A child throws a tantrum at the dinner table when his mother tells him he must finish his vegetables before going to play. The 3-year-old tosses the plate on the floor, flinging green beans and carrots across the tile, and screams until he is red in the face. Mom tells the boy he now must do time out before going to play because he acted ugly. The child, tears streaming down his face, goes and sits on the sofa for his time out. After a minute, he gets up and walks over to his mother (who is cleaning up the vegetables from the floor) and gives her a hug. He smiles and says, “I love you”. Mom hugs him and says “I love you too son, now go back to your time out. You’re not done yet with your punishment.”
Many times, we act like the 3-year-old with God. We are told what we need to do and what we need to avoid and yet we do not comply. We throw a fit and tell God we do not see the big deal and continue to sin. We know we must attend Mass on Sunday, but it is no big deal to miss it for a day out on the lake with the family. We know we need to pray, but it’s not really a big deal if we don’t have time. We know we need to give to the poor, but it’s not that big of a deal if we hold our wallet tight because we are saving for that family vacation. We know we should not lie, cheat, use the Lord’s name in vain, receive the Eucharist unworthily, or live in sexual immorality but we tell God it’s not that big of a deal. We throw our fit and revolt against the rules because we want to do something different.
Then, we go to God and hug him. We tell Him we are sorry, say a short prayer of “I love you Jesus” and expect God to forget. However, we do not apologize. We do not repent. We do not acknowledge his rules are best for us and agree to follow them the next time. We simply expect our words “I love you” and our “hug” to get us out of our punishment. God will reach down and hug us as well. He comes to us in the Eucharist. He showers us with graces through the Sacraments. He pours blessings down on us. He whispers, “I love you too”, but without repentance and “I’m sorry”, he continues to enforce the consequences of our sin. Sin has consequences. Sin brings despair, destruction, turmoil, and spiritual death.
“For those who live according to the flesh are concerned with the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit with the things of the spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
God’s love does not disqualify us from hell. God loves us, but he requires us to obey Him and to love Him back through not only our words, but our actions.
“Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)