Why Is Augustine Too Harsh

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In this paper, I will argue that Augustine was overly harsh when he was recalling his sexual tendencies as a young man. I believe he was too harsh partly because the sin was unavoidable, but also because he could not truly free himself of the sin without having it pointed out to himself by someone already in the grace of God, and the blame he put on himself as an adult was almost contradictory to the Lord’s forgiveness. Original sin plays a major role in Augustine’s self-blame. To understand why I believe Augustine was excessively hard on himself, it is first necessary to understand my point of view on original sin, which is similar to Augustine’s. Original sin is humanity’s state resulting from the fall of man. When Adam sinned, human nature…show more content…
In Book Two, Augustine concludes all humans are contaminated with the original sin. The way it is described in the book, sin is like a disease. A characteristic of those who have not received God’s grace is that they cannot see how they are truly acting; this is because their sin is blinding them. I believe that the fact that he was blind to his sin needs to be considered before Augustine chastised himself. If those afflicted with original sin are blind, there is no way for them to cure themselves until someone who has already received God’s grace explains their actions and their sins. In Matthew 7:3, Jesus asks “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” In this passage, Jesus meant that we should not judge others without being free of our own sin, which is impossible without the grace of God. We are to love the sinner and hate the sin. Without help removing the plank from our eyes, we will remain in darkness and in sin, which will eventually lead to a spiritual death . At this time in his youth, no one attempted to point out his blindness. Augustine notes himself that his father had not moral concern. Monica, his mother, however, does admonish his actions, but in the end lets Augustine do as he pleases, not making an extreme effort to help her son who is afflicted with these sins. This also leads me to believe that Augustine…show more content…
As a Christian, the moment we accept the grace of God, we are free of our sins. Augustine distresses over the many sexual exploits he had committed, but he had already been forgiven. Perhaps the reason that he blames himself so much for this is because he does not fully comprehend that Christ understands everything he has been through. Hebrews 2:18 says that “because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Jesus understands every sin and took them onto himself on the cross. Jesus was God incarnate, but was also a man. He hungered, thirsted, and suffered as a man and ultimately died as a man. In God taking on the form of a man, he also took on the temptation of sin. I do not think the blame he placed on himself is entirely necessary, if the Lord has already forgiven him. Christ, in his life and death, understood what it meant to be tempted by sin, including lust, and understood the struggle it is for humans. This leads me to believe that he understood how Augustine would struggle greatly with the sin. In addition to that, we have already concluded that the sin is unavoidable; that while it is inexcusable without God’s grace, it is inevitable that the lust will eventually rear its head. I do not think Augustine should dwell on something he did in the past that has been forgiven

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