Will god punish me and
others for my sins
God's Love Includes Punishment
“Is God punishing me for my sins?”
From God touching our hearts, many people have this question. But most never interpret that question in our hearts as God seeking to enlighten us to our sinfulness. Therefore, we never act upon God’s call to repent and change since the devil has deceived many into thinking that our God of love and mercy doesn’t punish, but that just isn’t true.
Punishments for our sins are most certainly real and our sins affect others too.
“The discipline of the Lord, my son, do not spurn [reject]; do not disdain his reproof [correction]; For whom the Lord loves he reproves [hoping he will repent and be saved]” (Proverbs 3:11-12).
God loves us but that absolutely doesn’t mean He doesn’t punish us for our wrongs. Sure God wants us happy in this life, but if ignoring His commands and letting us commit our sins over and over again occurs, which leads us to our eternal doom, God will choose to punish us, especially if we didn’t respond to His other calls to change. Sometimes our punishments will be great. But it is all done to awaken us to our great need to repent and change. He wants us saved!
Love Must Punish to Save
Horribly, from the deception of the evil one, to keep us complacent with our offences against God and not concerned about punishment–so we lack motivation to change and die in our sins–we just don’t see nor understand God’s loving/healing punishments and even pretend like they don’t exist.
We might ask others, “Does God punish us?” or “Why do I feel god is punishing me?” but please understand most have been tricked into thinking love doesn’t punish, that Jesus took away our punishments, but that just isn’t true; LOVE MUST PUNISH TO SAVE.
“Those whom I love, I reprove [correct] and chastise [punish]. Be earnest, therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).
So, if we find ourselves under God’s punishments, consider ourselves loved…God is trying to save us. Praise Jesus!
Therefore, if we feel God is punishing us for our past or current sins, most likely, He is. Let’s learn what good God seeks to have come out of our punishments, as all God allows is for the good of our souls to bring us to a life and eternity of great peace.
We NEED Our Punishments (Crosses) to Save Our Souls
- Deterrent away from sin,
- Enlightenment to our sinfulness,
- Cross to carry with Christ to console God for all the sins committed against Him,
- Test of our faith so we don’t remain in the dark,
- Means to send and receive grace to help us and others obtain help on earth and Eternal Life,
- Penance to atone for our sins and help sanctify and purify our souls.
Our crosses are so we can gain a SAVING FAITH which truly despises our trespasses and loves God instead. It is by way of the cross, that we will find Christ–Our Savior.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
To accept God’s saving forgiveness He died to give us, we need a faith that doesn’t desire to continue in any of our sins, so we can obtain complete forgiveness of them. And our crosses are meant to help us remove any and all desire for sin.
Loving Parents’ Punish
If we look into our own lives, many can understand God’s fatherly punishing–a form of loving discipline–clearly in how we love our children. What parent would see their child playing ball near a cliff and not warn their child of the danger? Jesus has done the same for us in His Word as He warns us over and over again of the eternal danger of sin.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 17:21).
God wills us to obey His Word, which is how we keep from falling off God’s safe path into the pit of Hell. If our child didn’t heed our warning and avoid the cliff when playing, we wouldn’t care if they might become angry with us, we would surly punish him hoping from his suffering, he would come to understand the gravity of the situation and amend his ways before he loses his life…and Jesus does the same for us.
“He chastises us, it is because we have obliged him to do so by our sins…He shows himself angry towards us, in order that we may amend our lives and that thus [after we repent/change] he may be able to pardon and save us.”
–St. Alphonsus, Doctor of the Church
As parents, we love our children. We don’t want to punish them but if it is necessary, we certainly will. Many kids wouldn’t obey at all if there wasn’t the fear of punishment…they haven’t grown to truly love their parents above themselves and need that fear to make right choices.
Without laws and punishments we would be in a lawless world. God has the same laws and punishments to help keep us on the straight and narrow path to salvation, so we can grow in true love of Him but most don’t follow them nor see our punishments, and we are walking to our doom.
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved [corrected] by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges [hoping he learns the Way]” (Hebrews 12:5-6).
Remedy for Our Illness (Desire for Sin)
Our punishments are meant to heal us and others of our great desire for sin: which is any sin we don’t truly hate. The reason we don’t really hate any sin is because we still have some kind of liking for it. How can we truly hate any sin if we don’t even seek God’s transforming grace to stop? How many sins do we commit and hardly put any effort into amending?
Yes, each habitual sin is a sin we desire (don’t truly want to stop). That is why we continue to commit them; we have some unknown or known liking for the sin. We just don’t hate that sin enough to seek God’s transforming mercy nor do we do what is necessary to amend them.
Therefore, if we want to Live, we must learn how to amend all of our habitual sins, especially our greatly serious sins as they are most damaging, since they reject so much grace, which keeps us from knowing the Way and amending other sins.
Since God wants us saved and the lack of true sorrow for just ONE SIN reject’s God’s most merciful gift of Eternal Life, from God’s love, He will do what is necessary to awaken us to the seriousness of sin and our great need to repent and change so we can develop a truly contrite heart for all of them.
