Do sinners have moral standing to judge sin? 5


By Tom Quiner

“There is a man who goes to my sister’s church who is quite upset over this Duck Dynasty ordeal. This is a man who according to Jesus is an adulterer since he has twice divorced (no annulments granted here). Why does no one seem to have a problem with his sins?”

I am revisiting this question from a Quiner’s Diner reader, because I think it is a good one.

Let’s react to his question at the literal level. Then we’ll get to his real intent.

When he asks why does no one seem to have a problem with divorce, I think we can agree that today’s culture is pretty accepting of divorce. After all some 34% of those who have ever been married have been divorced.

Attitudes on divorce began to change in the 1970s with the advent of no-fault legislation, which swept across the nation one state at a time. Divorce rates shot up as it became easier for couples to give up on their marriage when things got tough.

No-fault divorce was one of the most insidious, anti-child pieces of legislation ever passed since the needs of the kids took back seat to the emotional desires of adults. Once marriage was no longer about the kids, gay marriage was an inevitable perversion of the institution.

I ran the question by Adam Storey,  the Director of the Marriage and Family Life Office for the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines. He responded:

“Regarding the man who goes to the sister’s Church, I think it’s hard to tell what he’s getting at, but we could say that until the man investigated the validity of his previous marriages, which happens through the annulment process, we assume that he’s married to his first wife and is now living in an adulterous relationship.  We wouldn’t take issue with the man himself, but would encourage him to rectify a gravely wrong situation.  We’d base this belief of Christ’s teaching, clearly in the gospels, that marriage is a union broken only by death.  This seems to imply that he’s upset with the Church’s teaching on same-sex-attraction, but that would obviously take a much longer response.”

I’ve known people who have gotten divorced, as have you. Seldom have I have witnessed a divorce when people aren’t upset. Most divorces produce a tremendous amount of anxiety and displacement.

So when the writer asks why doesn’t anyone have a problem with a divorced person, that is incorrect. Family and friends of the aggrieved party in a divorce DO have a problem with the person they think hurt their loved one. That doesn’t mean that time can’t heal these wounds. And for Christians, we are called to forgive.

My Catholic/Christian Church is a “hospital” for sinners. Why in the world did Christ come into this world anyway? To save us sinners, whether we are divorced or acting on same-sex attractions, and even more, to avoid the temptation to sin.

But divorce isn’t really the concern of the writer. He is really suggesting that the divorced man at his sister’s church has no moral standing to be upset about gay marriage, since he has violated his marriage vows.

A Quiner’s Diner reader, Lisa Bourne, said this is an old tactic:

“The same thing was flung at Newt Gingrich when he was running for president. It’s very convenient. A public figure who either stands for something with which liberals disagree or says something they don’t like becomes the target of outrage and slander.

The tactic with Newt Gingrich was to put forth that he couldn’t say anything about right or wrong because he’d been married more than once. This then extended to the position that, likewise, he could not be a leader, which equates to being unelectable. This is a form of character assassination.”

I don’t know a single Christian who is not a sinner. This familiarity with the disease of sin calls on each Christian to point out the disease, whether it is divorce or acting on same-sex attractions, and seek the cure.

The cure? Christ.

5 comments

  1. Depends on what is meant by “judging”. The Westboro Baptists, IMHO, are going beyond what is acceptable by Christians, protesting at funerals of service men who were gay, holding signs that say “God hates f***!”, etc. I think they are in for a rude awakening when standing before the great Judge. On the other hand, standing up for the unborn, and demanding that our politicians do the same, is that judging? Not voting for a man who is an adulterer, is that judging? Praying for sinners and accusing sinners are two different things. Does this make any sense or am I just rambling?

    • Shawn, it makes sense to me. We need to remember God’s law of love. Westboro Baptists are not loving, they are condemning. Our goal as Christians is evangelize and try to get more people to heaven. That means we have to lovingly point out the impediments (sins) people are placing before themselves that distance them from God. Westboro tactics are not going to change hearts.

  2. Pingback: helpful hints to judge sin (from a god) | violetwisp

  3. “Do sinners have moral standing to judge sin”?

    It occurs to me that if sinners cannot judge sin then NO human being can judge sin as “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.

    Also, a line in I John (read as the first reading at Mass today, Sat. 11 Jan) states “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life.” — I John 5:16
    That resembles “judging” to me.

    One of the sayings i have written in my planner is “A life of without judgement results in a profound peace of the soul”.

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