Grace Always Wins
People who are honest with themselves and who possess some degree of faith sooner or later encounter the reality of Habits of Sin.
A sin is an intentional act or omission which goes against the loving will of God. Sometimes such an evil repeats itself with regularity and becomes a recurring sin. In turn, this can blossom into what is called a Habit of Sin. The big ugly here is that it is no longer a free choice of a wrong act, but develops what feels like a life of its own. It’s no longer sitting next to you in the car whispering enticements. Instead, it’s as if it were attempting to take over the steering wheel, the gas pedal, the brakes. At that point, getting out of the sin or back to God may begin to feel overwhelming, even hopeless.
Just about any evil act can grow into a Habit of Sin, but some of the more common ones are cursing, gluttony, avoiding Sunday Mass, gossip, screen addiction (multiple variations here), laziness in the marriage relationship, busyness (no time for prayer, family).
The good news is that grace always wins out if we allow it into our lives (Romans 5:20, 8:39). God always comes to the rescue.
- The first step is to acknowledge that you have a Habit of Sin, or that it has you.
- Then acknowledge that you can’t overcome this yourself. It’s set up housekeeping in your life and is not going to move just because you say “go away…” You need God’s grace.
- As you begin or return to daily prayer, you bring this need daily before God. You renounce it; you give it to him, you open your heart to his mercy.
- And, finally, you remember that you have a powerful weapon in your arsenal: the Sacrament of Penance, confession. It is not an independent step, but a continuation of your moving into God for healing from this sin. You do not go to confession alone. Ever. Jesus brings you to the Father. That’s the Good News: Jesus is bringing you to the Father for healing and liberation.
When you go to confession, you can remain anonymous behind the screen or face the priest, but most importantly you are speaking your Habit of Sin out loud in the midst of the Church, surrounded by saints and angels and the power of the Holy Spirit, and you are not alone. You are not wrestling the Habit of Sin by yourself. You are being healed and delivered in the heart of the Church.
Do you have a Habit of Sin? Bring it to God. Let him do what he does best.