As Catholics and Christians, the Truth must take center stage in our lives. But before we can proclaim the truth, we must first love.
As Catholics and Christians, we are called to stand up for the Truth. To proclaim repentance. To live holy and righteous lives and help others to do the same.
But sometimes, when we stand up for what we believe in, we are persecuted for doing so. We may be called names such as hypocrites or even bigots.
This is what Jeremiah experienced in today’s first reading:
Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the house of the LORD and speak to the inhabitants of all the cities of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD; whatever I command you, tell them, and hold nothing back.
Perhaps they will listen and turn, all of them from their evil way, so that I may repent of the evil I plan to inflict upon them for their evil deeds.
Say to them: Thus says the LORD: If you do not obey me, by walking according to the law I set before you
and listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I kept sending you, even though you do not listen to them,
I will treat this house like Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.
Now the priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
When Jeremiah finished speaking all that the LORD commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests, the prophets, and all the people laid hold of him, crying, “You must die!
Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD: ‘This house shall become like Shiloh,’ and ‘This city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. — Jeremiah 26:2-9
As Catholics and Christians, we are accountable not only for our souls, but also for those of brethren. God wants all of us to be with Him in eternity because we are His family. He calls us not only to love Him as our Father, but to love His family as our own.
That is why we must uphold the truth not only for ourselves, but also for our brothers and sisters.
But, when do we tell the truth, especially when the world expects us to tolerate? That’s one of the most difficult questions we, Catholics and Christians, face.
Here’s what I believe about truth and tolerance, especially of sin:
We must never tolerate. We must not encourage others through our words or our gestures. But, we must also not judge, criticize, or condemn. Instead, we must love. This is what God calls us to do.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. — John 15:12
It is only through love that we can tell others the Truth in the right way, in the right time, and with the purest of intentions.
We can only tell the Truth in the context of a relationship.
In short, we must love others before we can tell them the Truth.
Before we can share the Truth to others, before we can tell others to repent, we must first walk with them, cry with them, be with them, live with them, and eat with them.
This is what Jesus did. He ate with sinners, lived with sinners, shared His life with sinners, and called sinners His friends. He also showed great mercy towards sinners and forgave them of their sins, before telling them to repent.
While [Jesus] was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” — Matthew 9:10-13
Then Jesus straightened up and said to [the woman caught in adultery], “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”] — John 8:10-11
Jesus upheld the truth, not by judging or condemning others, but by loving them.
As Catholics and Christians, we are called to do the same. The truth must take center stage in our lives. But before we can proclaim the truth, we must first love.
After all, the Truth is that God loves us… all of us.
P.S. Other things I believe in about the Truth:
- Before we can tell others of their sinfulness, we must first take a look at ourselves and our own sinful ways and repent.
- When we proclaim God’s truth, we must do it not to boast, not to act highly, and especially not to be self-righteous for we, too, are sinners.
- We can also never force the truth upon others.