Those Who Sin Differently Than We Do


Those Who Sin Differently Than We Do

More Yancey--from whom I appear to be learning a lot. This book has been a most worthwhile and eye-opening read. Admittedly Yancey has his own viewpoint, and perhaps his own agenda. Nevertheless, I feel I have much to learn from him.

Today--C. Everett Koop (actually not, but you'll see).

from Soul Survivor--C. Everett Koop Philip Yancey

"I've noticed that Christians tend to get very angry toward others who sin differently than they do," one man said to me, a man who directs an organization ministering to people with AIDS. I've noticed exactly the same pattern. After I wrote in a book about my friendship with Mel White, formerly a ghost writer for famous Christians and now a prominent gay activist, I received a number of letters condemning me for continuing the friendship. "How can you possibly remain friends with such a sinner!" the letter writers demanded. I've thought long and hard about that question, and come up with several answers which I beleive to be biblical. The most succinct answer, though, is another question, "How can Mel White possibly remain friends with a sinner like me?" The only hope for any of us, regardless of our particular sins, lies in a ruthless trust in a God who inexplicably loves sinner, including those who sin differently than we do.

Too often I have discovered myself in the situation described above. I have also noticed it in others. I have friends who have been in a number of different relationships in and out of marriage who rail against homosexuality as a sin. I have good Catholic Friends who scream and rant and rave against abortion doctors and yet have had surgery to assure that they will have no more children.

We do tend to like least those whose sins differ from our own. If we're murderers, we can't stand thieves. The only real solution is to focus on the fact that we are all sinners. Is a homosexual any worse a sinner than myself? I would argue that the sins differ in kind, not in number. And yet consistently we seem to make out that homosexuality is a greater sin than say heterosexual promscuity, or allowing our poor to go without food or medical care.

Another example--abortion is a heinous, horrible sin and crime against God and humanity. So too is abandoning a young mother and her child to the care of some governmental system that may or may not provide her with a sufficient means of support in life. So also is depriving anyone of the basic necessities of life--food, water, shelter, and medical care--and yet we constantly face initiatives that would stigmatize illegal aliens and migrant workers in such a way. We can exploit their labor, but we want nothing to do with their problems.

Perhaps the best solution for this is the solid awareness that we are all sinners. We all, each one of us, every single day of our lives, give God and Heaven some cause for sadness. Yes, there are degrees of sinners and of sin, but do we stand as the Pharisee or as the Publican? Do we say that our sins are not so grave as those of our neighbors and thus inveigh against them with a strength that sometimes suggests madness?

Sin is sin, heterosexual, homosexual, abortionist, self-mutilator. We are all sinners before God, and when we really grasp that, we will have little time to spend accusing others, because we will be accusing ourselves and asking God for His mercy and help that we might stop the insanity of our own self-destruction. Grace alone may step in, pick us up, cleanse us, and set us back on our way. Better that we watch our own stumbling steps, than that we spend all of our time looking up from the muck to rant about how others stumble.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 15, 2003 8:22 AM.

Sharing Samuel's Wisdom was the previous entry in this blog.

A Disagreement with C.S. Lewis is the next entry in this blog.

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