“We have all sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23).” We Orthodox often miss the mark in understanding and ministering to this world. We fail to heed the words of Christ, “to love one another as God has loved us”, and forget we are charged by Our Lord to bring healing and wholeness to those struggling in this fallen world. In our righteous indignation we show contempt to those who live apart from biblical morality, forgetting that we were ourselves called out of this fallen world by Christ. We forget, in our contempt for the sins of others, that it was this very Christ Who asked those in the crowd who were without sin to cast the first stone.
All of us have failed to fulfill the Commandments of God, and we are all deserving of being squashed like worms. But Jeremiah says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your FAITHFULNESS” (Lam 3:22,23).
God never washes His hands of us. We may disappoint Him every day, but His love is without measure, and He responds with His saving Grace and Mercy. The Church, as the hospital of the soul, is the very institution founded by Our Lord to bring about wholeness and healing to everyone. It is the lie of Satan that some are deserving of nothing but our contempt and violence. But it is Christ Who has called us to compassion for those who are stuck in sin, and Who offers, through the Church, the saving, transformational healing that can turn hearts around, and turn sinners into saints.
When we turn from the Gospel of wholeness and healing, and act in such contemptuousness to the Gospel message of love, forgiveness, and redemption, those who are caught up in a sinful life will feel nothing but hopelessness, and the message of the Church will have been hidden from them.
A personal relationship with Christ changes our hearts, and saves us. It is not political extremism that preserves nations from immorality and sin, but the people themselves, who, having put on Christ, transform the society from within. As Saint Seraphim of Sarov said, when we acquire the Holy Spirit, a thousand around us will be saved.
Love in Christ,