Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Live and HELP live

It is not always easy to be a Christian. It is even more challenging to be a Catholic Christian. As Catholics we have very strong moral and religious convictions that we must be willing to stand up for, in a world where values and virtues are not at all appreciated. Our society tells us it is better to live and let live, than to reach out to others.
The prevailing attitude in this day and age is one of moral relativism. In other words, each person can determine what is right for them, and (if anything) what is wrong. “I'm okay, you're okay,” seems to be the mantra. No one has a right to disagree with the choices of those around them without being seen as selfish, judgmental and self righteous. Our culture maintains that there is no ultimate truth, there is no higher authority we must answer to, there are no rules to govern our choices and dictate what is truly right or wrong. Every decision seems to be left to feelings and desires. It reminds me of an old song from my high school years that says, “If it feels good, do it. If it tastes fine, drink...” Apparently this is a popular motto to have! Morality is all relative to the person, the circumstance, the situation, etc... At times I can understand this mentality. I grew up in this culture and am, to some degree, a product of it. I sometimes wonder, like others do, who are we to form opinions about the choices and decisions of others?
As a Catholic, I am blessed to have the perfect answer to that question in the example that Jesus gave us. Did He ever live and let live? Clearly no! His whole life was all about relationships. He was constantly interacting with everyone He encountered. Jesus never took a “hands off“, or “look the other way” attitude. Why didn't Jesus just leave well enough alone? Was He constantly looking at others for evidence to condemn them? He was certainly qualified to judge others. He was perfect and without sin. He was self righteous in the best way possible and could truly see into the hearts and souls of those around Him. Yet, no one who encountered Jesus ever seemed to feel judged. Even the “rich young man” from the gospels who ultimately could not bear to leave behind his riches and treasures did not seem to be offended by Jesus, convicted maybe, but not hurt or rejected. Jesus did not get involved in the lives of others to judge them. He did not ever accuse or condemn anyone, but at the same time He never allowed them to wallow in their sinfulness. He never justified the wrongdoing of others, nor did He accept any excuses offered to Him. He loved the sinner but hated the sin and He did not apologize for it!
There is such thing as sin. There is right in this world and there is wrong. Sin can not be avoided. It can not be explained away. It cannot be justified. We all do things we know we shouldn't. We all do things we wish were okay, but simply are not. Furthermore, sin does hurt us. It hurts all of us, the sinner and those around them, even society as a whole. This is not a widely held belief in the world we live in.
Many of us feel we are expected to live and let live, to accept others wherever they are morally, emotionally, spiritually. At times we’re even asked to support and encourage others in their sin. It sounds crazy but it is happening all around us! Sin is celebrated in our culture. Sin is something people are proud of and want others to respect them, not in spite of, but because of! And it is hard to stand up for truth and righteousness without being condemned for that!
It might be easier to sit back and ignore the sin around us. Christians are often rejected for standing up for our values. Christians are condemned and judged for our stance against sin, but homosexuals and abortionists are respected for being true to themselves and helping others live a better life! Yet, despite the opposition, despite the disapproval, despite the fact that the truth may leave others feeling condemned or offended we must follow Jesus’ example. We must stand up for what we know to be true and right if we love God and His people.
It is not loving to live and let live. It is not compassionate to look the other way. We all struggle with sin and sometimes need the help of others to turn back to God. There are many who are completely misguided and trapped in a life of sin. They are the ones who most need someone to care enough to help them out. We are not called to judge but we are called to get involved and to teach. Sometimes we can do this by the example of our own lives but more and more often this world needs more. We need to speak up, to preach Jesus’ words and teachings and to take a stand against sin and sinful ways. When faced with a situation of sin and wrongdoing, we must compassionately and lovingly share the alternatives of repentance and righteousness. And, of course, we must pray unfailingly and unceasing. For it is only through the grace of God that any of us is given salvation.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...