True love overlooks sin

As I sit here and write this blog (late I know) I am struck by the readings this Sunday. In Wisdom, we read about the great mercy of God. The mercy is so great that God overlooks the sins of humanity so that He may love them into repentance. Do not abuse them or hate them, love them. The writer of Wisdom says that God would not have created us if he hated us. That is an amazing statement on the love of God.

And then we read in the gospel, the story of Zacchaeus. A man that was considered so sinful, that the mere thought of Jesus spending time with him, scandalized the holier-than-thou crowd of onlookers. But Jesus’ act of love was so great a force that it changed Zacchaeus’s heart that it made him repent on the spot. He pledged to change his whole life just because Jesus said he wanted to spend time with him. 

Far too often Christians paint God as someone who hates not just sin but sinners too. Yet Sunday’s readings paint a totally different picture of God. It shows us that despite our sinfulness, God loves us and continues to love us, even when we cannot bring ourselves to repent. This should be the lesson that we all take away from these readings. If God can love us, even when we are in the depths of true sin, then why, as human beings are we unable to love one another, regardless of whether or not we believe we are sinners?

Sadly, many people who consider themselves Christians believe they are perfect enough to judge others and to decide whether or not they are worthy of God’s love. And by extension, they believe they take him with how old they are love because God surely cannot love someone living in sin. How can you profess to be a Christian, a follower of the Christ, and expect God to love you when you sin while condemning others that you believe are just as sinful?

I encourage you this week to do two things: 1) before you judge someone as sinning, make sure what they’re doing is a sin, and 2) and then follow the example of Jesus and love them regardless. It is not your right, nor your mandate from God to be a judge, jury, and executioner of anyone. Erase from your vocabulary, the false narrative of love the sinner, hate the sin. Not only is it not scriptural, it is just another excuse to hate someone while feeling morally superior.

Also, take time to circle back to those you may have judged, as unworthy of God’s love, or unworthy of your love and support, and ask for their forgiveness and for God’s forgiveness for not following the example given us and holy scripture. In doing so, you will exhibit true Christianity and true love.

Pax et Bonum,

Fr. Greg