Back when I was about 18, and my father first started to fall away from the Church, I asked him why he quit going to Confession. My father’s response shocked me. He said, “David, I have done things for which God can never forgive me.”
At the time, I didn’t know what my father was talking about. I told him that he shouldn’t limit God’s power. I told him God can forgive any sin, as long as you are sorry.
“That’s just it,” my father said. “I’m not sorry.”
This revelation still disturbs me to this day. I do not understand how anyone can commit a sin, and not be sorry. Such an attitude shows a distorted love for God, or no love for God at all.
There is much made about the “unforgivable sin”. Most people know Christ names this sin in the New Testament. It is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Few people, however, seem to truly understand what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is. To know this, we must know just what the Holy Spirit is.
We Christians view God as a Trinity. This is one of several distinct beliefs of Christianity. There is only one God, but there are three distinct persons in God. The First Person is God the Father. What makes Him unique is that the Father begets the Son, and from Him the Holy Spirit proceeds. He is not begotten, and He does not proceed.
The Second Person is God the Son. What makes Him unique is that He is begotten, and from Him the Holy Spirit proceeds. He does not beget, and He does not proceed. Normally, when one Person of the Trinity acts, all of them act. In becoming Jesus Christ, however, God the Son acted alone. Jesus was only one Person. He was a Divine Person. Only God the Son became Jesus Christ.
God the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. His uniqueness comes from the fact that He is not begotten, and He proceeds from both the Father and the Son. He does not beget, and no one proceeds from Him. The Holy Spirit is, essentially, the love between the Father and the Son. The love between the first two Persons of the Trinity is so strong that it produces another Person. And this leads us to our main point. Just what is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
Since the Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is rejecting God’s love. Still, how does one reject God’s love? Does one just simply refuse to love God?
The short answer here is yes. Refusing to love is one obvious way to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But it can also be more subtle than that. God loves us, and wants only what is best for us. Indeed, He knows what is best for us. What is best is His love. When we commit grievous offenses against God, we are rejecting His love. We are telling God that we choose ourselves, instead of Him.
Flat out refusing to believe in God, or love Him, is mortal sin. Yet, we can carry this further. Some may commit mortal sin, but only regret it insofar as it was not “enjoyable”. In other words, the sinful act did not make them happy. They regret the act purely for this reason. They do not care about the offense they cause God. They reject the act purely because it didn’t bring them the desired pleasure. This is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Still, again, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be more subtle. My father’s comments above are a perfect example of this. Some people commit grievous offenses against God, and they simply are not sorry. They are aware of the wrong they did, but they do not care. They reject God’s forgiveness because they openly desire their own will. They desired the sinful act(s), and they do not regret it (them).
We aren’t done yet, because one can blaspheme the Holy Spirit in still another way. There are those who commit mortal sin, and they are truly sorry for it. Still, for whatever reason, they believe that God can not, or will not, forgive their sins. This rejects the love of God by setting limits to His love and mercy.
Sacred Scripture is clear that God’s love and mercy for us are limitless. It makes sense, when one thinks about it. God is infinite. An infinite Being must have all good qualities without limit. Hence, there can be no limits on God’s love and mercy. To say God can not, or will not, forgive our sins is to reject His love. The only way in which God can not forgive our sins is if we are not sorry for them.
This is all blasphemy is. It is the rejection of the love of God. Let us avoid this sin at all costs. God will never force Himself on us. No matter what we decide, God will always love us. We can not change this. Yet, we can refuse the benefits of His love. To obtain God’s forgiveness we must desire it. We commit the sin, so we must seek the forgiveness. God will forgive us, if we will only seek His forgiveness in humility and sorrow. Please, do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Accept God’s forgiveness. You won’t regret it!
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity