The Holy Face of Jesus – Look at the Face of Radical Love
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-19
Recently I have had multiple conversations with fellow Christians. The conversations have all started to sound the same and they go something like this;
Me: we have to stand up against immorality.
Them: well, Jesus loves everyone, not being a sinner is not a pre-requisite of his love. Live and let live.
Me: Jesus didn’t leave people in their sin. He transformed them. Of course he loves everyone, but the question becomes do you love Him back? Because Jesus Himself tells us, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
It is in these moments that I see what Saint John Paul the Great talked about as the gradualness of the law. The essence of what the Great Saint was saying is that people tend to see the rules in the church as hard so they tell people that’s okay, Jesus loves you, and they lower the bar for that person, thereby keeping that person from moral truth.
John Paul II said this is an affront to the dignity of the human being. Lowering the bar essentially says, you’re not capable of being a great Saint. But God begs to differ and calls all of us to Sainthood. Despite our failures, God always continues to love us, but to give up and not even try blocks Gods grace from transforming us.
Jesus ABSOLUTELY DOES LOVE THE SINNER, but you know what He doesn’t do, leave the sinner who personally encounters Him in a wallowing of sin. The Samaritan woman recognized the truth and told everyone about him. He told the adulterous woman to, “… Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.” John 8:11. He doesn’t want the sinner to stay stuck in his or her sin. He wants radical conversion and transformation. It is the most radical love in the world. Is it hard? Yes. But he tells us to look to Him for that radical love. How did he show that love? On the cross.
When we lower the bar and tell people that sin is not actually sin, we are not showing them the God of miracles. This is the God who can transform the porn addict or drug addict, rescue the prostitute, free the materially enslaved.
Lowering the bar actually leads to moral relativism where there is different truth for different people. Doing this contradicts Christ Himself who said;
I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:16
Moral relativism also leads to apathy. Apathy is the antithesis of what Christ wanted. Christ was passionate. Apathy doesn’t care about the sin of yourself or your neighbor. Apathy leaves you stuck, at best, in a life of mediocrity. At its worst, apathy can lead to the gas chamber. Because if you’re not passionate about truth, and you don’t care what happens to your neighbor in an effort to live and let live, then you shouldn’t be shocked when your neighbor gets carted away when you didn’t stand up and fight for what’s true.
We are called to speak of Jesus and evangelize His truth with love. Jesus loves the sinner. Respond to that love, and let the King of Kings transform your life into a rich, passion filled life of joy.