This my 888th post… Ιησους Χριστος… εις αγιος, εις Κυριος εις δοξαν Θεου Πατρος, αμην!
If we see all others, Christian or not, as persons to whom Christ comes, without judging them by denominational labels—in this I am following Mother Gavrilía Papayánni who in turn is following Christ—then our appearance to them will be the same welcoming smile that Christ flashed at us when we drew near to Him.
If the Church is to be true, then no one of its adherents should ever close the door on anyone. As for making a mockery of sinners, why cast challenges in their faces? We cannot do that to others, and I confess I have done the same many times in my life, but I repent, I repent, and if I fall into it again, I repent again. We can't do that to others, because that puts them on the defensive, and makes them shut their doors and windows a little tighter to us and, if we are really following Jesus, to the Truth.
We dissuade our children from destructive or nonsensical preoccupations by showing them better things to do with their time, not just superior in some moral sense, but truly better, something that even they can see is more worthwhile. Flaunting the superiority of Orthodoxy or any faith in the face of another is counterproductive and demeaning. If something is obviously true, everyone knows it, even those who don't like it. For example, no need to tell homosexuals that their lifestyle based on perverted sexual acts is wrong. They know it already. They want to try to convince us that it is right and even a moral equivalent of normal sexuality. This will never happen, because there is a fundamental goodness and desire for things "as they must be" inside of everyone, even homosexually practicing persons. If they could be normal, they would be, but they find themselves faced with an impediment they cannot get over, so they give in. This is an extreme example, but I am giving it for this reason…
I used to work in a company full of lesbians. They knew I was an Orthodox Christian. They knew I believed homosexuality is wrong. They also knew they could come to me for comfort and healing when they had run themselves ragged, or were crushed by a broken love affair. They knew I wouldn't judge them. They knew I would just calmly and gently ask them to confess to me, and then pray for them to be delivered from what was hurting and defeating them. I didn't need to spell it out. They just felt my arm around their shoulders as we sat together on the loading dock (it was a cabinet shop), and heard my voice and saw my smile and my eyes peering at them to see if they were recovering. They knew I loved them whatever they did, and that I wanted the best for them. Did any of them ever give their lives to Christ and seek release? I didn't see it happen, but it is only my privilege to love a soul into healing, not to deliver it from death. That is between the Lord and that soul. But what if I simply stood apart from them as from filth and did nothing, or worse yet, laughed at their sin, and mocked them? What then?
If I can do this with a gay or lesbian person, I can do it with anyone.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy might, all thy mind, all thy heart and all thy soul, and thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.