes us so we will stop priding ourselves and finally be able to see, so we can humbly turn to God for help to sincerely repent and change.
“I do not give him this knowledge so that he may despair, but so that he may come to a perfect self-knowledge and shame for his sins, with hope, so that with that pain and knowledge he may pay for his sins, and appease My anger, humbly begging My mercy.”
–God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
Knowing our sinfulness is essential for salvation. Dying with just ONE sin we refuse to see ejects God’s most merciful gift of Eternal Life for that sin.
God wants us to see our great sinfulness, so we can honestly repent, but we must welcome this act of mercy into our hearts even if it will cause much pain.
We have such a hard time seeing our sins, because we want to be good. We don’t want ourselves or others to see ourselves as sinners. That is why the sacrament of reconciliation is so valuable, we have the oppertunity to tell ourselves and others and of course God, how sinful we are.
How many times has God tried to humble us into seeing our sinfulness, but we just won’t listen. Someone tells us we are doing something wrong, and we are so quick to say, “no, I didn’t.” We don’t want to see.
This is because we haven’t learned how to look honestly into ourselves but are so good at distracting our minds looking at everyone else as we unknowingly pride ourselves as not doing what they do.
Oh, it is hard work to bring to the light what we have hidden so well in the dark.
If we don’t really want to know our misery, which is going to bring about hurt, shock and sadden us, then don’t even proceed; we still won’t see enough to allow God to save our souls.
Do I sound harsh? Well, I’m trying to be harsh so the weak will leave and gain some courage before proceeding.
If done correctly, this process is going to crush us. I mean crush us. There is no gentle way (one that causes no pain) to see our great sinfulness. If we want to protect our feelings, then we don’t really want to know who we are and what we need to amend, and are still thinking we can somehow escape death.
If we are still so weak that we can’t bear the truth that we are less than wonderful, and most likely committing abominations against Our Lord…all the long as we live deceived thinking we are outside of mortal sin, then this process simply ins’t going to work.
Salvation isn’t for the weak.
Some poor deceived people make Jesus out to be some big teddy bear, who only says the kind fluffy things that make us feel good, who would never tell us we are “liars” (cf. John 8:4) or “fools” (cf. Matthew 7:26) or “abominations” (cf. Luke 16:15). If we have mistakenly done this, we simply aren’t reading The Word with eyes that can see The Truth…oh, that evil one is cunning.
God is most loving, patient, tolerant and kind…but does that mean He doesn’t preach the direct truth? Not at all. Actually, anyone who has come to know something of God, knows along with all of those qualities, He is also, quite demanding, blunt and only patient and tolerant until a point…then when we just don’t learn by His more gentle hand, He will scare us hopefully in to submission with His almighty power as The Word clearly shows us.
God will tolerate our weakness (lack of humility) for a while, but He intends to make us strong. If we have read this website and now want to know our misery, if we really want to know what we must repent and change from, so to hopefully gain enough fear of the Lord to give you a real desire to amend, so God can save us, then we must already be strong enough to handle the real truth…or we will still just justify our sins away because we can’t stand the painful reality of who we are and the sins we really love.
We must be willing to accept the fact that this honest look into our souls is going to cause us to feel horrible about ourselves (in a good way) and most likely cause us to need to remove what we enjoy most in life.
If we aren’t willing to see what terrible children of God we really are and how little we really love God…if we aren’t willing to surrender all we run to for happiness (our idols) so to truly love God and not the world, then we must surrender to the reality of our eternal demise instead, so we can keep what is killing us.
However, if we are willing to honestly see and admit our horrendous sinfulness and are willing to remove all of our deadly attachments, then GREAT JOY awaits us. Oh, we won’t loose our incredible sadness over our sins…and people just won’t understand why we are so crushed from our misery, but along side of knowing our horrible sinfulness, God–at the same time–will fill us with such great hope for salvation, we will be filled with wonderful peace.
Then after after we seek mercy to remove some of our horrid sins and much sin leaves, our relationship with God will improve GREATLY. God will envelop us with such love it will be beyond any joy or pleasure we could possible receive from any worldly indulgence. And if we continue repenting and changing–growing in greater love of God and contrition for our sins–until our last hour, we will receive the reward of Eternal Life. Praise God for wonderful self-knowledge.
We Can’t Live the Lie
But yet, sadly most won’t obtain this joy. Many “say” we want to see our sins, but for most our desire simply isn’t true. Some we will see a few sins, only for a moment, and know our great need for mercy. Then from still having a great love for sin, we will go right back to living our life just the same…not motivated to change but re-justifying our life of sin.
Most don’t want to see our failures to live a faithful, devout life, and work hard to change, since we prefer to think we are good, but in reality, we are dying from blindness because of it.
