I’ve always thought the Christian motto of “love the sinner, hate the sin” to be a load of codswallup. How do you “love” someone while standing in judgment of them?
More recently though, I have found myself holding a similar motto in my mind as I navigate life with my little brother -in-law. He has recently been called to his mission (Arizona, spanish speaking) and everyone in the family is overjoyed. Except us. We are trying to walk the thin line of supporting him while not supporting his choice. He is so excited for this big adventure, and while we like th idea of him travelling and learning another language and want to help him financially and be there for him at this time of his life, we can’t support the reason he is going.
My husband has flip-flopped on whether or not to talk to him about any of this and we still haven’t completely decided. On one hand, we don’t want to put a damper on what is an otherwise exciting time in his life. At the same time, he is going to be challenged relentlessly for the next two years so he might as well get used to it.
Missions are well-designed in the sense that many young boys (and girls) really find themselves while they are away. My little bro will likely lose the weight he needs to lose, find discipline, structure and a sense of accomplishment he’s never had before. He will be welcomed and applauded every Sunday in church and will work harder than he’s ever had to, all in the name of God. Our fear is that we know he will attribute all of these positive things to the mission itself as opposed to the structure and regular exercise it brings.
Hubby wants to talk to him about that and a few other things he himself experienced on his mission so that when they happen, the seed of doubt has already been planted. When the church tells him certain things that go directly against what he sees in the world (for example, that only church member are truly happy…just ignore the smiling Dad with his baby girl on his shoulders, eating ice cream in the park. He’s not really happy) he will have already been primed to see the inconsistency.
What we are more inclined to do however, is to just shut up, give him a hug and a $100 and send him on his way. There is going to be a lot of tongue biting between now and March.