Love of Enemies, Forgiveness of Sinners

the love of God

God is infinite Love, and He never changes. However, the relationship between God and human persons on earth changes as they change. God is unchanging infinite Love, but when we speak about the love of God for particular human persons, we must take into account the good that is loved by God in each person.

The more that you are like God, who is Goodness itself, the more goodness there is in you to be loved. The less you are like God, the less goodness there is in you to be loved. God is incapable of loving evil. He only loves what is good, and since all goodness is of God, He only loves created persons in so far as they are good, in so far as they are like Himself.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is more like God than any mere human person, and so God loves her more than He loves any other mere created person. The human nature of Jesus is created, but He is one Person, with two natures. God loves the human nature of Christ more than God loves the Blessed Virgin Mary, since there is even more good in Christ’s human nature than in Mary’s human nature.

God loves holy Saints more than He loves ordinary sinners, for there is more good in the holier person to be the object of God’s love. God loves a repentant sinner more than an unrepentant sinner, since there is more good to be loved.

When a human person chooses to commit innumerable severe actual mortal sins, and chooses not to repent, dying in a state of mortal sin, God loves only what is good in that person. But since the good that is in such an evil person is very limited, so is the love of God for that person. The love of God sends that person to Hell, because it is the fitting place for that human person. Such a person has chosen to make himself, in a sense, inhumane and very much unlike what human nature was created by God to be. And so the only fitting place is Hell.

the forgiveness of God

The love of God is incapable of forgiving a person who dies unrepentant from actual mortal sin. To forgive unrepentant evil is to act contrary to truth, contrary to justice, and contrary to true love and true mercy. It is not mercy to forgive someone who is unrepentant from a grave sin committed with full knowledge that the act is seriously wrong and with a fully deliberate choice of the free will. Should God forgive Satan? Certainly not! Then neither should God forgive anyone unrepentant from actual mortal sin, in this life, or in the next.

The love of God looks upon all persons in a state of unrepentant actual mortal sin in this life with love for their human nature, and, in a sense, with love for the person that they could be if they repent. But as long as the person remains unrepentant from actual mortal sin, the good human nature given to that person by God stands as a witness against him. For his deeds, being evil, are incompatible with the true purpose and meaning of his good human nature.

It is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Faith that any human person who commits an actual mortal sin cannot be forgiven, unless either:

1. he has at least imperfect contrition, and he confesses his sins and receives absolution; or,
2. he has perfect contrition and at least an implicit desire for confession and absolution.

It is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Faith that any human person who dies unrepentant from even a single actual mortal sin cannot be saved or forgiven (after death) and will certainly be sent by God to Hell forever.

God is not all-forgiving, such that he would forgive unrepentant actual mortal sin. God is not all-loving, such that he would love a person who is unrepentant from actual mortal sin just as He loves repentant sinners. This type of misconception about love and forgiveness is contrary to truth and justice. God is love and mercy, but He is also truth and justice.

[Matthew]
{18:32} Then his lord called him, and he said to him: ‘You wicked servant, I forgave you all your debt, because you pleaded with me.
{18:33} Therefore, should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I also had compassion on you?’
{18:34} And his lord, being angry, handed him over to the torturers, until he repaid the entire debt.
{18:35} So, too, shall my heavenly Father do to you, if each one of you will not forgive his brother from your hearts.”

our forgiveness and our love of enemies

We are called by Christ to imitate Him, to imitate God.

[Ephesians 5]
{5:1} Therefore, as most beloved sons, be imitators of God.

Did Christ forgive persons who were unrepentant from actual mortal sin? Certainly not. The Church does not forgive persons who are unrepentant from actual mortal sin, because the Church is the body of Christ, following the example of Christ.

[Matthew]
{5:20} For I say to you, that unless your justice has surpassed that of the scribes and the Pharisees you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
{5:21} You have heard that it was said to the ancients: ‘You shall not murder; whoever will have murdered shall be liable to judgment.’
{5:22} But I say to you, that anyone who becomes angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment. But whoever will have called his brother, ‘Idiot,’ shall be liable to the council. Then, whoever will have called him, ‘Worthless,’ shall be liable to the fires of Hell.

{7:21} Not all who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does the will of my Father, who is in heaven, the same shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
{7:22} Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and perform many powerful deeds in your name?’
{7:23} And then will I disclose to them: ‘I have never known you. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’

{15:13} But in response he said: “Every plant which has not been planted by my heavenly Father shall be uprooted.

{22:18} But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said: “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?

{23:12} But whoever has exalted himself, shall be humbled. And whoever has humbled himself, shall be exalted.
{23:13} So then: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you close the kingdom of heaven before men. For you yourselves do not enter, and those who are entering, you would not permit to enter.

{25:26} But his lord said to him in response: ‘You evil and lazy servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered.
{25:27} Therefore, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and then, at my arrival, at least I would have received what is mine with interest.
{25:28} And so, take the talent away from him and give it the one who has ten talents.
{25:29} For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he shall have in abundance. But from him who has not, even what he seems to have, shall be taken away.
{25:30} And cast that useless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

A certain set of ideas, held and expressed by many Catholics, claims the following: that we can never judge a person to be guilty of grave sin, that we have to forgive the unrepentant, that we have to love the wicked just as we love the holy, that we can never have any idea who is living a life on the path to Heaven and who is living a life on the path to Hell. All of these ideas are incompatible with the teaching of Christ in the Gospels. These ideas represent a severe distortion of the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

When a person is very wicked and unrepentant, in truth there is little in that human person to be loved. We cannot love evil, for evil is a deprivation of good. When a person abandons morality in order to commit a series of unrepentant severe actual mortal sins, we can seek that person’s repentance, but we cannot love him or her just as we love a repentant sinner or a holy person. To do so would be foolish and contrary to the teaching and example of Christ.

Christ ate with sinners in order to correct them, so that they would repent. He did not love unrepentant sinners in the same way and to the same extent as repentant sinners. He did not forgive those persons who were unrepentant from actual mortal sin. And neither should we.

[1 Corinthians 11]
{11:1} Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.

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