Thoughts of despair are worse than sins!
What the Rav said:
A person falls, he can’t do it anymore. So, he starts again anew. Every day a new start.
But, if a person says, “I’m finished”, this is the hardest thing of all.
Thoughts like these and confusions like these are difficult and damaging. This is the worst of all, even more than all the sins and transgressions a person has ever done up until today.
All the sins you did, all the transgressions you did since the day you were born, from the day you were created in the root of creation, until today, does not compare to one word of despair. Like when a person says, “I’m finished, that’s just the way I am”.
Every second you can be like the Rebbe (Rabbi Nachman). Through G-d’s kindness his mercy is never ending. Hashem hasn’t left you.
You have no idea how much Hashem loves you, how much Hashem wants to help you, and how much Hashem wants to raise you up higher and higher endlessly. You have no idea about this!
When a person has a thought of despair. “This is how I am. I’ll never learn and I’ll never pray well. I’ll never be able to get up at midnight and I’ll never be able to guard my eyes…”
Thoughts like these are worse than all the sins, worse than all the blemishes of the eyes.
From today, you can guard your eyes! How? Hashem will help you. If you want, Hashem will help you. Hashem will make a miracle for you and you’ll guard your eyes, from today, from now on.
A thought of despair is worse than all the sins.
This lesson sounds difficult to understand.
Is the Rav really saying that a thought of despair is actually worse than sins, even big sins?
So, this is my take on why the Rav is explaining the lesson this way. Sins are bad, very bad. People go to hell for doing sins. Some never get out, ever (Gemara Sanhedrin).
But, the important point to remember is that a person can always do teshuva from any sins. Teshuva from fear of punishment wipes away the sin completely. Teshuva from love turns sins into merits.
So, sins can always be rectified.
But, despair is much worse. Why? Because when a person is in despair, he doesn’t make teshuva – what’s the point! He doesn’t try to improve – what’s the point! He just continues to fall (which means he continues to sin), but with no way of getting out of his downward spiral.
That’s why despair (‘ye-oush’) is so bad. Rabbenu calls it ‘the bite of the snake’. Run from despair like you would run from a highly poisonous snake!