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Question 66.

I have another question if somebody in their own eyes does not sin buts sins in the eyes of others where does that leave us as we are told not to judge

 

Answer to Question 66.

 

For the others it does not matter if the person recognises that he has sinned or not, we are not to judge anyone and we donít always know why the person sinned or if he has asked for forgiveness. But the person himself should look closer at his conscience. There is no one that has not sinned, but many times we donít recognize that we have sinned because sin is a habit and very often we do things out of habit thinking this is normal and acceptable. Only when we start to live a more spiritual life are our eyes opened and we can see and recognise the wrongs we have done others.

There are many people who think they are righteous and do no wrong. The Lord gave us the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican:  The Pharisee was a member of a religious group who, as puritans of the Jewish faith, zealously kept the letter of the Law. He believes that he is an exemplary example to others of what a good Jew must be and because he was such a perfect Jew who had never made a mistake he never felt the need for repentance. He goes to the temple to pray, but his prayer is not a thanksgiving but a proclamation of his righteousness. He is so self-assured and proud of himself that he is perfect that he justifies himself before God that he is righteous, and not like other men who are extortioners, unjust and adulterers and seeing the Publican who was standing at a distance, he adds ďand especially not like that PublicanĒ whom he considered as the worst kind of person Ė the scum of the earth.  The Pharisee cannot see his own wretched condition; he cannot see his own sins, but only the sins of other men. He is an egocentric man, arrogant, self-asserted, cruel and inhumane especially with sinners like the Publican whom he would certainly have nothing to do with lest he became contaminated. He is proud and boastful that he had knowledge of the Law yet he disregarded the Giver of the Law. Except for his self-love he didnít know the meaning of love. He disregarded the fact that love is the fulfillment of the Law of which he considered he was a teacher and interpreter; and this was all due to the fact that he didnít have even a vague relationship with God who is love.  He keeps to the letter of the law by fasting twice a week and contributes to the temple according to what the law tells him to contribute. Thus because he externally fulfills what the Law required of him, he believes that this is all that God requires of him. According to how he understands the Law, he is righteous so why would he need to change, why even would he need to ask for Godís mercy, only sinners ask for God to be merciful, but he is not a sinner so in effect he doesnít even need God. The only reason he went up to the temple to pray was to be seen by other men.

In contrast to the Pharisee, the Publican, who recognized that he was a sinner and felt his unworthiness before God, stood afar off and couldnít even lift his eyes up to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. The Publican is an example of true repentance and the first sign from which repentance begins is for the person to feel his inadequacy and weakness without God. From all the money that he extorted with the heavy taxes that he imposed on people the Publican is wealthy, yet his wealth does not make him feel self-sufficient. His wealth is not in a position to take the place of Godís grace and gift of love.