"The Worst Sin in the Entire World"
By 'Concerned Catholic'
Summary: The 'worst sin in the world' is unfortunately so
incredibly common nowadays that people simply fail to appreciate
Keywords: Sin, Serious Sin, Mortal Sin, 'Worst Sin', Penance,
Confession, Forgiveness, Salvation, Hell, Eternal Damnation, Murder, Adultery, Marriage, Divorce,
If someone were to ask you what is the worst
sin in the world, what would you say? Might you say murder? But ask
yourself: How many people are prone to murder? How many normal, healthy
Catholic adults could do this even one time without remorse, much less
over and over again without any pangs of conscience? Abortionists aside,
how many non-psychotic Catholics are likely to continue killing over and
over, day after day - even with the protection & favor of the law? How
many Catholics are likely to think such monstrous crimes are the right
thing to do? How many Catholics would dare think or believe that God
wants them to kill or is at least okay with their killing innocent
persons? Would frequent killings make murderers' daily lives seem
happier? Are serial killers generally likely to enjoy financial benefits
& other material rewards from their actions? Think of the bigger picture
for a moment - think in terms of eternal salvation. What sin is even
more likely than murder to lead souls to hell? Wouldn't it be a serious,
widespread sin that is committed over and over again, even daily,
without any thought of the need to repent? Wouldn't it be a sin that is
happily enjoyed rather than a sin that brings feelings of remorse?
Wouldn't it be a sin that is tolerated or promoted by society rather than
one that is stigmatized, rejected & punished?
It occurred to me the other day that the 'worst sin in the world' is
unfortunately so incredibly common nowadays that people simply fail to
appreciate its significance. Let me first explain what I mean by
'worst'. By 'worst', I mean a sin that is likely to plunge a soul into
hell -- the greater the likelihood that the sin will plunge the soul
into hell, the greater the sin (at least speaking from the perspective
of that person). In reality, the very worst sin in the world would be
one against God (e.g. abuse of the Eucharist). However, as our kind &
merciful God will forgive us even this most horrendous sin if we are
truly repentant, it is not so difficult to put such a horrible sin in
our past. Thus, our salvation is no longer at stake when the sin is
safely behind us. Therefore, for purposes of this article, this is not
the 'worst sin' for us as we can fairly easily be cleansed and move on.
Rather, for purposes of this article, let us consider these three
parameters for the purpose of determining 'the worst sin in the world':
(1) We are considering the matter only from the perspective of the
person committing the act (not God, not the victims), (2) We are
speaking of otherwise normal, average & healthy non-psychotic Catholic
adults, and (3) We are considering things specifically from danger that
the sin poses to the person's eternal salvation.
So given the above, the worst sin in the world is not murder (again, we
are thinking here in terms of the sinner's potential for salvation). We
can put the heinous crime of murder behind us if we are truly repentant.
Horrible as such a crime is, murder does not have to seal our fate with
respect to our eternal destiny. We can repent and be forgiven. No, we
can't bring the poor victim back, but our own salvation isn't
impossible. And most normal, healthy Catholic adults wouldn't relish
being murderers. Furthermore, normal Catholic adults can't really go on
pretending that murders - especially daily murders - are okay, not
sinful -- or even good & desired by God. This is just not realistic.
Also, murderers are typically looked down on and punished. All in all,
there is at least a fairly decent chance for remorse by (the relatively
few) healthy Catholic adults who commit murder.
So what sin is the worst sin ever? What sin is so bad it can be almost
impossible to be forgiven for? What sin literally shuts the gates to
heaven for those who remain in it willfully? My answer may shock you,
but please read on. Keep in mind that this sin has become so common that
there seems to be no appreciation of the harm it causes to souls, or to
the danger it presents to one's salvation. There has unfortunately
been a loss of stigma attached to its commission and people may no
longer reject this act as being sinful. In fact, it is falsely presented
as if it was a good thing, a solution to problems - rather than the
gateway to a life of sin and a 'sure ticket' to hell.
So what sin am I referring to? I am referring to the terrible sin of
divorce and 'remarriage'. This term 'remarriage' itself is a misnomer
because there is no such thing as remarriage, except after death of a
spouse. When both spouses from a valid marriage are still alive, there
is only divorce and adulterous union -- NOT remarriage. One cannot get
'remarried' when one is already married. As Christ our Lord
teaches, divorce does NOT break the bond of holy matrimony (see Mt.
5:31-32, Mt. 19:3-9, Mk. 10:2-12, and Lk. 16:18). Divorce only fosters &
promotes adultery. The original two spouses remain married until death,
despite any 'divorce'. Any subsequent conjugal union between those
parties and other parties (while the original married couple is still
alive) is adultery. And adultery is a mortal sin that
precludes one from heaven - From St. Paul's First Letter to the
Corinthians, Chapter 6, Verses 9-10 (emphasis added): "Do not be
deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters NOR ADULTERERS nor
boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy
nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of
So how does this sin in particular block access to forgiveness, and
therefore prevent salvation? Well, one can't receive forgiveness
without repentance. One can't receive forgiveness without the intention
to amend one's ways. The happier people are in their 'remarriage', the
less likely they are to repent of it. Few people are moved to repent and
change if they are happy. Rather, they want to continue as they are,
eternal consequences be damned. In fact, the happier the couple is their
pretend new 'marriage', the worse the sin (again, speaking in terms of
the sinners' potential for salvation). The happy 'remarried' couple has
literally set itself upon a steady course for eternal damnation -- utter
misery for all eternity.
