“Oh Lord, help me forgive those who sin differently than I do.”

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to be incensed over certain sins?

As football season was starting there was flap about the player involved in dog fights, and my husband (not the least bit sentimental over animals for various reasons) asked what the big deal was.

That is, he knew why people didn’t like dog fighting, but was asking why this particular fall from grace was drawing more vehement and widespread criticism than any of the other stupid and sinful things public figures are exposed as being involved in.

In my typical way I launched into an off-the-cuff explanation as though it were a prepared speech. It went something like this:

Dog-fighting is something it’s safe not to like. It’s been reduced to a fringe activity in recent days, so you can be outraged and unrestrained in your criticism without having to worry about offending or provoking defensiveness in any of your acquaintances.

Or, even if you did, you’d feel on high moral ground that you wouldn’t be threatened by their disagreement. Nothing they can say would make you weaken your stance.

Anyway, people will rarely pass up a chance to look superior.

Other things, like a temper, say, or adultery, lying or arrogance– all these touch much more widely and deeply in our “civilized” world.

People get a “who are you to throw the first stone?” mentality, or (to invoke another stone cliché) realize they’re probably living in a glass house, and so refrain from throwing stones.

I don’t know enough about football to know how good a player Michael Vick is, so I don’t know how seriously to take it when commentators say he’ll have a hard time getting reemployed. They make out that it’s the league “taking this offense seriously” and I think more than that it’s a “rising star”(to quote one article) who hasn’t risen fast enough to make owners/coaches/whoever think he’s good enough to be worth the bad press.

I don’t know if I’m defending him or not– I just know that all I could think of was a quote I read recently:

Stephen Covey was asked after a speech about how to forgive someone who has committed adultery. He said the question made him think of the old prayer, “Oh Lord, let me forgive those who sin differently than I do.”

We are all in need of redemption (I wrote a post earlier about wanting to understand or redeem the villain reflecting an understanding of evil in our own hearts), and we shouldn’t try to fool ourselves that one sin is less of a stench in God’s nostrils than another.

3 thoughts on ““Oh Lord, help me forgive those who sin differently than I do.”

  1. And, yes, I really do talk this way with my husband (and a couple other people), and, no, this is not me being a know-it-all, it’s the way I think and make connections– by talking.

  2. I loved this post. You don’t sound like a know-it-all to me.

    The whole dogfight thing I thought was a bit of a farce, really, mostly for the reason that you commented about the player not being good enough for the bad press. How many times do w read of drugs and alcoho problems or promiscuity and yet the guy gets sacked for dog fighting. Does anyone but me see a double standard here?

    That being said, I make my own mistakes and I hope that he can learn from his mistakes just like I want to learn from mine.

  3. Checking in after a while… sorry to hear your lot had the sickies last month. We’re just now getting over this really strange virus here. Would make me worry if I were the worrying type.
    As for this “controversy”… I didn’t much get this one either, excpet for the reasons you gave, mostly it being safe enough to throw stones at this one. I tend to notice though, that people are aggravated more and it’s more of the thron in the side for folks when it’s a sin that we see in ourselves. It aggravates me most when folks are quick tempered with their children. And though I’m slow to reach a boiling point with anybody, it bothers me most when I am angry at my children. On a much more trivial note, it bums me out when folks leave early or on time from a get together I’m having… wishing they’d stay way later. But I’m hardly ever the last one to leave anywhere! ;)
    Have a great weekend!

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