Does Sinning Mean That We Hate God?

Question:

John, I have a question for you. What do you think of the following statement: “Whenever you sin, you’re saying to God, ‘I hate you .'”. (re-read once or twice)

I recently attended a talk and the speaker kept emphasizing the above statement. This did not sit well with several people in the audience including myself. I’ve been reflecting on his remark and it still doesn’t sit right in my mind. My mother use to tell me to be home by 10pm and I would sometimes walk in at 1AM. Why did I do this? Was it because I hated my mother? Of course not!!! Anyhow, before I go on with my own train of thought I’d really enjoy hearing your point of view on the matter. Let me know what you think in all honesty. Perhaps I’m out to lunch. By the way, I’m in no way attempting to downplay the seriousness of sin, I’m simply questioning the truthfulness of the speaker’s statement.

Answer:

Your example is a perfect one. We should always situate the question of our relationship with God in a family context. My daughter might disobey me (a sin against me), but that hardly means that she *necessarily* hates me. The key is to look at the intent of the person’s heart.

Any sin is a rejection of God, but a rejection of God is not necessarily a hatred of Him. A constant rejection of God, however, will certainly lead to a hatred of God. From a Catholic perspective, the idea proposed is all the more untenable since we classify sins between venial and mortal. We commit venial sins all of the time, yet in committing them, we are not “hating God”. We still love God, but because of our fallen nature, we are inclined to do things we should not.

St. Paul seems to agree:

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:14-25)

So, in other words, while there is a war going on within us, it does not mean that we “hate God” for, despite this war, we still “delight in God’s law” – hardly an indication of hating Him.

By John Pacheco

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