We know how bad sin is. We know it because we hate other people’s sins. We define people that way. God doesn’t.
Jesus looks at you and he sees who you are, in your very core. He doesn’t see who you could have been or who you should have been; he doesn’t see your sins and lose sight of you.
He sees who you are, who he made you to be, and he loves you.
Yes, you sinned. Not once — over and over again. Not by mistake, on purpose. And it isn’t harmless, it’s terrible.
We know how bad sin is. We know it because we hate other people’s sins. They hurt us by their sin, and we dislike them because of their sins. We dislike angry people, opinionated people, lazy people, thoughtless people, ego-centric people, mean people.
We define people that way. God doesn’t. He knows angry people are wounded people; opinionated people are insecure people; lazy people are afraid; thoughtless people are distracted; ego-centric people are protecting themselves; mean people are in pain.
He doesn’t dislike you when you sin, either. He wants to spend even more time with youbecause of your sin. He sees your sin clearly, and loves you more, because he sees the wound that is underneath it.
This is because God knows where sin comes from.
When I say “God” I mean, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” And when I say “son” I mean, Jesus Christ, who is right now and at the creation the crucified one, because he is “the same yesterday and today and for ever.” You, along with your desires for food, sex, property and rest are created “through Christ and for him” and “Behold, God saw that it is very good.”
You are not an insignificant nobody, you are Christ’s. And when you sinned he didn’t write you off, he came looking for you.
“When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman,” says St. Paul, “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption.”
He came for you, he longed for you, he sought for you in your family, he claimed you in baptism adopting you into Trinitarian life, and he said of you: “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Outside of time and space, Lucifer rebelled because he wanted control over his own desires, and convinced you not to trust God with your desires either — for food, sex, property, and rest. “Take them to yourself,” he whispered. “He doesn’t want you to enjoy them. He just wants you to suffer.” But, as soon as you sinned, he changed his tune. Then, he said, “You’re worthless. You’re weak. God hates you!”
But Jesus says, “Don’t listen to him! I love you. I’m here.”
But what about God’s wrath? It’s undeniable that Scripture speaks of God’s wrath at sinners.
God’s wrath is directed at sinners who aren’t sorry, sinners who refuse to change, sinners who deny that sin exists. He is angry at the self-righteous, those who drag others into sin, and those who mock what is holy.
You are like them if you sinned but you want to change. Or if at least, you wantto want to change.
When we are caught up in sin, Jesus reacts the way the Shepherd King, David, did.
David said, “Whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would chase after it, attack it, and snatch the prey from its mouth.”
The devil right now “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And Jesus comes from the security of heaven to seek after you, his one lost sheep. And not only does he fight the lion — he feeds himself to the lion in your place saying “I am the good shepherd … who lays down his life for his sheep.”
But what if you are in a state of mortal sin?
If you are in a state of mortal sin, Jesus looks at you the way a shepherd looks at a lamb being devoured by a wolf: With anger at the theft and determination to bring you back to life.
The devil tells you to stop praying when you are in sin. “God won’t listen to you now, sinner,” he says. “What’s the use?”
But don’t stop praying! “This is a grave error,” writes Jacques Philippe. “Where will we find healing for our faults if not close to Jesus?”
Jesus came for sinners, not the righteous. If you are in the state of sin, you are the person he most wants to listen to.
So talk to him. Then notice his look.
How does Jesus look at you when you sin?
He looks at you like the Father looked at the Prodigal Son — and his older brother. He runs out to meet you. He comes outside the house to talk to you.
He invites you back in, through confession. He clothes you in his robe, celebrates your return, and feasts you with his gifts. He says, “Now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”