Therefore, we must grow into a saving faith by coming to know our sins we don’t truly hate, obtaining God’s grace so we can grow into a truly sorrowful heart that detests every sin–lose our desire for them–so to accept God’s forgiving mercy He died to give us, that is if we want to avoid eternal torment. Please click here to learn more.
“The souls in hell having been found at the moment of death with a will [desire] to sin [any sin], have with them an infinite degree of guilt; and the punishment they suffer, though less than they deserve [because of the infinite degree of guilt from one sin], is yet, so far as it exists, endless.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa
This eternal punishment and rejection of mercy occurs from just one unrepented/unstopped mortal sin, because of the infinite injury one sin causes upon Perfect Goodness. But we must know, the more serious the sin the greater injury it causes upon God, others and ourselves and the further away we fall from God and Eternal Life. And God, who loves us despite all the sins we commit, is trying to save us from them. He wants to show us the Way. We need to listen to Him.
With each sin we commit, we:
- caused God’s suffering/crucifixion,
- crush His Sacred Heart of Love, who only wants us to love Him (not offend Him),
- reject God’s grace: His help for us to avoid additional sin,
- reject His assistance on earth with life’s problems and to serve Him well,
- harm our relationship with Him–reject His love,
- hurt our and others lives from the negative consequence of sin,
- lose sight of the Way to Heaven (not know what is really God’s will/good),
- walk away from God and closer to the evil one to our eternal doom (if unrepented and not stopped).
God, who loves us very much–more than we could fathom–who doesn’t want us to suffer the loss of Eternal Life with Him from our unrepented/unchanged sins, who has tried other means to guide us away from sin and to the Light, will–like any good parent–punish us for our sins, so we have some motivation to change. But so sadly, most don’t see His warning (mercy) nor change and are rejecting Him for some horrid sin and succumb to God’s judgement/justice.
“Because My love is great, that is why I warn and chastise (punish) them.”
–Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary #1703
From fear of punishment or from the punishment itself, we should be motivated to avoid sin or change to stop our sins, so we can truly reject all sin, desire God alone, and accept His saving mercy for Eternal Life. But we have been deceived.
God Has Always Punished
From the beginning of humanity Our Father has always punished. We see this from the first punishment of Adam and Eve, to Sodom and Gomorrah, to King David and to the man Jesus healed but warned him “do not sin any more, so that nothing worse [a greater punishment] may [not] happen to you” (John 5:14), and much more. Punishments have been happening over and over again as God tries to teach us His blessed ways. But the devil has blinded us to God’s ways and confused us to what love really is.
“Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity [sex outside of marriage] and practiced unnatural vice [homosexuality, unnatural sex], serve as an example [of God’s punishments for unrepentant sinners] by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
Yes, if we don’t heed God’s prior punishments and warnings, our final punishment will be eternal.
Yet, from being tricked and removing our fear of the Lord (fear of sin), we do whatever “feels good” or whatever “makes us happy” thinking that is truly good, while we are in fact violating God’s law and even promoting sin. We have lost the Way, but God from His unfathomable love is still trying to get us to see our sinfulness to save our souls.
All Suffering is Punishment
When God allows us to suffer, from the slightest insult or inconvenience to the greatest pain or loss, it is a punishment and correction…exactly what we need to move towards gaining the grace needed to obtain Eternal Life and grow into a perfect saint.
“Whenever we suffer some affliction, we should regard it both as punishment and as correction.”
–St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church
Every cross can help us grow in wonderful holiness through God’s punishments and corrections. But most of us don’t understand the cross.
We see the love of the cross in the saints, but sadly some don’t understand the lives of the saints, who suffered greatly for souls and rejoiced in God’s punishments. Sure the saints also cried for mercy for the souls, who didn’t have God’s grace to carry their crosses or impending crosses and sought to carry them for the weak or begged God to abate His anger, because those without grace can die from their crosses.
However, these poor deceived souls, who don’t understand the cross, believe God does’t want us to suffer. But He surely does, since our suffering saves…at least for those who can obtain ears that can hear.
Sure, in a certain sense, God does’t want us to suffer. Who wants the ones you love to suffer. He wants us to live in Eternal Bliss with no suffering/sin at all. But since we are so fallen, we must suffer to be saved. He wants us to take our medicine–suffering. But with a heart of gratitude for the cross…knowing its cure. So in joy of the cross–suffering when necessary, we won’t have to suffer in Hell for all eternity.
Lessons From the Cross
Most don’t want to think God is punishing us when something horrible happens but remember, punishments help us. When we are suffering, we need to discern what kind of punishment God is allowing us to bear and how or if we need to change so we don’t suffer in vain.
- direct consequence of sin–motivation to repent, stop or avoid repeating a sin,
- teach us God’s blessed ways–learn from our wrongs or the wrongs of others,
- find Jesus–grow in faith by turning to Him for grace in times of trouble,
- test us–to see if we have enough grace to remain in peace from trust (faith) in God knowing all that is allowed is good,
- follow Christ’s example of suffering–grow in His image (change our self-indulging behavior), console God, and offer up our pain to send grace for the salvation of souls, just like Jesus did.
“Whoever claims to abide in Him ought to live as He lived” ( 1 John 2:6).