We all have different sins that are killing us, but most have come to pride ourselves on the “good” we do, and we are now neglecting our souls–not working to truly live the faith, and suffer from presumption of salvation and are perishing into eternal anguish.
“A man reckons himself as devout because he repeats many prayers daily, although at the same time he does not refrain from all manner of angry, irritating, conceited or insulting speeches among his family and neighbors.
This [other] man freely opens his purse in almsgiving [donating money], but closes he heart to all gentle and forgiving feelings towards those who are opposed to him; while that [other] one is ready enough to forgive his enemies, but will never pay his rightful debts save [unless] under pressure. Nevertheless, they are in no true sense really devout.”
–St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church
Oh, we don’t want to be like that…ignoring our sinfulness because of the “good” we see ourselves doing, thinking we are devout. But tragically, most of us do just that. We will have to work hard to change especially at first before we receive much of God’s grace. But after receiving God’s mercy, God’s yoke will become easy and His burden light.
What is a Sin?
Before we can see our sins, we need to learn what is a sin.
A sin: is doing or desiring anything that isn't to know, serve, or love God...any thing in our thoughts, words, or actions that isn't for God's honor and glory.
Ponder that statement for a little…a sin is anything we do that isn’t to better know, serve or love God. A sin is anything we do for self-love….anything not for God’s honor and glory.
“Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Yikes! How much do we do that doesn’t fit into that category? Everything outside of that is a sin.
Some people will want to know if something is a sin and will receive very poor instruction, since those guiding us quite confused and are actually justify bounds of crimes we commit against God. Knowing if something is sinful or not is really quite simple. If we don’t do something for God…truly for His honor and glory, it is most certainly a sin. Please don’t be deceived.
Remember we are supposed to give our life to God…not ourselves but seeking to become a true Christian, who does everything like Christ. This is our goal for literally every, thought, word or deed we have.
If we still aren’t sure if what we are doing is truly good, then look into the mirror and ask ourselves if what we are doing, thinking or saying is what Jesus or a perfect saint would do so Christ and His love could dwell in us and not our sinful desires.
“I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Another great way to see ourselves is to ask ourselves, if someone else were to look at you, listen to you, or know your thoughts, would they say, “yes, you are a true saint, who truly loves God with all of their heart and their neighbor as themselves”? Would someone say you dress like a saint (modestly), speak like a saint (reserved, pure, without slander or idol chatter), think like a saint (in constant prayer so to not do anything outside of God’s will), and work like a saint (hard for the salvation of souls)? If not we must change…those are our sins.
Anything that a saint wouldn’t do we don’t want to do either.
So lets look into our life and our time, how are we spending our precious time; is it with God-doing His will or with the world and its pleasures? Have we made God what we truly desire?
How about that show we chose to watch before we went to bed last night? Why did we watch that? Was it to know, serve or love God? If not, then we desire the world over God.
Not sure why we do what we do? Then ask yourself, do we think God wants us to relax with the world or with Him before we sleep? Who or what do we desire/long for at the end of our day? Is it God or some thing else? Perhaps we seek time with a loved one or some other useless worldly pleasure?
Have we made our family/friends our idols? Is that really what our hearts desire? Maybe it is our lustful passions? We prove what we desire by our actions. Oh, how easy it is to long for them and not God.
Where is our heart…is it truly with God or sadly still with the world?
The main reason we can’t see our sins is because we try to justify them.
If the saints don’t do or wouldn’t do something, why do we justify our behavior, which is opposed to theirs, as acceptable?
Just look at ourselves. What are our priorities? Doing God’s will alone? Oh, we might say that but our reality is far different. What is it that we do which is opposed to the saints? Are we concerned with vanity? Do we seek to look good and feel good…have nice clothes, a nice car, nice friends, nice food, nice things, nice piggy bank? Was this what the saints sought after. No, the saints sought the opposite of those things…just like Christ. There focus was completely off of themselves and 100% focused on them being seen as nothing so Christ could be everything. But we don’t even see wanting those “nice” things as sinful…well let me explain:
People in general don’t want to do wrong, so the reason we constantly sin is because we have justified our sins as good. Therefore, we need to come to see how we rationalize our sins if we want to see them.
For example: From coming to see her great sinfulness, a wife has learned how to obtain salvation and has amended many of her ways. However, her husband hasn’t grown to this place in his spiritual life. So to try to save his soul, she has tried to enlighten him to his errors so he can change and walk towards the path of Life.
At first, from his pride, he was offended at such “help,” but over time–from seeing her change and her great efforts to see her own sins–he humbled himself enough to at least listen to her.
Yet, she finds her words mostly in vain because he simply does’t want to see his sinfulness and comes up with a different justification as to why he isn’t sinning with almost every word of enlightenment or proof she gives.
