Friday, March 14, 2014

Conversion-You Shall Surely Live

Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? - Ezekiel 18:21-23

Unlike what some might believe, God is not out to get us! At the same time, God does not take delight in our wrongdoing! Ultimately, God wills that all shall live! This is why God sets forth commands. This is why God sent his Son, Jesus. This is why Jesus gave us the Church to continually teach and guide us. For if we are left alone or confused by the values of the world, there is no doubt sin will consume us. Why is this? It is because sin turns us from God, weighs us down, and ultimately leads us to death.

As humans we will make mistakes. We will fall down. We will sin. Through it all, God offers us the opportunity to correct the mistakes, to get back up and ultimately turn away from sin. When we acknowledge our mistakes and seek God we are as good as new. God offers us this newness of life.

It alarms me when individuals tend to cast away the dangers of sin. It disappoints me when Christians settle with being a good person. It saddens me when Catholics believe the teachings of the Church are too demanding and unnecessary to live by. Jesus challenged all whether religious leaders, apostles, or those He met along the way to turn away from sin. The Gospel message must challenge us to grow and to change. The New Testament clearly affirms that Jesus came to show us the way and to save us from our sins. Love invites us to experience hope, to live with joy and not to be afraid.  Pope Francis shares, “Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

Thus, do not put off making change when you are in wrong. Do not turn to the justification of your wrongdoing. Do not be discouraged by sin. Know in your heart that God rejoices in giving you new life! "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 8-9).

"Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods," knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God." In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation." (CCC #1850)

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