Path of Life or Death
Our punishments, which are there whether we choose to see them or not, greatly affect us and our neighbors in our daily lives. They bring much pain and suffering, but that affliction, offers us a choice…to walk towards Life or death…to come to know God more greatly or to run from Him.
When something goes wrong, whether it is a direct punishment from God because of a specific sin we committed or not, depending upon what path we choose to take, that pain can bring us towards Eternal Life and into a fantastic relationship with God or bring us into complaints, anger, and worry leading to our eternal doom.
- Repentance, Change and Trust or
- Self-Pity, Anger and Despair
With all suffering, we have a choice to reject God or trust in Him, become angry or trust in Him, dwell in self-pity, become worried or live in despair wanting our will or trust in Him.
When we trust in God, we are in peace and we learn and grow in holiness from each cross, that is if we firmly believe all that God allows, God can–if we trust in Him–make it good; it will become a blessing. I’m not saying God will necessarily removes the consequence (yet, sometimes He does), but God will bring much good out of any circumstance.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
If God allows everything for our good if we love/trust Him, then we need to learn how to really love God. Loving God is much more than a thought. We love God by wanting to change our lives to more perfectly obey Him (seeking perfection), repenting when we do wrong and working to stop our sin, while trusting in Him to lead us closer to a saving faith (true love) from all circumstances. Truly, God will lead us towards what to do next–how to follow His will into a life of peace–if we look and learn in all moments of our lives.
Our life tragedies won't wear us down but build us up. We will grow in wonderful peace and into the image of Christ...that is if we LIVE OUR FAITH.
Learn from Our Suffering
To learn from our suffering and not suffer in vain, lets look at each of our afflictions in life. God wants to teach us. “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4).
“It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your statutes” (Psalm 119:71)
For example: Lets say our spouse says something demeaning to us. For most, that is a small amount of suffering, but our spouse should love and respect us. Being treated poorly hurts us. However, that treatment could be a direct consequence of our sin. Perhaps we didn’t treat our spouse very well and from his lack of grace, he simply reciprocated sin in return. Therefore, we can learn God’s blessed ways from seeing our error and working to sin no more.
“You cause a person’s sins [there consequence] to be the occasion for humility [knowledge of our weakness, misery and need for mercy], discretion [encouragement to avoid sin], and diligence [want persevere in seeking perfection].”
–St. John of Avila
If we can’t bear that kind of demeaning treatment from our spouse in peaceful silence, we can turn to God and find His merciful assistance (more grace) to help us carry that cross so we can live in peace in all circumstances.
When we are treated poorly and that treatment doesn’t bother us at all, because from God’s grace, we are humble and don’t demand or expect any kindness/respect (knowing our great sinfulness and how we deserve nothing) and rejoice in our crosses and the grace they send, then we passed God’s test and are LIVING OUR FAITH. If we didn’t pass, then we know we still need much grace and must repent and change. Now, from that cross, we are no longer blind to the misery that lives within, but clearly see if we are living the faith or not.
With this cross and all crosses, we can follow Christ’s example and grow in His image into greater love of God and our neighbor as we suffer for the salvation of souls.
Here is another example: Lets say we are in a car accident and loose our ability to use our hand. This is a large cross. When a large cross occurs (and there are countless of them) there is a greater potential to grow in faith, because it takes greater trust in God to carry a large cross. Therefore, if we can trust immediately or even grow in trust, our heart will be more open to receive great transforming grace from God. The larger the cross the greater grace we can accept (depending upon our the amount of true trust we have in God); therefore the more we can grow.
A lot of the times, our large crosses occurred as a direct consequence of our sin, but not always…sometimes they are for us to grow in great faith and trust or to test our faith in a big way and send us fantastic grace. But most of the time, it is a consequence of our great sin. However, “where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more” (Romans 5:20). If we repent, God will make all bad good, if we look for His blessing, learn His blessed Ways and trust in Him. Even if we don’t quite see our misery for the cross and never repent, if we turn to God with a desire to trust, we can have some growth from the cross.
Of course we might have gotten into the accident because we ran a red light, but if we are being punished because of our sin, that isn’t the sin that caused God to allow this consequence to occur. God doesn’t send us great consequences unless we deserve them. Therefore there is a sin that is very grave. Sure, running a red light is bad, but that sin doesn’t merit the punishment of losing one’s hand. The sin is probably more on the level of: ignoring God’s calling in our life, sexual immorality, abortion, leaving the faith, hating-having great unforgiveness-for someone, and countless other reasons.
The only way to see the sin we are guilty of is if we want to know it.
All crosses are so we can grow in faith for the salvation of our souls, but if our cross is from a direct punishment from our sins, we will need to repent, and if we are still committing that sin, we must stop…and desire to grow in faith (seek to never sin any sin again).
If God gave us a large cross like the death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, great sickness or anything very painful for us to deal with, we don’t have to lose the grace God intended us to have from that cross even if it occurred many years ago.
Now that God has blessed us with knowledge of the beauty of the cross, we can go to God today and examine our conscience and ask God to teach us WHY we were allowed to suffer that punishment. Hopefully, if we are being punished for sin, we can come to know God’s ways (what is a sin and what isn’t) and humble ourselves enough to gain self-knowledge (knowing our sinfulness) and so we can see our crime or even many crimes against God that would have lead to us being punished. If we do gain self-knowledge, then, we can repent for not trusting, not learning, nor noticing our sin (if that were the case). After we repent, with a humble contrite heart, God will send us grace. The blessing of the cross will be restored (or at least some of what we could have obtained).
