Dear Parishioners, Just as there is an object and a subject in a sentence, the object and the subject are considered when making a moral judgement. When we hear, “We should not judge!” it more accurately we should not judge rashly. A rash judgment is a sin, but telling our neighbor that they are sinning is not. In this week’s Gospel from Matthew, Jesus asks us to hold each other morally accountable. Talking about sin in general is talking about sin as an object. This tells us the weight or gravity of sin. When talking about sin as a subject we look at responsibility. Subjective sin has three parts: conditions, circumstances and consequences. Conditions talk about pressures from within a person. This would include being too old, or too young, or dunk or emotionally disturbed. Circumstance talk about issues surrounding a person. This would include it’s too dark, or it’s raining or it’s a time of war. The seriousness of sin can change because of consequences.
Jesus tells us to win our neighbor over. I have found it is easier to win when working with the subject of sin which include feelings. Sharing about sin as an offence to God is helpful. Keeping sin personal connects us to the relationship we all have with each other because of our human dignity. Beating our neighbors over the head with objective truth is not very productive. Remember, Jesus told us to win our neighbor over.
Let us remember that when we hold our neighbors morally accountable, we ourselves need to be conscious of our own sins and the mercy we need from our loving Savior.
Sincerely in Christ,
Very Reverend Andrew Kemberling, V.F.