The sinner and his sin PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 May 2018 13:33

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

IT is said that we have to love the sinner but hate the sin. I suppose that’s simply because what is wrong is sin itself, but the one who committed it, though he may be guilty of what he did, is still a brother or a sister of ours whom we have to love and help to get back to the right way.

It is easier said than done, of course. What usually happens is that we are easily overtaken by our feelings and emotions and, in a sense, throw the baby with the bath water. That is, while we hate the sin for the inconvenience, damage and other evils it causes, we end up hating the sinner also. This is a very common phenomenon.

We have to find ways of distinguishing the sinner from the sin. But the basis for this effort to keep loving the sinner in spite of his sins is the example of Christ. We need to meditate often on the life and death of Christ, because it is where we are shown how to love the sinner while hating the sin.

And the example of Christ is clearly that of proclaiming the truth about what is right and wrong, what is good and evil, and of offering forgiveness for everyone, even if the requirements of justice were not fully met yet. Anyway, with what we owe Christ, we can never fully fulfill the requirements of justice.

This is something we have to learn as early as possible.

We just have to deepen our knowledge of what is right and wrong, what is good and evil, and conform our life to it as best as we can. And then like Christ, let us be quick to forgive, or at least, to offer forgiveness, just as we have to be quick to ask for forgiveness if we are ones in the wrong.

Of course, we should also be interested in living as best as we could the requirements of justice among ourselves. But we should also realize that no matter how much we try to live justice, we can never have it perfectly. And the last word we have to give is that of mercy. Mercy is the ultimate expression of justice.

Like Christ, we have to be willing to bear the burdens of the others. That’s precisely what St. Paul said in his Letter to the Galatians. “Carry each other’s burdens,” he said, “and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (6,2)

Yes, Christ just bore all our sins to save us, to bring us back to where we came from and to whom we belong—God.  He just had to forego the requirements of justice to reconcile us with God. That was why he just kept silent when he was tried and sentenced to death in the most unfair trial of all times. He did it to save us.

That is the attitude we ought to have when we are faced with the sins of men. While sins will always be sins and ought to be condemned, we have to do everything, including foregoing justice and just handing mercy, to save the sinner.

We may even have to find excuses for the sinner who can be ourselves too. Not only that, we can and should take the initiative to bring the sinner back to the right path, even if that effort would meet resistance and hostility.

In other words, let’s have the magnanimity of Christ, his heart that is full of love and compassion. Otherwise, if we just get stuck with our concern for justice, we will never end in our wrangling, our quarreling, our animosities, etc.

Remember, the sinner is still our brother or sister. He or she is still a child of God.

Last Updated on Friday, 25 May 2018 13:35