With any cross, to know what God’s will is for our suffering, we need look into our heart through prayer and read the Word–come to know what is sinful– and then examine our conscience. Much of the time, if we are open at all, God will tell our hearts why we are suffering. We will know if He is punishing us for a specific sin or if it is to grow in trust/faith, etc.
If God told our hearts we are suffering from our sinfulness, we won’t have to look hard to know what it is. We will know. We just need to be willing to admit it. Then we need to repent (truly hate that sin), change (seek to never commit that sin again–if we are still committing that sin) and work to sin no more while we learn God’s blessed ways so to live to love Him perfectly.
Afterwards, we should turn to God’s mercy to heal us or to help us carry our crosses (what ever is His wills), and grow in faith and trust in Him to bring us to a saving faith through this cross and all crosses. Now, with God’s grace, we can carry this cross united with Christ for the salvation of our and other’s souls.
If we look for God's love with any cross and learn, we will reap wonderful grace from every punishment God allows and grow in wonderful holiness and peace as God's intends.
With any suffering there is so much good that can come from it, as I mentioned above, especially since we can offer it up, in union with Christ, for the salvation of souls. That is the work of true saints.
There is a lesson–a way we can grow closer to Christ’s image–change from our sinful ways of self-love from the cross and follow Him more perfectly towards a life of joy and salvation in everything God allows. Trust in Him. To learn more please read the Lifting Our Values book, “Why We Suffer.”
When we truly believe in the cross as the way to Christ, then our crosses will become a JOY TO SUFFER.
If we are not in joy suffering, we know we lack much humility and grace. Therefore, we need to seek to grow in humility (knowledge of OUR sinfulness). Please don’t look at those afflicting us or find others at fault for our suffering (even though they might be), but look into our hearts to see how and why we aren’t acting in all love like Christ nor trusting and truly living God’s complete Word.
Then run to God with a repentant heart, obtain His grace, and make resolutions to CHANGE. God’s transforming grace will change us, if we correctly seek Him, and we will come to live a life of fantastic peace and joy like the saints–especially when suffering. (see the rest of this web-site to learn more).
We Deserve Nothing
Sadly, when bad happens to us, like when we are treated poorly or suffer, especially from the hand of another, most want justice. We don’t rejoice in our suffering; we are offended and angry, and even resort to treating our offender poorly…acting no better than them or even worse. We act as if we are without sin and deserve to be treated well. We act like some great injustice has occurred against us. Yet, we are full of sin…so much sin we would die of grief if we only knew how truly wretched we are. We deserve the greatest of punishments, but we don’t tolerate the slightest mistreatments of others. (I’m not saying we stay with someone who is greatly abusing us, but rather rejoice in what God allows, seek what is His will and safety if possible).
Sure it is possible, we might not “deserve” whatever treatment or suffering we might have to endure in that particular situation if we have done nothing–immediately wrong–or if we are in fact loving someone, but receiving hate in return. But surely from our vast sinfulness, outside of that very moment, we need and surly deserve the suffering. We are far from without guilt or in need of that punishment to, at least, help us atone for our sins so we can hasten towards gaining a saving faith and sanctity.
Please understand, those who suffer greatly at the hands of another, even if it leads to our death, can if we run to God correctly for help, obtain for us so much grace for the salvation of our soul (the entire purpose of our existence) that, that attack (huge suffering) winds up being our greatest blessing which brings us to Eternal Life.
Some people can be living the most horrific lives opposed to God’s law and God doesn’t will to send them a horrific cross to awaken them. Most of us aren’t going to be blessed to suffer incredible crosses. Some only one or maybe two crosses or perhaps a large cross or two, but if we don’t hear God’s call in those crosses or even in smaller crosses that God allows and obtain the fantastic grace He wants to give us through the cross, we might lose our great gift for us to grow into a saving faith.
Therefore, don’t run from the cross…embrace it as God’s holy will and very good. Run to Him for the grace to carry it as He will’s, change what we need to change and offer it up for the salvation of souls. Rejoice that we have the opportunity to suffer for our sins, console God for the atrocities committed against Him, learn God’s lessons and send wonderful grace like God did for us for the salvation of souls. The cross is the Way to Christ.
Horribly, but ever so true, to give us a horrible punishment that will capture our attention and serve God’s justice, even sometimes our innocent children or others might have to suffer from our sins.
There is no clearer definition of our loving God punishing someone else for their sins and the rest of seemingly innocent humanity for the sins of another as is written in Genesis 3. “The woman he [God] said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing…your desire [naturally] shall be for your husband [and not Me], and he shall rule over you.’ To Adam [Man] he said…’cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat…thorns and thistle it shall bring forth…in sweat of your face you shall eat bread.'” Yes, Adam and Eve’s shameful crime against Our Creator’s Perfect Love caused all humanity, until the end of time, to be greatly punished: born without saving grace in our souls, rejected from heaven, suffer pain and toil in order to live on earth, have the inclination (desire for sin) and the greatest punishment of all, suffer the loss of God’s perfect love–all as the consequences of their one sin.
