Assuming God’s attitude toward sinners

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

This is a great challenge for us! Since we are God’s image and likeness, we should also try to assume the very same attitude God has towards sinners, or towards anyone with whom we have some differences and conflicts.

And what is this attitude? It’s spelled out clearly in the gospel of Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter. (cfr. Jn 3, 16-21) “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

We have to be always merciful and understanding, willing to suffer for the others --and so, a lot of patience is needed-- if we want to have the same attitude God has toward any sinner or offender. We need to understand that though we may not understand fully why this is so, this attitude is an essential part of that divine wisdom we too are supposed to develop and have.

To be sure, we can say that the reason God has this attitude is that irrespective of how we are, we at bottom are all children of God. We have to love one another just as God loves every one of us. God hates no one. He hates the sin or the wrong committed, but he never hates the sinner. His consuming passion is to save, not to condemn. Failing to love and to be merciful is to pervert our true dignity as children of God.

This is going to be a big challenge for us since we cannot deny that the pervading world culture nowadays does not have this attitude. What is promoted is radical self-assertion, self-indulgence, and the like. The law of Talion, not of charity, is the standard followed. We are prodded to be quick to condemn, to fight back, to exact revenge, etc. We are primed to make ourselves our own lawgiver, our own king, our own creator.

We may just take a quick look around, for example, in the media, and what do we see? A lot of movies, talk shows, even commercials, whose story lines, plots, and narratives appeal more to our raw emotions, primitive instincts, with the light of reason and most especially of Christian faith, practically shut off.

Talk shows, especially of the political type, retail biased, fanatically-partisan opinions, as if only one party has all the right things and the others have all the wrong things. They are prone to inventing stories and highly hypothetical speculations without ample basis, and to making all sorts of spins. Many times, even common sense and the basic principles of logic are openly violated. And they can be very articulate in doing all these.

In the movies, there is a lot of bullying and trolling shown, there is violence galore. They blatantly market one-upmanship. Perceived cases of evils and injustice are resolved with subtle forms of evils and injustice as well. Even the news networks often fall to making what is now known as “fake news.”

The way to counter all these is to exert every effort to truly identify ourselves with God whose love and justice is shown and shared with us through Christ. This will obviously require a great sacrifice because as Christ said, if we want to follow him, we have to deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16,24-26) There is no other formula that can address this big challenge properly!

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