Reflection 164: Longing for the Souls of Sinners


When you see someone with manifest sin, what is your reaction?  Many people react with disdain and harsh judgment.  When someone breaks the law, we harshly condemn them.  When someone lives an immoral lifestyle, we belittle them.  Very often, our attitude toward the sinner is merciless.  This is a problem.  True, we must see sin for what it is and work to oppose it, especially when it affects others.  But we must always hold in our hearts a deep love for sinners.  We must have a longing for their repentance and always see the innate dignity they have as persons (See Diary #842).

What is your reaction toward the sinner?  Be honest and look first at how you react interiorly.  We are all sinners.  Some sins are more manifest than others and some live sinful lives in an open and obstinate way.  But should we allow ourselves to condemn them?  We must judge an objective action for what it is, but the person must never be judged.  This is solely up to God.  Reflect upon your attitude toward those with more manifest sins.  Pray that instead of becoming harsh and critical you will long for their conversion and love them wholeheartedly despite their actions.

Lord, give me a heart of mercy for sinners.  Help me to love them with a burning love and to suspend my temptations to judge.  May I long for all people with Your Heart of Mercy desiring their holiness.  May I also be aware of my own sinfulness and daily seek Your merciful Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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Featured image above: Depiction of the Good Shepherd by Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne via Wikimedia Commons