On Dealing with Sinners


On Dealing with Sinners

In a response to a post below, Erik suggests a question which is in urgent need of an answer. To wit, how do we deal with the sin of homosexual behaviors?

To rephrase the question more broadly, "How do we deal with sinners?" And the answer, as you might guess, is obvious--just as we have been doing up until now. We are all sinners and we are all children of God. Our commandment is to love our neighbor. Love does not express itself in endless harangues against how a person lives. Homosexual behavior, while a mortal sin, is no more mortal than say, theft, adultery, gossipmongering, scandal. That is, while we are well aware of the nature of the sin of a person professing homosexual behavior, others sin as well and we do not know it.

Do we ignore the sin? No, but we do not allow the sin to stand in way of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We do not let it stand in the way of true equality and justice before the law and before God. We do not countenance the death of sinners, as God does not wish it. In short, we do not let the sin stand in the way of love and justice.

The only way the truth can be received is through a heart filled with love. When we fall short of perfect love of the person as person, our ability to share the good news of salvation is impaired. If we are constantly harping on the sin, we will alienate the individual. Our lives must reflect the love we know, and through that image of the living God, encourage the sinner to seek Him. If we are asked, we must be prepared to state boldly and gently what we know to be the truth, and we must be prepared to live it and defend it.

So, as Erik points out, many of us know caring, talented, loving, generous people whose known sin is homosexual behavior. We are inclined to regard their sin as "not so bad." I see this in part as a work of Grace. We cannot let our feelings about the person disguise the fact that the behavior involved is seriously disordered and gravely sinful. But these feelings allow us to show some facets of God's all-encompassing love. And our calling is to reify that love to the degree possible.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 7, 2003 4:52 PM.

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