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Love and Sin

“ ‘Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)…Love is the barometer by which Christ will judge our lives. Sin is not only doing wrong. Sin is failure to do right. Sin, on the most basic level, is failure to love. The root cause of all sin is failure to love…The story of humanity is marked by a failure to love. More than anything else, this is the character of sin. St. John wrote, “God is love.” We cannot know the One who is love apart from love. The tragic failure to embody love within our lives gives rise to massive efforts to disguise that very fact. Even our wars are explained in terms of sacrifice and generosity. The kindness of God draws us towards that failure. Acknowledging it is a beginning of repentance.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis, Father Stephen Freeman)

“The love of God [1 John 3:17]. The author is not saying that the person who does not love his brother cannot love God either (although this may be true enough), but rather that the person who does not love his brother shows by this failure to love that he does not have any of the love which comes from God ‘residing’ in him (the Greek verb used is μένω [menō]).” (NET Bible, 1 John 3:17)

“Our forgiveness is relative to the degree to which we are free from our continued angry or hurt reaction. When we can love and accept someone without remembrance of the wrong, and without a reaction of anger and hurt, then we have truly forgiven. Another aspect of this is when we are projecting our expectations onto a person, and they continue to disappoint us. This should show us that our expectations are simply our own selfishness, and that we are failing to love the other unconditionally. We must take responsibility for our own anger and hurt, and simply let the person be him/herself.” (Hieromonk Jonah)

“People who are humble, don’t have a tongue that makes observations about others who show neglect or who are living a casual life. They don’t have eyes that look out for failings in others, nor ears to listen to something that doesn’t benefit their soul. They aren’t concerned with other people, only with their own sins. They’re peaceable towards everyone, not because of friendship but because of God’s command. If you fast all week and undertake great labors, but are outside this path, then it’s all a waste of time…accustom your voice to saying ‘Forgive me’ and you’ll acquire humility. Love humility and it’ll protect you from your sins.” (Abba Isaiah)

“Even though the devil has intervened in creation through us people, confusing and spoiling the ‘very good’ things which left the hands of God the Creator, as God of Hosts and Love, He transforms disorder into sanctity and weaknesses into grace. This is why, if you understand human imperfection and await with hope what may happen, repenting and struggling, you’ll continue to go forward with the person you liked so much and who gave you such joy. Then you’ll understand what Saint Paul meant in his hymn to love, when he says: ‘love is patient…it is not self-seeking… it always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres. Love never fails (I Cor. 13, 1-13).” (Fr. Andreas Agathokleous)

“The ethic of Limitless Love demands that we should be able to recognize the presence of God in the very sin that the sinner commits…You must not think I mean that God approves of the sin or encourages the sinner. I simply mean that even in an act of sin God is, to a certain extent, present…Everything that happens—the bad act as well as the good—has its roots in the being of God. Only because God gives us our being (or rather lends it to us) are we in existence at the very moment when we commit a sin. At that very moment God could withdraw our being from us, could destroy us. But he holds us in the existence we have received from Him, even when that existence turns against Him. Moreover the Lord Love, in his infinite mercy, allows sin to contain certain positive elements.” (Fr. Lev Gillet, Father Michael Plekon)

“We are made in the image and likeness of God, which means we are made to be like God. As Trinity, God is three persons, meaning He Himself is in perfect relationship—with Himself. Since we are made to be like God, we are also called to have perfect relationships with each other and with God. We attain perfect relationships by loving each other. When we fail to act in love, we sin, and when we sin we have the opportunity to reconcile with God and each other through forgiveness. Ever since the first sin in the Garden of Eden, God has given us the opportunity to ask forgiveness and to rejoin ourselves with Him. It is up to us to take advantage of the opportunity every time we miss the mark…” (Chris Shadid)

