A couple of weeks ago I left HP Group meeting in disgust. The lesson was taken from the teachings of President Kimball and it centered around chastity. For us old codgers there was much of the usual talk about the addiction to pornography and the dangers of even the slightest involvement with it. One HP group member who is serving in a high calling in the church actually broke into tears when talking about his friends who had succombed to the tempatations of pornography and whose marriage and family life was destroyed. Certainly it was something to sadden us all.
But then, just moments later, the instructor did a sharp turn away from “chastity” and started discussing recent legislation passed in California that require the elementary and secondary schools to eliminate the terms “parents” or “mother and father” from their corresdondence to and from the school. The instructor believed this came about because of the strong lobbying of the same sex community and so the discussion naturally shifted to living in an openly gay relationship. The adjectives used by the typical class member to describe those who live in such a relationship were venomous and ugly. Even the gentlleman who spoke with such caring and concern about his friends who had committed adultery started to speak in the same mean spirited manner about gays and the gay lifestyle.
And so I wonder – if one believes that living the gay lifestyle is wrong and one believes that committing adultery is wrong should there be a difference in how we relate to those involved in such living? Should we have compassion for the one but disdain for the other? Isn’t it possible to “love the sinner but hate the sin” no matter what the trangression may be?
Recently I re-read a talk given by Elder Robert Orton at General Conference in October 2001. Here’s what he had to say about all of us loving our brothers and sisters, “If we do not love all of these, our brothers and sisters, can we truly say that we love God? The Apostle John declared “that he who loveth God love his brother also, ” and added, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar” (1 Jn. 4:21, 20). Love of God and neighbor must therefore be inseparably connected.”
And so I wonder if we don’t sometimes selectively choose which serious sins we try to understand and which sins we have no tolerance for.