“GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD”…THAT HE NOT ONLY REVEALED HIMSELF TO MANKIND, BUT HE GAVE MANKIND THE FREEDOM TO RESPOND.
Every single human being has been created in the image of God, and, through the death and resurrection of Christ, has been redeemed. Every person has within their conscience a desire for God, or as St. Augustine put it, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
In His love, God has revealed Himself to humanity in three ways: (1) through HIs creation; (2) to His chosen people Israel; and (3) through the Gospel. In Romans 1:16-21, we see that because of these revelations, mankind is without excuse. However, also in HIs love, each person was given the freedom to choose, and, as Paul describes in 1:22-32, mankind, part from grace, turned away from God, to idols and immoral living. So, as Paul states three times, “God gave them up” to their own choices, and as a result, Paul says in 1:32, “Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.” This certainly describes the world in which we now live.
St. Paul gave a similar list in 2 TIMOTHY 3:1-5
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.”
Today we will continue this discussion to see how we should respond to fallen people.
Dear Marcus and Ken:
I realize this is an awkward question, but given what St. Paul says in these early verses in Romans, and your discussion last week, how do we understand the death of a person like Robin Williams, God rest his soul? The details seem to indicate that he committed suicide, and the media wants to excuse this because he was plagued with depression and drug abuse. But I’ve always been taught that suicide is a mortal sin?
The Catechism on Suicide:
2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.
WE MUST BE CAREFUL IN OUR JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS:
1: Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are …
… when you judge another;
for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself,
because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.
2: We know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who do such things.
3: Do you suppose, O man,
that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself,
you will escape the judgment of God?
4: Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience?
Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
5: But by your hard and impenitent heart
you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath
when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6: For he will render to every man according to his works:
7: (a) to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality,
he will give eternal life;
8: (b) but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness,
there will be wrath and fury.