If I am guilty of a particular sin or doing something which undermines the growth of the Church as a priest or religious or a seminarian, does it automatically mean that all others are doing the same?
When Jesus returned to the synagogue in his own country to preach, the people were astounded and took offence at him. Jesus then said to them: “A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6: 4-6).
The questions are: Were these sick people part of those who rejected Jesus? Did Jesus forcefully lay his hands on these sick people without their consent?
Out of the ten lepers Jesus healed, only the Samaritan returned to give thanks (Luke 17: 12-19). Nicodemus, after meeting with Jesus by night and getting converted, remained a Pharisee, but subsequently promoted the interest of Jesus. When the Sanhedrin were plotting against Jesus, Nicodemus said: “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does”?
Of course, he got a swift pushback from his colleagues who said: “Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee”. (John 7: 51-52). Nicodemus also brought aloes and myrrh for Jesus’ burial (John 19:39).
When we say that everyone is doing the wrong thing, we should ask ourselves how many people we have actually seen or heard about. We need to realise that the human character is very complex. To get validation from our friends, we are ready to do certain things, brag about things we never did, and propose things we never have the intention of doing.
We recall that as seminarians, many bragged about things they had or had done, which they never had or did. Many said they would do certain things, but never did them.
My dear brothers, everybody is not doing the wrong thing. We have various quantifier adjectives—few, some, many, most, and all. Trying to justify my actions by assuming that everybody is also guilty is a faulty generalisation. If I am not accountable for funds entrusted to me, it does not mean that everyone is not accountable for every penny they receive. If I find it difficult to say the truth about others, it does not mean that everyone slanders, etc.
More importantly, assuming that everyone is doing something wrong does not mean that we never sinned against God or committed an offence against the Church. That I am writing this post does not mean that I am an angel either. I, Chidiebere Gregory Obiodu, am a terrible sinner myself.
However, that I am guilty of something does not mean that act or omission is no longer a sin. I should be humble to admit that I chose to do the wrong thing and seek reconciliation with God.
May God continue to help us.🙏🏾