Non Posse Non Peccare (Huh?)

I woke. I stressed. I screamed and blamed. I sinned. I felt guilty.

I did not consciously make a decision to sin this morning. I did not consciously plan to blame my wife for my frustration at oversleeping and a car in need of service. Yet, I did. I pushed my wife away. I pushed my God away unconsciously. I sinned.

It is the nature of humanity that we sin. St. Augustine characterized this aspect in a latin phrase that sticks with me, non posse non peccare or not possible, not to sin. Had I considered my situation rationally, had I used the rational brain created by God within me, I would have chosen to act differently. Had I considered my situation emotionally, had I anticipated how I would feel, how my wife would feel, had I used the emotional part of my God-created being, I would have chosen to act differently.

Instead, I used the part of me created to protect me from danger. I was afraid. I was afraid I was not in control. I used a part of my God-created emotional being in the wrong way. I sinned.

God created the potential for fear in me. Fear is a very helpful emotion. It motivates the body and mind to protect itself and those it loves. Fear enables me to sense danger and take appropriate action. Fear is a Gift from God but I used that gift inappropriately. I sinned.

As human beings we are all non posse non peccare. We will make mistakes. We will sin. The Good News is that we are offered grace. We are loved by God despite our inability to avoid sin.

  • For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39 NRSV

Our response to divine Grace is to keep trying, to keep finding new ways to listen and act in ways that God would have us act.

Abundantly Loving God,

You are amazing in your creation. You are abundant with your love. Thank you for all that you do for us. Please help us to hear your voice through the Holy Spirit so that we might do your Will among others.


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