Of course God still loves us but Adam and Eve unknowingly rejected something so incredible, something we simply couldn’t ever understand–living in the Perfect Love of God. Amazingly, God gave us everything to love us. Adam and Eve were living every moment in the most intimate perfect peace, innocence and love of God. This incredible love they had I am without words to describe, but unbelievably they didn’t value that outstanding gift, and it was all swept away by falling for temptation and committing just one sin.
The amount of love God gave Adam and Eve, and the amount of injury that sin committed against that Perfect Love was more tremendous than shear words, like I said, can describe. That injury was so great, from God’s love and the perfection they lived in, that justice demanded the whole of creation to suffer as a result. But we need to understand, God might have allowed all mankind to now sin, not because He desires to condemn all humanity but rather spur us to run to His Fatherly Love for His mercy so mercy can save us. God allowed sin so the greater good of His mercy can reign.
Nonetheless, this punishment of sin surely doesn’t end with Adam and Eve, as countless more sins have been commit. Punishment is riddled throughout the old testament. Please remember just because Jesus came doesn’t mean God has changed. “For I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). He still punishes. He is still a God of justice. Truly, all of the punishments of Adam and Eve’s sin still affect us.
This punishment from original sin, as we see in our suffering and constant falling into sin, is felt everyday in our life. If we only knew what we could have been experiencing on earth–the euphoric love of God and how it is gone, then, we would truly know at least some of the consequences of sin.
I want to speak about ancestral sin, as it is clearly written about in the old testament, so we can understand the consequence of sin and how it affects generation after generation. From our sins or our ancestors sins, our children can bear our punishment and the desire for certain sins.
Jesus’ Death Freed Us From Sin and Punishment…Yes, but…
It is true, after our baptism, we received Christ’s free gift of complete forgiveness of our sins and the removal of all our punishments for all of our crimes against God. But that free gift never removed any of our earthly punishments that is due to us for each sin we commit. And that gift of perfect forgiveness and atonement was easily rejected through our personal sin, as I will explain, and must be regained again.
There are three places we are punished:
- Earth: temporary suffering from God’s justice, through His mercy, as a consequence of sin given to us to help save and purify our souls so we can enter into Heaven.
- Purgatory: temporary punishment from God’s justice for sins committed after baptism, which were forgiven but not atoned for (didn’t pay the price), which is given to us out of God’s mercy to purify our souls so we can enter into Heaven.
- Hell: permanent consequence of sin in Hell given to us from God’s justice because of our refusal to embrace His merciful love (sanctifying grace) and chose sin instead.
“No tongue can tell nor explain, no mind understand, the grievousness of purgatory.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa
Punishment for Our Sins is Constant
God’s punishments do differentiate from the punishments we place upon our children. With God, there isn’t the slightest fault that doesn’t go unpunished (the slightest punishment being the loss of grace), but there isn’t the slightest good that doesn’t go unrewarded either (the slightest reward being the receipt of the slightest grace). But, with that said, God’s punishments for us are constant in our lives because we are constantly at fault. There isn’t a moment we aren’t suffering from our sins or the sins of others–as I will explain.
On Earth, in Purgatory and in Hell punishment for our sins is constant.
Earth: we all suffer constantly from, at least, the consequence of the first sin…not to mention the consequence of all of the other sins thereafter whether they are our sins or that of another. Everyone’s suffering varies based upon their choices or the choices of others God has placed into our life. On Earth, not only do our punishments vary from mild to extreme, they also vary from most indirect (consequence of other’s sin) to very direct (consequence of our sins), which means that our suffering is from our sin or the sins of another. But all punishment is meant to assist us towards obtaining Heaven and into a life of great joy…especially during the cross.
Purgatory: we suffer constantly too until we are purified. The amount we suffer is very intense and depends upon the degree of injury we inflicted upon God from our sinful choices on earth which we haven’t atoned for. But, even though we are suffering greatly, our agony is in great joy as we can’t sin (can seek our will/no self-love) any more and know we are fulfilling God’s will and purifying our souls so we can enter into Heaven where we get to adore God. This constant punishment from God we suffer in Purgatory also varies greatly from extremely slight to terrifyingly severe. Like I said, on Earth and in Purgatory, our punishment is constant but temporary. However, if we are damned and wind up in Hell, our punishment is never ending.
Hell: we suffer constantly but it is never ending-for eternity. This is a concept most simply can’t get a grasp of. If we did, we would flee from sin with such intensity, we would quickly become saints. Our suffering in Hell also varies life in Hell and Purgatory due to the just consequence of our actions we deserve, even though, from the infinite degree of injury just one sin causes, our punishment could never truly be what we deserve. Nonetheless, our rejection of God’s saving mercy merits us constant suffering and it is something so horrible words can’t describe. Yet some saints have attempted to describe it, but words simply can’t help us grasp what only grace can instill. Unless we have had the grace to burn for God, to pine for Him so greatly our hearts acke in agony for Him, we simply won’t understand how suffering the loss of God is worse pain than all of the others horrid torments by the devils or being in the sheer presence of Hell. Yes, not obtaining the entire purpose of our existence is the greatest of all fo the suffering in Hell and we can never change what we have done for ever.
