Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Why Don't People Get It?
Last week, one of my Facebook friends shared a post from author Richard Paul Evans.
Now I will be frank, and admit that I am not familiar with Mr. Evans work. When I am not at work, I suppose I spend far too much time on my computer, taking care of the blogs, researching for posts, reading the news, etc. I seldom read a book anymore, and I am out of touch with who writes what lately.
The thing I am talking about here though, is not about Mr. Evans writing, but a post he made and asked to be shared regarding a letter he received from an "anonymous" person from a church where he had in his own words: "I came to your church to tell you about God’s love for His children. And to talk about the beauty of His forgiveness. I don’t think you heard me. Or, at least, believed me. You wrote in your letter that I had no place in a house of God, as I was clearly a sinful man and that my sins were “manifested across my face”, revealed by my many facial tics."
Now, I am not going to reproduce his entire response on this post, but you can go read it here.
It makes me wonder, how the person who wrote him, deems themselves to be so qualified as to judge the heart of a person. How do they deem someone...anyone... to be sinful as being indicated by their "many facial tics"?
Did I miss out on something? Did Jesus Himself....any of the apostles...any of the many saints...any of the great Church writers... teach that we could always spot a sinner by his or her "many facial tics"? If having facial tics is proof that someone is a sinner, then who among us would not be constantly plagued with tics?
The "anonymous" letter writer apparently failed to read two very, very important passages from scripture. The first being about judging as found in Matthew 7: 1-2 and the other from 1 John 1: 8-10 where the Evangelist warns us about saying we have no sin. It might also benefit anonymous to read 1 John 2: 9-11 as well.
The thing that also got me was the assertion from "anonymous" that Mr. Evans "had no place in a house of God" because Mr. Evans, in the view of "anonymous", "was clearly a sinful man".
How can anyone not know...not realize... that the House of God is a place for sinners, and full of sinners. Jesus said to the Pharisees who caught the woman accused of adultery, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I can't cast a stone. Can you? Can "anonymous"? Has "anonymous" ever read Romans 3:23?
We have all sinned. We have all fallen short of the Glory of God. The house of God is meant for sinners. It is full of sinners. If the house of God excluded sinners, who would be in it? Who could be in it? Not me, or you who are reading this. The house of God is meant for the sinners to come before God and to seek His forgiveness, and His Redemption through Jesus Christ. If a House of God excluded sinners, then there would not be any salvation for anyone. Indeed, a House of God would not even exist!
What "anonymous" also fails to see, is that Mr. Evans is bearing his cross in Christ. He has been given a cross to bear, and he bears it with conviction and courage. Many have crosses to bear...whether they be facial tics...mental illness...physical illness...spiritual weakness...all have crosses to bear and in different degrees. None of us are told that we will never have to suffer.
Our Lord suffered for us, so why should we think that since He suffered for all of our transgressions, we should never have to suffer at all? Saint Augustine of Hippo reminds us "God had only one Son without sin, but never one without suffering".
Saint Ignatius of Loyola also tells us "If God causes you to suffer much, it is a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint. And if you wish to become a great saint, entreat Him yourself to give you much opportunity for suffering; for there is no wood better to kindle the fire of holy love than the wood of the cross, which Christ used for His own great sacrifice of boundless charity."
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga also said "There is no more evident sign that anyone is a saint and of the number of the elect, than to see him leading a good life and at the same time a prey to desolation, suffering, and trials."
So "anonymous" willingly allowed themselves to miss seeing a man willingly bearing his cross, in unity with Christ bearing His cross. This person failed to do, what we should all do, and that is to see Christ in each and every person we meet.
For Christ is in all who believe and trust in Him, and follows His commandments.
To not see Christ in others...to only see Him in ourselves...is to deny Christ and His salvific power.
In the end, the letter from “anonymous” to Mr. Evans, says more about the serious spiritual work “anonymous” needs to learn about and practice than it does about anything else.