This is sadly common for two reasons…we like our sin and don’t want to stop committing them and/or we don’t want to think of ourselves as a sinner.
We tend to become most offended and defensive when sins we love the most or want to hide are brought to the light. The more upset or defensive we become towards someone accusing us of sinning, even if their claim isn’t true (but we should never assume such a thing–always carefully examine our conscience for even part truths), however, we we are upset, if nothing else our poor reaction to correction lets us know of our great deadly pride we suffer from (not wanting to be corrected or be seen as less than who we believe we are).
This upsetness we experience should be a great eye opener for those of us who want to see our sinfulness, but have not yet received enough grace to immediately be grateful for such criticism. Therefore, if we want to see, we must pay attention to our emotions…they can tell us much.
Many of us are at least humble enough to think about what someone said later, even if they initially became angry, so to have at least some hope of not remaining blind. But even for those who can reflect later on what was said, for us to stay concerned over our sin–enough to put forth effort to change–takes much grace, which sadly, most don’t have. Sadly, most only stay concerned for a moment and then all concern over their sin/salvation (fear of the Lord) leaves and they resume their life with little or no change.
Until our pride is crushed and we truly see our doom is evident, we won’t acknowledge our sinfulness, even if we think we don’t want to sin; we like to pride ourselves as being not very sinful. Therefore, when someone shows us our misery, we don’t want to look if in fact they are correct and admit we are sinning, so we look for how we aren’t sinning instead.
This is the mind set of death. I can’t express how we must banish this “I didn’t do it” attitude our pride drives us into thinking. We must work hard seeking God’s grace to stop reacting to our emotions (especially if we lack grace to naturally desire to see our misery) and listen WANTING TO LEARN OUR SINFULNESS or we will die blind. This is especially important when someone below us in society status speaks to us, as much of the time God speaks His most impactful words to us through the least of His children.
When someone talks to us, please know that moment is allowed by God for us to learn for the salvation of our souls. What does God want to teach us is the question? There are so many things. But perhaps, this person might have great enlightenment for us or perhaps they might not. But we need to be ready if they God is going to use them to help us see our sinfulness or not.
If we don’t listen wanting to love them and learn, we won’t hear God speaking to us. If they say something meant to show us our sinfulness, and our pride won’t listen to them, then we miss God sending His love to us and we will just continue blindly in our life of sin.
“It is pleasing to God when a man begins to notice His actions in the heart, because He is the Light and the Truth, whilst the Devil especially fears this, being himself darkness and falsehood; and the darkness cannot come to the light for fear its doing shall be revealed. The Devil is powerful only through darkness, deceit, and falsehood; reveal his falsehood, place it before the light, and all will disappear.”
–St. John of Kronstadt
The Causes of Sin
If we want to know what causes us to sin…here it is. The lack of hatred for sin is the main reason we sin, which is from our desire to sin (concupiscence CCC #405, #418) which results in our idols, neglect and maliciousness.
Lets look at the three main causes of sin and what they are:
Want of Pleasure
Take the Test
Ok, since we have such a hard time seeing our sins, I have a test to help us. This test can be very enlightening, if done correctly.
I have two tests.. The tests, “How Well Do You Know _________ [fill in your name]” is for ourselves and someone else who knows us pretty well…a spouse, child, parent, friend, colleague, etc. The more opinions you can get about you, the better.
This test is to find out more concretely what we and others think we like, love, hate, desire…what angers us, brings us joy, causes us to sin, what we like to do and don’t like to do, what we do for others, what we like others doing for us, how we show we care, what we don’t care about, and much more. All of these answers, the positives and negitives will help us to see our sinfulness.
I can’t tell us how to read or use the test before it is taken or it will ruin the test and make it ineffective (at least the part we will fill out). Therefore, PLEASE DON’T READ the “How to Use This Test” before it is taken. Its like cheating on a test and it is guaranteed to taint our answers.
Also, please only tell someone, whom you give the test to, that this is to help you know yourself better and you would appreciate their blatant honesty…nothing more. Plus, this test isn’t good to give to someone who can’t be honest and is known for over complementing and placating others trying to make people happy.
The First Thing
When we are first looking to remove our sins, we only need to worry about amending what God has allowed us to see, unless of course we can’t see any. But even then, a standard examination is good enough. Click this link for basic examination of conscience for help.
A regurlar examination–the basic, intermediary and then advance examination–is enough, if we have desire.
This in-depth look into our sinfulness isn’t necessary to start amending. However, this in-depth look into our soul is mostly done to help us to understand our great misery so to increase our understanding of our eternal doom that awaits us if we don’t change. And therefore increases our desire to leave sin to follow God.
But like I said, it isn’t needed to begin walking towards the path of Life, if we do have a great desire to amend our ways.