Love the Sinner

Are you a sinner? Are you craving of love?

Today the Catholic church celebrates the day of the sick. Many churches held healing services after today’s mass. Today is also a special Sunday, because it is a week before the pre-Easter period. I think it’s not a coincidence that this week the church celebrates the healing of the sick, just before the Easter preparation.

Today’s first reading is taken from Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46. It is about God’s order that anyone has leprous sore should be pronounced “unclean“. The leper then should wore torn clothes, covered his mustache, and cried, “Unclean! Unclean!” so that nobody will go near him. He should dwell alone outside the camp.

It’s quite a horror, isn’t it? At that time, a leper was not only suffer from his disease, but he suffer more from the judgement. During that time, someone who has leprous sore was also believed as a cursed one. They were cursed because they’d sinned. No one knew what sin may cause a leprosy, but people just believed that a leper is a sinner. They had the leprosy because God cursed them.

This understanding is very important before we read the Gospel. In today’s gospel, which is Mark 1:40-45, Jesus healed a leper. it’s not only Jesus said to the leper, “You are healed.” No, it wasn’t like that.

What had happened is, when a leper came to Jesus and said, “If You are willing, You can make me clean,” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” (Mark 1:40-41)

Jesus touched the leper. Not only physically, but also spiritually.

I’ve told you in the previous posts that I was a very judging person. When I was in school, I had a good friend who shared her story to me. As I heard the story, I started to judge her as a sinner, because I thought she had done something bad.

Then years later, somehow, I did the thing that my friend had told me before. I was so sad and shamed at first, “How can I did this?” I judged myself because of the bad things I’d done. It’s difficult for me to accept the fact that I am also a sinner (yes, it takes a long time for me to realize that I am also a sinner, because I always thought that I am holier than anyone).

It’s a difficult time for me, but it was also an opened door for me. Since then, I started to be more humble. I started to be more understanding of how people could be sinned. I started not to judge a sinner, but to love them. It’s just like St. Theresia of Avila saying, “It constantly happens that the Lord permits a soul to fall so that it may go humbler,”

Then someday later, when one of my best friend was known of doing something bad, I didn’t judge her as a lot of people did. I can accepted her. I know it’s impossible for the “old” me to accept a her, but my experience and my awareness that me too, is a sinner, enabled me to accept her.

Today Jesus reminded us how we should act to someone who committed sin. We don’t have any rights to judge. We can’t let them lost further neither. We should touch them, love them, and heal them.

It’s nice if you can visit the prison sometimes. One of my beautiful moment was when our church served regularly visiting Christian prisoners. We held a small prayer meeting: we sang, prayed, and shared our story. Then someday one of the prisoner shared his thought. He said that he was so thankful that the church care for him. He was so thankful that there are people who still care for them, not judge them or even abandon them. At that moment, I was reminded to one of Jesus’s parables about a King said, “when I was in prison, and you came to Me,” (Mat 25:40)

It is true what Paul said in today’s second reading, “Imitate me, just I also imitate Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)

What will Jesus do when He heard His friend was accused to a crime? What will Jesus do when He meet the rejected people? What will Jesus do when He meet a sinner?

My dear friend, let me remind you that ‘love the sinner‘ doesn’t mean you are agree with the sin. Love the sinner doesn’t mean to do a sin is okay. Love the sinner doesn’t mean we can live in sin forever. See, there is a big difference between the ‘sin‘ and the ‘sinner‘. God hate the sin, yes, 100%, but God love the sinner. God love the people.

Many time in the Bible you may find how God is a Loving and easy to forgive. God love people, that is why God still care for the people even when they’ve sinned against Him. How many times God’s people betrayed Him? Being unfaithful to Thee? Countless time. But God still love them.

Today, we have a beautiful story. Jesus didn’t heal the leper physically, but also spiritually. The leper who had been suffered a lot and nearly desperate, feeling dirty and sinned, came to Jesus and asked Him humbly, “If You are willing, you can make me clean.” He is tired of the affliction, he is tired of the loneliness and judgement, so he surrendered on God’s will. Then God with compassion answered him, “I am willing; be cleansed,”

God healed the man thoroughly. It’s like God has swept away all of the sin and curse. God wants him to live better, free of the sin and judgement.

My dear friend, let’s learn to love the sinner. It’s easy to hate the sinner. It’s easy to judge them. But it’s our duty to love them, to show them that God never gave up on them. It is our calling: to love. Will we say yes for this calling? Will we imitate Jesus? Will we touch the sinner and bring them back to God?

May God equipped us with more love and courage to imitate Him. May God enables us to hate the sin, but to love the sinner. God bless you 😊.

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