Dealing with sinners  in this world

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

If we have to be like Christ, as we should, we should learn how to deal with sinners who actually are all of us. Instead of being turned off by them, or by that state of affairs, like Christ we should have the interest to look, help and care for them, as Christ himself told his disciples about the story of the lost sheep. (cfr. Mt 18,12-14)

“What is your opinion?” he asked. “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.” (v. 12-13)

Our initial reaction when we notice a mistake or a sin of somebody may be that of being critical. But we should not remain long there. We should rectify as quickly as possible, and proceed to do whatever we can to help. At the very least, what we can do is to pray and offer some sacrifices for that sinner.

In a sense, we should try our best not to be scandalized by whatever mistake or sin committed by others or even by our own selves. Our mistakes and sins should rather move us to go to Christ and to act the way Christ acted toward sinners.

We should try our best to be protected from being scandalized by whatever mistake or sin we see around. With all the scandalous things popping everywhere nowadays, we should train ourselves to be strong and focused enough to do what we are supposed to do instead of being stalled by them. That is why we should aim at being scandal-proof.

We cannot deny that there are many scandals around that can rob us of our desire to do constructive things, often nipping it in the bud. Today’s scandals just do not come from the usual sources from which we may already have developed a good resistance.

Nowadays, the scandals can come from very unexpected causes, that is, from people whom we least expect to cause them. These people are supposed to be above suspicion.

Yet, we always have to remember that anything is possible under the sun. A saintly-looking person may be a demon in disguise. But the reverse can also be true. A devilish-looking person is, in fact, a saint. We should try not to be too surprised by this. In fact, it can be a healthy attitude to somehow expect this kind of phenomenon.

We have to learn how to fraternize with sinners in order to help them get out of that state of sin. This was what Christ did.

Fraternizing with sinners is what we all have to cultivate in ourselves also. We have to replicate Christ’s attitude towards sinners, who actually are all of us --of course, in varying degrees. We have to give special attention to the lost sheep and to the lost coin. We have to open all possible avenues to be in touch with all sinners.

This capacity to fraternize with sinners is first of all a gift from God which we have to take care of and develop. It’s meant to mature us and to involve us in the continuing work of redemption of Christ. It’s not meant, of course, to dilute the teachings of Christ and the very essence of goodness and true holiness.


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