He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’Luke 18:9-14
When I was a teenager in school a girl I knew missed a few weeks of school. We thought little of it as we all supposed she had the flu or some other health problem. Shortly after she returned the rumors began. She had made the unfortunate mistake of confiding in one of her, not so discreet, girlfriends that she had had an abortion. There is no delicate way to say this And I hesitate to even bring it up in my blog. But, it’s important. This was before Roe versus Wade and what we discovered is that she had almost killed herself by having a friend use a coat hanger on her. She had almost bled to death and was in the hospital for some time. Before this happened she was a beautiful, smart, giggly little girl with what appeared to be a happy family life. Afterwards something had changed with her. She was withdrawn. Her grades were not as good. She had been an only child and was the apple of father’s eye. But you could tell things between them had taken a turn for the worse. The boys, and for that matter, the girls also, had unkind things to say about her. The boys’s words were crude and lecherous wishing they could be the next boy in her life. I was guilty of thinking the same thing. The girls were more judgmental vowing they wouldn’t ever be in that situation (a few were).
I have often wondered what became of her as she and her family moved away shortly there after. I like to think that her parents forgave her. That she went to a new school where no one knew what had happened to her. That she grew up, married a nice man and had a wonderful life but, I have no idea. We never found out who the father was and I think that is somewhat the point of this story. Had the rest of us boys known who the father was we probably would have been giving him high fives in the hallways. It seemed in those days that if a girl had sex and it became public knowledge she had a life sentence of being the immoral girl. But, if a boy was found out, then he was just a normal boy doing what boys do. It was a source of pride even.
Then there was another boy that I knew in school who was a bit if an introvert. The term nowadays might be nerdy. He was not too interested in sports but had a vast heavy rock record collection. He was well liked by almost everyone. That is until he was caught with another boy parked in a dark parking lot one night. The rumors were abundant and equally cruel. I don’t think that kid ever heard a kind word as long as he was in school, at least from the people that heard the rumor. I do not know what became of him.
I tell you about these two unfortunate individuals to make a point. Some sins are considered worse than others. Some sins are considered worse depending on who does them. Some sins are considered worse just because you weren’t caught when you did them. I am a sinner. If you wrote my every sin down in a book it would look like the New York public library.
Jesus had a lot to say about sin. A woman that was caught in the act of adultery was even brought to him once. He told her that he didn’t condemn her, to go her way but don’t sin anymore. Jesus had nothing to say about abortion even though it was rampant during his day. Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality even though it also was rampant during his day. Do you you want to know what he did have a lot to say about? Divorce! I stand before him guilty as I divorced my first wife. So, don’t think I’m exempting myself from this judgement. He said a great deal about how we treat foreigners. He said a lot about how we treat the poor and less fortunate. He said a lot about self righteousness and he was against it.
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