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I see sins everywhere

A Xt3 Member asked at 7:23pm on September 21st 2017
An atheist friend started to ask me out of curiousity if something particular was a sin or not. That forced me to think in Christian life as a bunch of actions to be avoided, even if I know it's much more. Because of that, I can't help but judge every single action I see in my friends life or even when I'm reading a biography or a fictional book, not because I feel better, but out of fear for their souls. That's very sad and I feel I've became a slave of sin and fear, not for me, but for everything else, specially those who are not practising Catholics or accept only part of the Church teaching. My Christian life before was full of joy and love to God, I did my best without being judgamental, but now I don't know what to do. Please, help me.

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Hi Luisa, St John of the Cross puts it very clearly for us - 'in the evening of our lives, we'll be examined on love.' And of course, Jesus has already told us what the questions will be, 'Whatever you did to the least of my brothers (and sisters), you did to me (Mt 25:40).' So being a Christian is being someone who loves, especially those who most need that love, a love expressed concretely, by visiting the sick, clothing the naked, giving food to the hungry, and so on. That's the core of Church teaching - or to remind ourselves of the commandment Jesus called 'his' commandment and the 'new' commandment: 'love one another as I have loved you.' (Jn 13: 34 - 35; 15:12).

All of this is about actions to carry out, definitely not to be avoided. And Jesus is very clear in telling us not to judge others (Mt 7:1), since we never know what grace that person has received from God. Remember Jesus' approach to the woman discovered committing adultery (Jn 8), where he first of all sees off the mob who were getting ready to stone her to death, then tells her he doesn't condemn her, and to sin no more.

So it's not up to us to judge anyone. Rather, we have to try to see Jesus in everyone, leaving judgment to God. If you try this every day, you'll find your day becomes full of joy, since each day gives us another chance to prepare for our final exam, our meeting with Jesus at the moment of our death. Having done our best to love him in each neighbour, he'll recognize us as an old friend! Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 5:18am on September 29th 2017 reply

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