Sinner Versus Sinning

Archpriest Michael Gillis | 16 August 2016

St. Theophan the Recluse said (roughly) that it is a small thing to acknowledge that you have sinned, but it takes enlightenment to acknowledge that you are a sinner.

In confession, penitents often asked why they always seem to have the same sins to confess.

Sometimes I think the answer to this question is that the penitent has not yet begun to see him or herself as a sinner. They still think that they are merely sinning. Sinners know why they commit the same sin. They commit the same (in fact any) sins because they are sinners. They are not surprised by the vileness or recalcitrance they find in themselves because they know they are sinners. And this revelation breaks us. There is no one else to blame. Those who merely acknowledge that they have sinned are still tormented by the delusion that with just a little help from God, they could clean themselves up—if God would just take away the irritant that “makes” them sin. Sinners don’t have this delusion. They know that the irritant is not the problem. The sinner may still pray for the removal of the irritant, but not because their sin is the fault of another. Rather, the sinner sees clearly that her or his own weakness is the source of the sin and even if the irritant is removed, the sin is not healed until the sinner, him or herself, is healed—which will only be manifest when the sinner is at peace despite the irritant. Sinners are thrown utterly upon the mercy of God. For Sinners, “Lord, have mercy” means Lord, have mercy. For those who merely admit that they have sinned, “Lord, have mercy” may have very little meaning at all.

Система Orphus Do you see a mistake in the text? Highlight it and click: Ctrl + Enter
Since you are here…

…we do have a small request. More and more people visit Orthodoxy and the World website. However, resources for editorial are scarce. In comparison to some mass media, we do not make paid subscription. It is our deepest belief that preaching Christ for money is wrong.

Having said that, Pravmir provides daily articles from an autonomous news service, weekly wall newspaper for churches, lectorium, photos, videos, hosting and servers. Editors and translators work together towards one goal: to make our four websites possible - Pravmir.ru, Neinvalid.ru, Matrony.ru and Pravmir.com. Therefore our request for help is understandable.

For example, 5 dollars a month is it a lot or little? A cup of coffee? It is not that much for a family budget, but it is a significant amount for Pravmir.

If everyone reading Pravmir could donate 5 dollars a month, they would contribute greatly to our ability to spread the word of Christ, Orthodoxy, life's purpose, family and society.

Choose currency:
Other amount
10$
20$
50$
Related articles
“Repentance Is a Habit, A Way…

This month, I would like to address how often one should go to Confession. This is…

The Dangers of Second-hand Repentance

I was born a WASP—that is, a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant. Now that I have become Orthodox,…

Setting Aside Shame

There are many people who cling to memories of past sins, holding on to guilt and…

Most popular authors
Dear Friends,

Our website exists owing to your generous assistance, thanks to the funds donated by our beloved readers.

Please assist us in the continuation of our work.