Not to condemn, but to save

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


THAT’S what is said of Christ. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (cfr. Jn 3,17) If we have to be “another Christ” as we should, then we ought to have this attitude also.

In all our dealings with others, no matter how contentious, difficult and unfair to us, we should avoid condemning anyone. Ours should simply be the desire to save, for which we should be willing to suffer, as Christ did.

Would this not be tantamount to being inhuman to us? Well, not exactly. Such attitude is not against our human nature. But, yes, it transcends our nature, since for us to have and to live it would require some supernatural grace, a real and vital identification with Christ. There is no way we can have this attitude if we would just rely on our human powers.

But let’s always remember that our human powers are open and are enabled to be enriched and elevated to the supernatural order of God, since they are not merely physical or material powers. They are spiritual powers, these intelligence and will of ours, and as such, they have what is called in philosophy as obediential potency or capability to be enriched and elevated to the supernatural order.

That is why as our Christian faith tells us, of all the creatures of God, we are the ones together with the angels who are created in God’s image and likeness, meant to share in the very life of God.

While all creatures come and belong to God, we as human persons with spiritual faculties, are meant to participate in the very intimate life of God. This can take place because God himself gives us his grace. It’s this grace that actualizes what we are capable of achieving because of our spiritual faculties.

That is why we also need to train our spiritual faculties, our intelligence and will, to develop that attitude of Christ of not wanting to condemn anyone. Rather, like Christ and with Christ, we should try our best to do everything to save a person who may be wrong in something or who may have some problems and difficulties. We have to have the same attitude even when it is us who would be the victim of the wrongdoing of another.

For this, we have to train ourselves to have the same charity that Christ had for all of us. In fact, it is the charity that Christ commanded us to live. “A new command I give you,” he said. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn 13,34-35)

We really need to expand and purify our heart so that it can channel this kind of love Christ commands us to do. While we can legitimately have our biases and preferences, our personal opinions and taste, we should also see to it that we are not trapped by them.

We have to learn how to transcend these restricting conditions so we can have a universal heart, a heart like that of Christ. And that is always possible because of our spiritual nature plus God’s grace that is given to us in abundance.