In addition to the great harm the 'remarried' couple causes themselves,
their actions also cause grave harm to society. Besides the scandal and
the neglected obligation to fix the relationship with their true spouse
(a spouse who, along with the children, is cheated out of their life's
partner and a parent), the new couple's adulterous union may also result
in children being conceived outside the Law - and therefore all such
children are inherently illegitimate. And, unfortunately, there is
probably no realistic way to legitimize these children in most cases as
their parents aren't able to actually be married to one another (because
they are already married to someone else). The poor bastard children are
themselves victimized from conception, and perhaps even more so as time
goes on as they may fail to appreciate that their parents conceived them
in adultery. The 'remarried' couple therefore tends to perpetuate their
sin with their illegitimate offspring (who see nothing wrong with their
parents' situation) and who may likewise imperil these poor children's
salvation by setting an example for them to turn to divorce and
'remarriage' in their own lives. The 'remarried' couple provides a bad
example to society (often they 'glory' in their divorce) that encourages
persons to marry with less caution as they can simply divorce &
'remarry' if things don't work out to their satisfaction. There is a
very MISTAKEN perception of the sin of 'remarriage' being victimless. It
is NOT. ALL of society suffers when persons pretend that the lifetime
bond of holy matrimony can be dissolved outside of death.
Yet, we all commit many sins each day of varying degrees, so how can
this one sin stand out among the others as being the 'worst'? This sin
stands out particularly because it sets a person up for a 'lifetime' of
sin. The one-time nature of many other sins - 'when it's done, it's
done' - makes them so much easier to repent of and put behind us. With
other sins, we may be more likely to feel guilt or discomfort after we
commit them, rather than being in a position to find ongoing 'pleasure'
in committing them. Furthermore, society does not provide acceptance of
many other sins - some sins are even considered criminal and are
punished. With divorce & 'remarriage', however, the laws may support the
immoral behavior and not punish those involved. There is no perceived
need to repent and those involved in an enjoyable 'remarriage' do not
typically want to escape their sinful situation. Furthermore, the
'remarried' couple may find support and encouragement from friends and
from the media. In today's world, there is typically much support for
this sin rather than condemnation. While people wouldn't typically come
all smiles and bearing gifts to a murder scene, they are likely to do
just this at the pretend-weddings of divorcees. The fact they come at
all shows their support for the sin, rather than condemnation of the
act. On this 'happy day', the furthest thing from the soon-to be
couple's mind is that they are about to set themselves up for a lifetime
of sin -- and probably an eternity of hellfire after that.
But false perception does not change reality. People who divorce and
'remarry' may make a god out of their happiness. Some actually believe
that God is so concerned about their earthly happiness that they have
some special exception from His laws concerning marriage. This is NOT
true. God tells us to carry our crosses. God also specifically commands
us NOT to commit adultery (Ex 20:14: "You shall not commit adultery.").
We are never excused from following His laws. Despite what some of these
deluded 'remarried' couples think, God did NOT send them a partner for
adultery, regardless of how monstrously their 'previous' spouse may have
behaved. We are NEVER permitted to make exceptions to God's laws ever.
His laws MUST always be followed. If we do not follow His laws, we will
pay the price. And the price of unrepented mortal sin - like adultery -
is separation from God and misery for all eternity (see 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
People may continue to throw around terms like 'ex-spouse' and
'remarriage' - but these are mere fantasies of their minds. If the
spouse one validly married is still alive, he or she is NOT an
ex-spouse, but rather the true spouse, and any subsequent 'remarriage' after
divorce is nothing more than an adulterous union. These people may be
more likely to repent if they had to speak of their true spouse as their
spouse (NOT ex-spouse) and their 'remarried' partner as their partner in
adultery. But society currently pooh-pooh's the idea, to the detriment
of those involved and to everyone else as well.
Cruel though it may seem on the surface (but not in reality), I wish all
'remarried' persons (meaning those who were validly married, then
'divorced' with their real spouse still living) a miserable & childless
union with their 'remarried' partner. If they are fortunate enough to
have a miserable 'remarriage', that is their best hope for repentance,
and therefore for their salvation. Even so, these unhappy persons will
probably be sorry for the wrong reason (e.g. that their 'remarriage'
didn't work out rather than being sorry for offending God by
'remarrying' in the first place) and such 'sorrow' may not be sufficient
for their salvation.
In summary, divorce & 'remarriage' is the 'worst sin in the world'
because it sets the couple up to live the rest of their lives in a state
of serious sin. It can make salvation impossible as those involved may
mount their deathbeds seeing no need for repentance (perhaps with their
adulterous partner lovingly holding their hand as they die in a state of
mortal sin). Unlike other sins that are relatively easy to be sorry for
and put behind us, those who are happily 'remarried' seem to have
purchased for themselves a ticket to hell for all eternity for the price
of a few years of fleeting 'happiness' on earth. In doing so, they have
caused scandal, offended God, and harmed society. In a sense, they may
be called murderers -- murderers of their very own souls and possibly of
those around them.
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