Tragically, even with these realities before us, even though we are constantly being punished for our crimes against God, most still have no fear of the Lord (fear of sin and it’s consequences). Most just don’t know of the horrors of sin and never benefit from there cure–the lesson, guidance and grace away from deadly sin (if we repent)–that our punishments can offer. Most are sadly very blind. And for those who refuse to see and change, the very cure that was meant to save them will do them much harm and lead to their eternal doom.
“Those whom I love, I reprove [correct] and chastise [punish]. Be earnest [serious], therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).
When we carry our cross, trusting in God to make everything good, when and how He wills, with a humble contrite heart of love, our suffering can be used to send great grace to us and others to help us in this life and for the salvation of souls. There is no greater act of love than one willing to die–than one willing give everything up that we love–to suffer for a crime we didn’t commit, to love how Christ has loved, especially if we are suffering unjustly like Christ did for the proclamation the faith. It is a joy like none other.
Oh, how beautifully blessed a soul is who has been lied about, rejected and left to suffer as they choose to bear their injuries alone and in silence like Christ, who didn’t seek his own gain, but the gain of the other thought the bearing of the cross. But if we are suffering the consequences of our own sins, that punishment, doesn’t directly send us any grace whether we are suffering by means of self-infliction, infliction by others, or infliction by God. We don’t immediately receive any grace if we suffer (are punished) for our own sins. However, that suffering can teach us a great lesson.
God’s lessons teach us:
- awareness of the sin (humility),
- need for true repentance,
- a real reason why not to commit the sin again and obey,
which can then lead to great life changing blessings and conversion (much grace).
However, when we suffer the punishment from the crimes of another, the magnitude of grace that is received, into a humble heart who wants to bear the cross, is just fantastic. That is a soul who is seeking a saving faith. When we truly act in the image of Christ, who bore our punishment, we are true disciples of the Lord.
Deterrent Away from Sin
Knowing there are great and lasting consequences (punishments) on earth and for all eternity for ourselves and others, from our sins, can and should be a great deterrent away from sin to move us towards a saving faith. But so few have been blessed to know this truth since so few have the grace to profess this life saving truth for others to hear. Horribly, since we live in a time of darkness to the Way, most think our God of love doesn’t punish us or others for our sins. Yet, like I said, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Fear of punishment deters a man from sinning”
— St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
Punishment and/or the threat of punishment is meant to spur us towards the straight and narrow path to Life. But sadly, most don’t hear, see or understand…therefore, we don’t change. Horribly, we don’t understand love and reject it because we greatly lack the fear of sin.
“Realize that there are persons, so proud and stubborn that they cannot be humbled other than by temptations, distress, and even falls. They are so weak that they do not walk God’s way with diligence unless they are spurred on constantly. Their hearts are so hard that it takes many misfortunes to break them…such people need many afflictions to make them walk humbly before God and neighbor”
–St. John of Avila
One way God uses our punishments is to warn us in many ways in His Word to stay away from sin and if we don’t heed His Word, our punishments (suffering) as a consequence of our actions, should warn us even greater of the eternal consequences that are to come if we don’t gain a true hatred for all of the sins we love. If nothing else, our earthly suffering should scare someone away from sin. If the Word doesn’t give us true fear of the Lord, then hopefully our suffering will move us to seek God’s mercy correctly, with a humble contrite heart, so we can gain a truly great fear of the Lord so to gain a contrition so true, which accepts His saving mercy, that we would rather die than offend God by another sin.
Many of us only hear–come to recognize our behavior is deadly–when the punishments come along. That is why, from God’s unfathomable mercy, God desires to use all consequences of sin to guide us to Life. We just need to soften our hearts to hear Him crying out for us so we can obtain His grace to find the Way.
Learn what is a Sin
“It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your statutes” (Psalm 228:71).
Don’t Blame God
Some people don’t like what is occurring in their life and want to blame God. It is true God allows all to occur in our life therefore every moment in our life…even our great suffering is permitted by God. However, what we suffer isn’t God’s fault. It is a consequence of our or others sin. God created us to love us so we can live a life of wonderful joy and peace, but from our free will we chose and continue to choose to reject that great life of love for sin (suffering).
Truly all suffering is occurring because of our sins–not God. If we didn’t have sin, we wouldn’t have suffering. Even the innocent suffer greatly because of the sins of others, but God blesses the innocent, who love the cross and know its blessings. God sends those who truly love Him…or even those who seek to truly love Him wonderful grace to carry any suffering (cross). This grace sends them great peace and joy to bear any agony for the love of God so their pain can console God and send grace for the salvation their and others souls.
Truly we must know, God doesn’t want to punish us or allow us to suffer from sin. However, love demands it. Love (justice) demands that there are consequences to sin and love knows the cure for our sin…penance (suffering for our sins).
Not All Suffering is a Punishment
Not all suffering is a direct punishment but all suffering can be used a penance. Remember like I said before, not all suffering or acts of evil against us are direct punishments towards us because of our direct sins against God. Some suffering is solely meant to prove (test) our faith (like was done for the very faithful man Job)…his suffering was to see if he had true faith and trust in God.
