HATE THE SIN AND LOVE THE SINNER; EASIER SAID THAN DONE

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Curt Stoller commented on IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOLD AND LEAD, LOOK OUT! SOMEONE MAY SELL YOU THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE!

Point taken Anselmusjmj. This is not the first time one of my posts was in error. On re-reading the post I wrote after your response, it is clear that I was being hard on you without just cause. So I am really sorry about that. I also think this is a good time to make it clear that I am not as smart as I think I am and can and may have already made serious errors in comments I have posted here. Hopefully I have not fallen into heresy, but that remains for the Church to tell me. And I am ready at all times to repudiate not only anything I say that would mislead the Faithful but also anything that is just plain stupid. Stupid things said can be just as destructive as formal and material heresy sometimes.

There is a saying: “Hate the sin and love the sinner.” I don’t know who originated the saying. It is not to my knowledge in Sacred Scripture. I think it summarizes an important teaching of our Lord.
My post yesterday was a one-sided commentary on the second part of the saying. Both parts are important and neither can be sacrificed for the other. Thanks for correcting me anselmusjmj! I mean it!

When I read your comment Anselmusjmj, it brought to mind something from my past and I went off on a tangent. I was blabbering on and on about something brought to mind by experiences I have had with Jewish rabbis. So your comment was just a jumping off point for my reflections. But upon reading your comment and mine again, I can see that my comment read after yours looks like I am criticizing you for judgmentalism or anti-semitism or something. I don’t even know you but from your writings, I am certain there is not a judgmental or anti-semitic bone in your body anselmusjmj, so I’m really sorry if I hurt your feelings!

Please permit me to strike my hard heart with a rock anselmusjmj. I grew up with some family members who were not Catholics, some who actually admired Adolph Hitler. I was spoon fed Friederich Nietzsche and told of the glories of the German people for as far back as I can remember. Luckily this was not the only influence in my life. At one point in my life, it came to my attention that my last name is Jewish: Stoller. Grab the white pages of a New York telephone directory and look under Stoller and this is what you will find: Abraham Stoller, Benjamin Stoller, David Stoller, Ezra Stoller, Israel Stoller and so on. Needless to say the thought of somehow being Jewish did not sit very well for those members of my family who idealized the Third Reich.

Suffice it to say that I have always tried to learn from the Jewish people. I have found wonderful truths in Moses Maimonides, Baruch Spinoza, Martin Buber, Abraham Heschel and others. Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar, the chief rabbis in Israel call upon all Israeli residents to fight the abortion epidemic destroying their country, although their reasoning is Jewish and not Christian: because abortion delays the coming of the Messiah.

I think it can be useful to Christians to have a deep understanding of the Jewishness of Jesus. In saying this I do not mean to minimize the great contribution Greek and Roman philosophy has made to the development of dogma in the Catholic Church. I love St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure!!

The idea of hating the sin and loving the sinner is not as easy as it sounds. I think the reason for this is that it is very difficult to separate the two in practice. One is always tempted to condemn the person. For example, I would like to be able to say that I love the abortion doctor who has killed 5000 of God’s unborn children while absolutely hating and detesting the sin. But in actual practice it is very hard to leave judgment of the man to God. I guess what I am saying is that it is really difficult to a keep wall between the hate of the sin and the love of the sinner. It requires grace and every other help of God. I am not accusing others of this. I am accusing myself alone. Today I tried to convince a girl going to have an abortion to go talk to the people next door to the clinic: the Catholic counselors at Project Defending Life. But she would not listen to me. I told her that God loved her, that her baby loved her; that her baby was a blessing and not a curse. And let me tell you anselmusjmj, it was very difficult to think of the butchery taking place 20 yards from me, very difficult to hate the sin and love the sinner. Do I love my enemies, anselmsjmj? Do I really love them?

 

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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