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Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on...

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on the concept of just war (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s human nature to try to make excuses for our sins. But we shouldn’t do it, says St. Augustine. We’re only making the sin worse by showing our ungodly pride.

But it is a worse and more damnable pride that looks around for the shelter of an excuse even in obvious sins. Our first parents did just that: the woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate,” and the man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12-13).

No begging for pardon, no appeal for healing. They did not deny (like Cain) that they had done the thing, but their pride tries to push its wickedness off onto someone else—the woman’s pride to the serpent, the man’s to the woman.

But where there is a plain breaking of a divine commandment, this is accusing yourself instead of excusing yourself. The fact that the woman sinned on the serpent’s persuasion, and the man on the woman’s offer, did not make the sin any less—as if there were anyone we ought to believe or yield to rather than God.

–St. Augustine, City of God, 14.14

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