“It’s just a harmless sin.” “You’re not really hurting anyone.” “It’s not like someone’s getting killed.”
How many times have you heard these things in your head? Do you hear that little voice when you rationalize copying CDs with your friends? Do you hear that little voice when you start feeling guilty for flirting with the new girl at work, the girl who is not your wife? Do you hear that little voice when you tell that “little white lie” to stay out of trouble?
That voice you hear is the voice of the father of lies. And not only is he tempting you to sin, his temptation is a lie in and of itself, because someone was harmed for your sin. Someone was hurt. Someone did get killed. Jesus Christ, the spotless lamb of our salvation.
When you fail to stand up for the right to life, are you the agony of the nails in His hands? Are your covetous or adulterous thoughts the person driving the nails? Is your lackadaisical attitude about your faith the agony of the cross Christ must carry? The MP3s you share, are each one of them the agony of another thorn in his head? When you idolize and worship the latest and greatest things of this world, and give the first fruits of your labor to man instead of to your Creator, are you the agony of the high priest questioning Jesus’ Divinity? Is every time you take the Lord’s name in vain the agony of another scourge on Christ’s back? When you lie to try and save yourself from getting in trouble, whether at work or with your wife or even just a friend, are you the agony of Christ listening to people give false testimony about Him to the Sanhedrin? When you question the Bible and the Word of God because it doesn’t fit with the earthly decisions and lifestyle you want to maintain, are you the agony of Caiaphas’ officer who struck our Lord for speaking the truth? When others question Christianity and you stand by silently instead of rising up to defend your faith by proudly proclaiming “I am a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ!”, are you the agony of Peter’s three denials? When other Catholics stray from the Church and you do and say nothing, are you the agony of the crowds who shouted “Crucify Him!” and spat in His face? When you go through the motions of being a Catholic Christian, but do not live in your heart as one, are you the agony of a betrayal with a kiss?
Temptation is all around us, but we must remain strong and steadfast. When confronted with temptation to sin, when you hear that little voice, the voice of the father of lies, remember that there are no harmless sins. Remember the agonies which Christ endured because of your sins. Imagine being there, witnessing those agonies first hand. And with this image clear in your mind, ask yourself: “Is my Lord suffering more because of me? Will Christ cry out in agony because of my weakness in the face of this new temptation? Which agony is this sin?”