(Read part 1 to this post here)
Welcome back! Let’s get right into it. We were talking choices, political decisions, etc.
You might say that the corruption is everywhere. There are no good choices. There were no good choices. You decided to vote or act against someone or something instead of for something else. You might say that the system is broken. You may very well be right. You may feel divided and antagonistic towards anyone who doesn’t feel the same way you do. And you have the right to be hurt or sad.
We like to say in the Church, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” And I think sometimes we say things like that and then act otherwise. I think people sometimes become afraid of what they don’t know or understand. They don’t want to feel like they are “accepting” or approving the sin by still loving the sinner. Do you remember Christ and the woman taken in adultery? Christ and the woman at the well? I read a little bit in Talmage’s Jesus the Christ about these two experiences and found that Christ wasn’t apologetic or trying to make them feel like their sins were “okay” or excusable. As Talmage states in chapter 25, “Jesus did not expressly condone; He declined to condemn; but He sent the sinner away with a solemn adjuration to a better life.”
This whole issue of condoning and condemning is so important. Elder Holland in an April 2014 Conference Talk said,
Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others. Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once).
Condemning and condoning.
Do we really understand what those words mean? Do we sometimes think that it’s our right to condemn people whose lifestyle or views are different from ours or who we believe to be “wrong”? Do we think, “Well, God said this behavior is wrong, so those people engaging in that behavior don’t deserve XYZ. They need to be punished.” If you do, stop. Are you condemning? Remember Doctrine and Covenants 64:10-11:
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
God has justice, of course, but He also has mercy. That’s what the Atonement is for and about. He doesn’t ask us to make the call to condemn and decide punishment. That’s not our business. We aren’t to condone the sin or say that it’s okay. Christ didn’t do that. He wasn’t in the habit of making people feel good about their mistakes. He told it like it was, putting things on the level. He didn’t condone. But we also see in the Gospels that He hesitated to condemn. Let’s follow that example.
More more more to come on Monday! Sorry not sorry for my rantings, I have to get it out somewhere 🙂