Willful Disobedience

At some point in our lives, usually when we are very young, we find ourselves conflicted and torn upon being clearly and expressly forbidden to do something, especially when the command is issued without explanation or reason. When a reason or rationale is requested (often expressed with high-volume emphasis by the very young) the common response is “Because I said so” which is seldom if ever sufficient to appease or mollify. Indeed, it is not uncommon to find that such a command will almost certainly prove to be an irresistible enticement sufficient to induce compulsory disregard and willful disobedience to the taboo.

Choosing our own path

Choosing our own path

Such is the nature of “free will”; such is the innate nature of man so codified within the very essence of our being by God. It has been so from the beginning, when God gave man the order: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge or good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.[1]

And when Adam asked why, he quite clearly heard God say, “Because I said so!” God provided no other reason, for his word ought always be enough. But as we know from our many unfortunate experiences, what is forbidden often merely serves to heighten our desire to attain, achieve, or to have it. We want it simply because we cannot, no matter the consequences, and there are always consequences.

When you ignore the proscription to not place your hand on a hot stove, you will no doubt suffer the consequences and the pain that will inherently result. And yet it would appear, after millennia upon millennia and billions upon billions of those much wiser and with greater experience saying “Because I said so,” we still cannot stop ourselves from doing what we have been explicitly told not to do, which in a real sense parallels that rather hackneyed definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

We say with firm conviction that God is omnipotent, almighty, all-knowing, perfectly wise and benevolent and yet our actions contradict our convictions, openly proclaiming that we know better than God. God gave us the freedom to choose his way or our way and with great hubris we choose to follow our own path rather than his.

Why do we find it so difficult to do what God wants of us? We are inquisitive and have a marvelous desire to learn and to grow in understanding. But knowledge sought for the purpose of deciding for ourselves what is good and what is bad contradicts that which God desires and that inevitably leads to sin.

God will never stop us from making our own choices for to do so would be to deny us “free will”, turning us into automatons, and that is not what God desires of us. He wants us to love him freely, without coercion, and to obey him simply because he asks. He offers us everything that is good and only forbids that which he knows is bad. We always have the right to choose and it can be either God’s way or …


[1] Gn 2:16-18.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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