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The second  questions based on my latest homily from “interested parent’s” kids was from her teenage son who asked;

What is stopping people from committing more crimes (and sins), because they know they can receive “forgiveness”?

The short answer is- nothing.

There is nothing to stop any of us from sinning and committing crimes once we have been forgiven. You see we have all been given the gift (perhaps at times it seems like a curse) of free will.  We are always free to choose to go back to our hurtful activities.

When Jesus forgives someone in the gospel stories, like he did the woman at the Pharisees house or the woman caught in adultery, he always says to them your sins are forgiven- go and sin no more or go and live in peace. We never hear how these people did after they left Jesus.

I believe this is the case because forgiveness is an opportunity to move forward. Some who believe they are truly forgiven for the past hurts they have caused will move on with their lives and be productive and caring members of society.

Others given the same opportunity will fail. There is no guarantee. This is where faith plays a big role as does the gift of friendship. Often times when we have sinned, we can really use a friend to help us recover and move forward. There are times we will be called upon to be that friend to another who just can’t seem to get their life together.

As a teenager you will already be experiencing the pain of sin-i.e. hurtful actions that take us away from what God wants for us, which is to live in peace. Many will chase the false promise of drugs and alcohol or look for love in all the wrong places. Some will hurt you and you may hurt others.

The whole point of this series on forgiveness is to let you know that no matter what you may have done you can always come home to Christ. He will hug you and then tell you- “your sins are forgiven-,go now and sin no more and live your life in peace.”

It will be up to you if you do this- don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it and offer it to another when you are able.

Thanks for the questions.

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