“In a fallen and sinful world, love and communion are expectant on salvation. More than this, the imperfect communion that love achieves in such a world is an intimation of salvation, for there is no such thing as solitary salvation. The salvation and theosis (deification) of the human person is the process by which God graciously narrows the “gap” between freedom’s movement and love’s substantiation as communion. The Son brings the love of the Father into this world, and the Holy Spirit inspires this love and spreads it among all who believe in the Son. The gift of the Holy Spirit reduces not only the gap that sin and death have brought about between God and humanity but also remedies the division of humanity into selves who are existentially alienated from one another and die spiritually for want of love. The communion of the saints is the approximation of the triune life of God.” (Vigen Guroian)

“The soul becomes whole by tracing the path that the universe itself followed at the moment of Creation. A recent elder – canonized formally just two years ago – said it best: “No one ever became holy by fighting evil. Rather, you must fall in love with Christ, must cultivate eros for Christ. Then, all the forces of sin within you will steadily be pushed aside. Pay no attention to evil. Show disdain for evil by focusing on Christ.” (Timothy Patitsas)

“Man in all his sinfulness is loved by God if he can just keep moving towards God. When one does fall, if one only cries out with confidence, the fall is not into nothingness but into the arms of God stretched open once and for all on the Cross.” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)

“…the one who is forgiven little loves little” means that the one who is forgiven little is thus not able to love much…“her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven; where little has been forgiven, little love is shown.”…She loved much. Jesus’ point is that the person who realizes how great a gift forgiveness is (because they have a deep sense of sin) has a great love for the one who forgives, that is, God. The woman’s acts of reverence to Jesus honored him as the one who brought God’s message of grace.” (NET Bible, Luke 7:47)

“..we are commanded: Let us love one another, that with one mind and heart we may confess…Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence and undivided.” In order to confess the unity and indivisibility of the Holy Trinity, it is imperative that we love each other; otherwise, we are babbling words that we do not understand. How can we, if we have no experience of such love, because love implies identifying with the other person at the expense of self-love. Do we know the meaning of love, or is it enough to love God? The Holy Bible here is not about loving God, but one another…Intense, wholehearted love, not token affection. “Love will cover a multitude of sins.” This phrase is in separate quotation marks because it refers to a verse in Proverbs 10:12 [James 5:20, 1 Peter 4:8]. There love is opposed to hate…One meaning of love is to overlook, ignore, or at least try to understand somebody who had sinned against us. In the commandment of Christ, forgive him. Nothing is more Christ-like than forgiveness. Such love is a companion of acceptance. People are the way they are. If you are accepting or at least tolerating one who offends you, then you have passed beyond judgment. It also means that we are exempt from having the Lord judge us.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“Once we have experienced the Presence and Life of God, we are ready to share that Life with our fellow human beings. While slavery to sin, as described above, leads to judgment of others and disunity in condemnation, if we live lives characterized by love, that love will cover a multitude of sins and errors through charity and forgiveness. Once we have received the hospitality of God by accepting His invitation to participate in His Life, we can open our own lives and hearts and homes to one another. When we have discovered the spiritual gifts that God has given each of us to aid in the building up of His Kingdom, then we are able to use those gifts for the benefit of all, both inside and outside our communities.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“At some point we’ll find our life before us and God will judge our actions “through Jesus Christ”. And if Christ judges us as God, none of us will be saved. But He’ll judge us as God and as a human person, within the human perspective. And He’ll ask if we had love. Saint Paul writes that love “covers a multitude of sins”. Love isn’t a mere word or theoretical message, but is, each and every time, a particular action towards our fellow human beings and neighbors, who are our siblings “in the name of Jesus Christ”. Not faceless people or humanity, but our neighbors, personally, and our brothers and sisters.” (Metropolitan Dionysios)

“May we not only admire this self-giving love. May it be the goal and purpose of our lives…But love is more than a wish, an attitude of kindness, and a feeling of concern. Love is the active giving of oneself.” (Fr. Basil)


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