"You don't love me." "I thought you were my friend." "Isn't our love unconditional." "What would Jesus do?" "Jesus accepted all people, why don't you?" "You are using the bible against us."
These are all too familiar sounding if you have ever had to draw a line in the sand. Today, sappy Christians believe that we can believe, yet not believe at the same time. Sappy Christians believe that to be a 'Christian' means that we have to love un-conditionally. Sappy Christians expect each of us to not dare to question a lifestyle, a wrong course of action, an abuse of the Sacraments, a misinterpretation of the Sacred Scriptures. Sappy Christians expect that we can live in this world without controversy, without having to take a stand and stand up for what is correct. Sappy Christianity is a spineless fish.
It is not once nor twice, nor three times that we have heard the statements/questions listed above. Some of us have probably heard them many times. Sappy Christianity has gone to bed with secularism and lost its direction. To be Christian does not mean we have to 'accept' everything that everyone does. There are things that are just simply wrong, objectively and intrinsically contrary to the order of creation and the good for which God intended them in their design. So what happens? People get offended when we have to stand up for correct teaching and practice.
This sappy idea that we have to accept everything that everyone does is mis-directed compassion. "Compassion" originates from two Latin words: Cum and Passio. The word "compassion" means 'to suffer with.' When we suffer with others it does not mean that we embrace all that they have done or are going to do that violates Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. No, not all. We have an obligation to help them transcend the muck of their lives, the worldliness that they may be attached to, the sins that may be keeping them shackled. We sometimes have to remind them that they are wrong. Everyday I minister among maximum security inmates. Men who have murdered, men who were serial killers, men who abused children, men who brutally raped and tortured others, men that compromised the law with drugs etc. The list could go on and on. I love the men that I serve but I do not like nor accept the things they have done in their lives. Regularly I have to challenge them to transcend their previous choices and man up. Christ challenges us to change, to conversion, to unloosening the shackles that keep us in the mud of our lives.
A sappy Christian cannot do this because a sappy Christian wants everyone to accept everything and not upset the applecart. Christ, our Divine Savior, was not worried about upsetting the applecart, He even flipped tables over because money changers were desecrating the holy Temple, His Father's house. Christ, the Divine Teacher, taught what others did not want to hear. But Christ never left people to swim in their sins and wrong lifestyles. Recall how he rebuked the woman at the well, the hypocritical Pharisees, etc.
Mis-directed compassion is not compassion at all, it is a license to sin. We cannot be satisfied with sin in our own lives nor in the lives of others. We have to rise above our sinfulness and challenge ourselves to conversion of mind and heart. We have to be ready and willing to help others rise above the wrong in their lives if we are going to truly walk with them as disciples of Christ. Twenty years ago, my first assignment was with one of our faithful and historic clerics in the Church, Father Antonio Grossi. Father Grossi was a man of compassion but absolutely no push over and never settled for anyone trying to make excuses for their sinfulness. He use to say: "Talk is cheap." He would go on to explain that our words do not mean anything if our actions do not correspond. We need to man up, face ourselves, face our wrong doing and correct it. No man in his right mind bathes in the mud of a pig in order to become clean.
Challenge yourself today:
If you know something that needs corrected in your life today, then correct it. If you are acting against the historical Church, then stop it. If you are trying to serve two masters, then decide where your loyalty lies. If you have never stepped foot in a seminary and been properly formed and are seeking to be a priest, wake up. If you are living a lifestyle contrary to the Church and at the same time think you have a 'right' to be a priest, you need to correct yourself. If you made promises to others and realize that those promises are contrary to Christ and His Church, then correct them and do the right thing. Embrace the Cross and allow yourself to be challenged to transcend the mud of your life. Do not be a sappy Christian. Sappy Christianity is no Christianity at all.
We can love, be compassionate, be pastoral and at the same time be honest and truthful by following the Church and remaining loyal to correct teaching and practice.