“For a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-8)
But all suffering, direct punishment or not, can send great grace to us and others for the salvation of our souls, and help us atone for our sins, if we trust in God–love our suffering knowing God is using it for much good.
“Whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name” (1 Peter 4:16).
God tests us so we can see if we have a saving faith–true trust in God and true hatred of sin. This test–suffering–is so we can see if we will become angry, worry or want to run from our cross–as we fail the test. Or if we will live the life of a true Christian: in the peace during all circumstances which the Word says is given to those who love His law. ” From a wonderful true faith and trust in God those who pass God’s test–even the greatest atrocities–rejoice in their cross, knowing God makes all good for those who truly love Him.
These tests save. If we die blind, thinking we have a saving faith of true trust in God, when we still don’t…we will forfeit Eternal Life from being deceived, because in our heart we still seek our will–what we want in life…pleasure, love, comfort, etc…over what God wills (allows).
However all punishment, from great suffering to even losing the slightest grace, is for the GOOD OF OUR SOULS too.
Punishment is Meant to Save Us
Truly, everything..all God’s punishments, even that of losing grace is meant to move us towards Eternal Life. But how can this be we might ask? How can loosing grace lead us to life? We need so much grace to find Life. Many can understand how punishment or the threat of punishment can help inspire us seek God’s mercy (help) for the grace needed to move us away from loving sin into choosing what is truly good, especially if we relate punishment with our own parenting, but many simply can’t fathom how losing grace–loosing God’s loving help–can move us towards gaining a saving faith. But it is true.
“For he wounds, but he binds up; he strikes, but his hands give healing [if we want His help]” (Job 5:18).
For some people the greatest way they can humble themselves, to even be able to work toward a saving faith is to actually loose the faith they have. Sadly, so many live lukewarm in their faith, and from their pride, they don’t see their misery and great need to repent and change and seek God’s mercy. They believe they are saved from their prayers and works, when they are far from a saving faith. It is only by losing the faith they do have “go rock bottom” as the expression says, that they can begin to see just how miserable they really are.
Therefore, we should grow in faith to never “fear” punishment but be grateful for it; it is a gift from God.
We Will Be Judged By Our Actions Alone
When we die, we won’t be judged or punished for a single sinful thought, word or deed of another. Our eternity will be determined by our faith alone, and judgement will be rendered for every sin we committed that we lack true sorrow for and punishment will be given for every sin which isn’t forgiven and/or atoned for. We are only responsible for our own thoughts, words, and deeds (or lack of deeds). But while we are in exile here on earth, we–the innocent and guilty–will suffer and suffer much from our sins and the sins of others. This is a fact we simply have to live with.
Of course not all suffering is a punishment either, as some suffering is a trial of our faith, but that doesn’t remove the fact that all sin, while we are on earth, has at least some consequence against ourselves and even our neighbor. And if not repented, the punishment for ourselves will move on into an eternity in Hell.
All Sin Affects Others
Tragically, many see most of our sins as only affecting ourselves if anything at all and have an attitude “if it doesn’t hurt anyone, it can’t be wrong.” We also think that God wouldn’t punish innocent people around us for our crimes, but that just isn’t true either. Every sin, even the most finite of sin, we choose harms not only God and ourselves but ALL of our neighbors, and the people God intended us to directly save suffer even more greatly. Truly, this is the truth.
“All sins are accomplished by means of your neighbor” — God the Father to St. Catherine of Sienna
Many of us just don’t understand how having a thought of…lets say…wishing we had less wrinkles or some other vain idea can affect someone else at all. Well, like God the Father said ALL sin (even the slightest) is an offence against God through our neighbor. Believe it or not, every sin effects everyone.
EVERY MOMENT of our life is meant to be spent seeking the salvation of our neighbor, as the Word says, “No one should seek his own advantage, but that of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:24), knowing in doing so we are reaping our own gift of Eternal Life. Therefore, when we sin, we reject God’s love (grace) that was meant to be used to help assist our neighbor in their journey towards life. Every drop of grace we loose, we lack the “good” that God wanted us to have to have the strength to serve Him and knowledge of the Way
Our Children Can Suffer from Our Ancestors Sins
What greater punishment than to inflict what we deserve upon another or our children. Yes, that punishment is the worst of all punishments. Our hearts of love can’t bear this. What a horrible thought to think our innocent children can suffer from our sins, or even our grand children, or great grand children, but God’s punishments can extend to the third and fourth generations, which are not to harm us but teach us so to save us. Even though, from God’s justice, some will be lost from those punishments.
“[The Lord your God is] punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 20:5).
“The Lord said to Solomon: Since this is what you want, and you have not kept my covenant and the statutes which I enjoined on you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. But I will not do this during your lifetime, for the sake of David your father; I will tear it away from your son’s hand” (1 Kings 11:11-14).
Direct and Indirect Consequence of Sin
There are both direct and indirect consequences to every sin. Direct punishment is when we suffer from our sins and indirect is when we suffer from the sins of others.
Most sins only suffer the consequence of the rejection of grace, but God can, and does, even allow horrible atrocities to befall us both as a direct or indirect consequence (punishment) for our crimes against Him.
