What is the catalyst for a person to stop believing in God? More likely it is because of the laws of the Church and less likely it is because of believers being good to them by loving them unconditionally. When a person leaves the Church, it is often in disillusionment over the acts of self-righteous believers. Rarely will one run away from being truly loved.
Believers are not all the time wrong. In fact they is a lot to admire and learn from their passion and conviction in believing. Non-believers and people who have left the Church are also not wrong. We need to be compassionate and understand the extenuating circumstance or environment they are in for them to respond in disbelief. We are after all human. It is precisely because we are human that we need laws, but not to rule us but to guide and protect.
There is actually only one law given and needed, and observing it immediately guide and protect every person. This commandment is to love one another with no buts. “It is all that is good, everything that is perfect, which is given us from above; it comes down from the Father of all light; with him there is no such thing as alteration, no shadow of a change.” (Second Reading).
But there is also no such thing for our human nature not to alter. It is tough to remain uncontaminated by the world. We ring fence ourselves with self-love and this is a change that cast long shadows obscuring the spirit of this law. From the Father of all light, he sent his Son into the weakness of human nature not to abolish the law but to fulfil it.
When we go out in search of the lost and the drifted, we are called not to preach the law with words but to fulfil it with action. It always degenerate into an endless argument of self-values between believer and disbeliever when only words and doctrines are used. When we do not address the heart, we argue without God in the equation. Action balances the emotional heart with the thinking intellect. Action fulfils the law: it allows love to flow, and to touch. It turns words into convincing experience, laws into the spirit of it.
When we find the lost and the drifted, the first restorative action is be compassionate. When a person is searching for God, the person want to be found. And when a person left because of Pharisee-like behavior pertaining to the law, this person will hide from being found if they feel judged or condemned as sinful. The fulfilment of the law of love excludes this.
When we go out to find and restore, we will go with the wisdom that the extenuating circumstance or environment that led them away have now mired them in a more desperate situation where they are now willing to seek God. The believer must bring God’s restorative action to them. They must see the compassionate face of God in the believer and not the face of a Pharisee. Otherwise they will be disappointed and disillusioned all over again.
“Pure, un-spoilt religion, in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows (the broken of this world) when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.”
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time