Two people can look at the same thing and see two very different things. For instance, what do you think of when you see the following?
- Two men getting married
- Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Music Awards
- Hugh Heffner and his Playboy Mansion
- Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood
- Richard Dawkins, leading atheist
I will suggest some opposing viewpoints.
Two men getting married
Vision 1: It’s an abomination of God’s plan that two shall become one in holy matrimony and be open to the gift of children created through that union.
Vision 2: Finally! No one has the right to deny two people marriage if they love one another.
Miley Cyrus Twerking
Vision 1: Disgusting! That girl has totally degraded herself. She needs help.
Vision 2: Hmm, this is hard because even liberals were disturbed by her performance so we need a third vision here, which would be Miley. Miley’s vision: Yeah, look at me! I’m bold and beautiful and everyone is talking about me. Score!
Hugh Heffner at the Playboy Mansion
Vision 1: Creep. Does that guy have anything other than pajamas to wear? Look at him now, just a dirty old man in desperate need of conversion.
Vision 2: What a life! He’s had it all—fame, fortune, power, and girls, and is still going strong.
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood
Vision 1: Baby killer! How does she sleep at night, knowing she promotes killing innocent unborn babies in their mother’s wombs?
Vision 2: My hero! You go girl! Keep abortions legal so women can make their own choices.
Richard Dawkins, leading atheist
Vision 1: That hard-hearted, empty soul is leading people to a Godless world and all the way to hell.
Vision 2: Way to show those close-minded Christians what fools they are!
Our different visions create a deep divide in this country. Only one side stands for truth. Which side is that? Both sides would lay claim to that label. A better question is to ask is, who sees the world through the eyes of the Church? Whoever follows Catholic teaching and sees people and circumstances through the Catholic lens, sees reality. Only there can we find the fullness of truth taught consistently for over 2,000 years.
Vision 2, clearly does not share a Catholic focus. But is Vision 1 the Catholic focus? Is that the way God sees things?
Two men getting married: My beloved children
Miley Cyrus twerking: My beloved child
Hugh Heffner at the Playboy Mansion: My beloved child
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood: My beloved child
Richard Dawkins, leading atheist: My beloved child
It is the vision Pope Francis has imparted to the press but without their understanding that loving and accepting these children of God does not include acceptance of sin. Sin is death and hurts individuals and the whole body of Christ. Vision 1 is my personal take yet, there is one thing I have left out—the love God wants us to have for our fellow brothers and sisters.
To love God we must love others as ourselves. Some will mistake that love for acceptance because love must come first. When Francis expresses this, the secular media gets excited and reports that Pope Francis is accepting of homosexuals and atheists and whatever he speaks gently about. But they lack the proper definition of acceptance and report it as approval rather than love.
Likewise, some will mistake our judgments on sinful behavior as lacking love. We must have both. But when we focus on their actions that are against God’s plan for us, we can refocus on them the way God does so that we will want to love them and pray for their salvation more than we want to judge them. So lets all join in prayer for Cecil, Miley, Hugh, Richard, and all God’s children who have lost their way. Lord, we ask that you have mercy on them and bring them closer to you.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:13).