Punishment for sin, which is all allowed by God, is given in three ways:
- Inflicted by man
- Inflicted by God
We know our sinful choices can cause disaster in our every day lives as our consequences pile up. For example: We lie to our boss. The sin of lying rejects God’s grace, which is an indirect consequence of our sin. Now after being caught, our boss thinks of us as a lair and doesn’t trust a word we say any more. That is a negative, direct consequence resulting from our sinful choice. God, who allows all for the good of our soul, allowed our boss to see us in the light of deception so we can feel humiliated for our sin, with the hopes we see the horror of sin and then turn to God with sorrow for offending our boss and Our Lord and seek God’s grace to sin no more.
Now, that is a mild punishment for our sins. We can easily see the consequence of sin–the loss of grace–reduce the whole of humanity to knowledge of the Way. That is a great consequence of sin as the loss of grace is compiling. Loosing grace from one sins isn’t damning, but when we compile the reduction of grace after grace from sin after sin…we can become so blind that bad seems good and good seems bad. We become so confused, it will take a great act of God–fantastic grace–to restore us to the light of truth.
What we need to understand is the more grave the sin, the greater the grace we refuse as well and the further away from God we become; plus the greater the potential we have for a really horrible, tangible punishment to come from God too.
Not that we want to be punished, and not that God wants to punish us, but the blessed, will not only have a loss of grace, but will sometimes suffer even great chastisements by God…as they–the punishments–are from God’s love, sent sometimes, as a last resort, to open our eyes so we can finally “see” and therefore repent and seek the path of Life before it is too late.
“For the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts” (Hebrews 12:6).
Because God is constantly trying to guide us to salvation, He is constantly attempting to send us grace. Yes, there are things we can do which God sends us great amounts of grace, like through the sacraments in the Church, but every moment of our lives–unless we have rejected God so greatly and He has now turned His head from us and no longer sends His grace to help us (cf. )–God’s is trying to deliver us grace after grace with the hopes we find the Way to Heaven.
The reason we don’t know the Way is because of our sins and the sins of others have darkened us to the Light. Since God was intending on using us, from our prayers and works, to help deliver our neighbor the grace they need to be saved, when we sin the grace that was meant for us to help save our neighbor was rejected. Therefore our sin is causing us to not have the means necessary to serve God correctly, and we simply can’t love our neighbor properly so to help them obtain eternal life. Therefore, ourselves and our neighbor suffer a horrible loss with each sin we commit.
But the consequences of sin go well beyond just the loss of grace, even though the rejection of grace can become quite extreme and deadly. God’s punishments of someone’s else’s action can have huge painful consequences to others. If we don’t understand love (mercy and justice) then innocent people suffering from the sins of another might seem unfair and not loving. But over and over again in the Word and in our daily living we are being punished and innocent people have to suffer sometimes greatly because of the sin of another…even the Mother of God, in Fatima exclaims that great chastisements will come upon the entire world (the guilty and innocent alike) if we don’t repent and change. St. Jacenta of Fatima, said “Our Lady can no longer hold back the arm of her Divine Son which will strike the world. [However,] If people amend [repent and change] their lives, Our Lord will even now save the world, but if they do not, punishment will come.”
Consequence of Sin
The consequence of sin is so immense and terrifying, I could write an entire book about this truth. It is a horror so great, no mind could ever comprehend it. But from my limited understanding, from my limited light given to me by God, I will try to sum up in a few words something so dynamic that the mind can’t truly fathom so great a mystery. Hopefully, my efforts can produce increased knowledge and wisdom within us to the Way so we can run from sin like the deadly plague it truly is and truly work towards a real saving faith.
The First Punishment
God Wants Us Saved
We need to spend our life seeking a saving faith by learning how to correctly follow Christ by accepting and learning from our punishments, so to regain what we lost (saving grace) so true contrition for each and every one of our sins, which is done by means of penance, can be in our soul at the moment of our death. (To learn what true penance is please see the link at the end of this article).
Jesus didn’t come to earth with the purpose to remove any of our earthly punishments for a single one of our crimes. He came to save our souls…not to take away our suffering for our sins (unless it helps to move us to Eternal Life)…as our earthly suffering is what we need to save us and keep us from eternal suffering…as I will explain.
Of course, from His love, if we run to Him for assistance, He can help us carry our crosses or even remove them if it is His will (what’s best for us to obtain a saving faith). However, unless we accept His saving mercy, with a saving faith, He won’t remove our punishments for eternity either.
However, what we must understand, so we don’t grow lukewarm in our faith and not peruse perfection (seeking the removal of all sin), is that this consequence for our sin, which merited us Eternal Life–this free gift of perfect forgiveness (sanctifying grace)–was quickly lost.
Plus, our perfect atonement for our sins (removal of all punishment for sin after death) was lost too the moment we committed our first sin after baptism, even the smallest, since we are accountable (receive judgement) for all of our sins committed after God purified us.
Without being one of the “few [who] are chosen” (Matthew 22:14) who grow in their faith into a saving faith that have acquired a sincere horror for each and every sin we would rather die than offend Perfect Goodness in the slightest way, we simply don’t have a faith that can save and reject perfect forgiveness. We still love sin over God, and reject God to stay in sin.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense [payment], according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
more coming soon