This is part 6 of a 6 part series. If you’ve missed the rest of the articles, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the links.
Unrepented sin always has a spiritual consequence.
It could be through torment:
. . . indifference to God is itself a torment . . . Certainly for an intelligent man death is better than sin . . . But for the people of God separation from God is the greatest torment of all. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 265)
I swear by God! The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: “Taste ye what your hands have wrought!” (Bahá’u’lláh, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 68).
But man hath perversely continued to serve his lustful appetites . . . With this, and with the perpetrating of vile and ignoble acts, his attention was engrossed, and he abandoned the temperance and moderation of a natural way of life. The result was the engendering of diseases both violent and diverse. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 152-153).
Or administrative sanctions:
The general basis for the deprivation of voting rights is of course gross immorality and open opposition to the administrative functions of the Faith, and disregard for the laws of personal status . . . if a person is deprived of his voting rights, he may not contribute to the Local or National Funds; he may not attend Nineteen Day Feasts. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, pp. 50-51)
Once sin has entered your life, it becomes part of who you are. Perhaps it doesn’t show on the outside, but God sees it very clearly and He doesn’t like what He sees:
O Ye Seeming Fair Yet Inwardly Foul! Ye are like clear but bitter water, which to outward seeming is crystal pure but of which, when tested by the divine Assayer, not a drop is accepted. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 25)
Think not the deeds ye have committed have been blotted from My sight. By My beauty! All your doings hath My pen graven with open characters upon tablets of chrysolite. (Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 63).
Unless you recognize it, ask God for forgiveness and cast it out of your life, it will continually tempt you, defeat you and cause you to sin in that area of your life time after time.
But God is merciful and has shown us a way out:
If you are sincerely intent on overcoming your problem, you must yourself determine to resist wayward impulses each time they arise and the House of Justice feels that there is no better way than to turn to the Writings to divert our thoughts into spiritual channels, perhaps to concentrate on what we may do to help others along the way to discovering the Bahá’í Faith. The more we occupy ourselves with teaching the Cause and serving our fellowman in this way, the stronger we become in resisting that which is abhorrent to our spiritual selves. (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Jun 05, Homosexuality)
It’s when you face your problems you’ll overcome them. That’s your victory. That’s your peace. In the following quote, Shoghi Effendi shows us what your attitude should be:
You have already, through at last facing yourself and acknowledging that you have both failed and erred in managing your life so far, set your feet on the right path. But now this new and spiritual condition in you is going to be proved – and the proving, the testing, will surely consist of the way you determine to take your punishment. Life is based on laws: physical, man-made, and spiritual. As you have broken the laws of the society in which you live, you will have to stand up like a man and take your punishment. The spirit in which you do this is the most important thing, and constitutes a great opportunity for you . . . at present, until your sentence is up, you must live within yourself in a way not to spoil the new future awaiting you. You must not become bitter – for after all you are only reaping what you planted. Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá through no crime of their own, spent the better part of their lives in exile and imprisoned, but they never became embittered although they were the victims of injustice. You, on the other hand, are the victim of injustice which you have inflicted on yourself – therefore you certainly have no right to be bitter towards the world. He urges you to grasp firmly the teachings of our Faith, the love of your family and many Bahá’í friends, to put the past behind entirely, realizing that it can do you no more harm; on the contrary, through changing you and making you spiritually aware, this very past can be a means of enriching your life in the future! (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, pp. 449-450).
How can we prevent temptation?
Here are a couple of ways. Can you think of others?
Strong Marriages: God has made marriage as a fortress for well being and salvation (Baha’u’llah, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 205) According to the dictionary, salvation means the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc., but it also is used in theology to mean deliverance from the power and penalty of sin; redemption. So strong marriages help deliver us from temptation.
The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. “If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of Divine grace and favour in the Kingdom of heaven. But if they do other than this, they will live out their lives in great bitterness, longing at every moment for death, and will be shamefaced in the heavenly realm. “Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.” (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 226)
2. Drawing closer together:
The condition of the world is such today that it is like a great negative undertow trying to pull down all but the strongest and most firmly rooted. The friends should realize this and draw closer to each other, knowing that they form one spiritual family, closer to each other, in the sight of God, than those united by ties of blood. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 8 May, 1948, Source Unknown).
I hope you’ll let me know what you think of these ideas, and then continue on to the next few articles, as I explore this topic more fully.
In part 1, we look at What is Temptation?
In part 2, we look at The Steps of Temptation Leading to Sin
In part 3, we look at The Ways in Which we are Tempted
In part 4, we look at Why We are Tempted
In part 5, we look at Things We Can Do When We are Tempted