The first step against sin is a firm resolution not to commit it, no matter how enticing it may appear.
At some point in our lives, we may realize that there is a sin we want to stop. The sin has become a nasty habit of ours and find it difficult to part ways with it.
However, where we do we start? How can we put an end to it?
Venerable Louis of Granada, a Dominican priest of the 16th century, gives his advice in a book rightly called The Sinner’s Guide. In it, he gives a step-by-step plan for sinners who want to start practicing virtue and be released from their slavery to sin.
According to Granada, “The First Remedy against Sin [is] a Firm Resolution not to commit it.”
We need to have at least some sort of desire not to commit that sin and to resolve within ourselves to do all that we can to prevent it. However, it won’t be easy, as Granada explains.
Be prepared, therefore, to meet with difficulties … Do not think you are called to enjoyment alone. You must struggle and combat; for, notwithstanding the abundant succor which is offered to us, we must expect hard labor and difficulties in the beginning of our conversion.
With this in mind, we can go forward with a strong resolution against that sin.
Your first determination must be a deep and unshaken resolution never to commit mortal sin, for it can only rob us of the grace and friendship of God. Such a resolution is the basis of a virtuous life.
After you awaken in yourself a resolution to stop sinning in a particular way, don’t forget that resolution, and keep “hammering” it into your soul.
Take a lesson from the carpenter, who, when he wishes to drive a large nail, is not satisfied with giving it a few strokes, but continues hammering until he is sure it is firmly fastened. You must imitate him, if you would firmly implant this resolution in your soul. Be not satisfied with renewing it from time to time, but daily take advantage of all the opportunities afforded you in meditation, in reading, in what you see or hear, to fix this horror of sin more deeply in your soul.
If you want to be a better person and stop a particular sin, the first and most important step is to have a strong desire to stop. Without that desire, you are more likely to fall back into old habits and continue a life divorced from God’s love.
The key to overcoming bad habits is with good habits