By Anna Von ReitzToday, I heard someone call the Pope a “jerk” for having the guts to explain something every Christian should know. And what he explained was this:
It’s not our role to judge or be mean to anyone.
At the same time, the Bible gives definite instructions about morality and immorality, what pleases our Creator, and what doesn’t.
Loving the sinner doesn’t include loving the sin.
We have to be sentient enough and discerning enough to know that “line in the sand” exists. We owe it to others to share this information.
And still know our limitations.
So when Christians welcome Sinners — we accept everyone in “as is” condition and we accept, too, that it is not our job to judge or change them.
In truth, we know we can’t judge or change them. That is work they have to undertake for themselves, with help from above our pay grade.
At most we can hope to engage them in the same effort and process we undergo ourselves as we view our actions in the light of the scriptures and the teachings we have received.
When I was a small child, I didn’t know it was wrong to steal.
And once it was brought to my attention that stealing was not a good thing, I have had many years to contemplate all the reasons why, and thereby train myself to grow in strength and moral conviction that yes, stealing is wrong, and it isn’t just because my Mother or Father said so.
It isn’t even because God said so.
It’s because some things are innately wrong, or unfair or destructive to others or even destructive to Nature itself. It’s because by abstaining from these evils we are protected from them— and we protect others from them, too.
This winter I came to the local grocery store at dusk, and there was a woman’s purse just sitting in an empty cart, nobody around.
So I rolled the cart inside and took the purse to the store customer service desk. The manager opened the purse in front of me and several employees looking for the name and address of the owner.
As we were all standing there an elderly woman came puffing up to us, red-faced and near tears. We all saw the look of utter relief spread across her face.
No big deal. It happens everyday. Someone does the right thing, because they know what “good” is and they want more of that in the world.
Seeing that the mystery was solved, I immediately turned away and went on about my business—- but the Purse Lady tracked me down in the juice and beverage aisle to thank me.
It wasn’t necessary.
I am used to the fact that not all blessings are mine. I smiled at her.
I smiled at Pope Francis, too, trying to explain the Christian Paradox.
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