Saturday, March 18, 2017

Punishment as kind of love

If we accept, as I argued yesterday, that it sometimes makes sense to treat failure as a sin, we should also accept that God will punish some our failures and that he will do so even when we don't reject him in failing. That he might punish us for failing when we are "doing our best".

Yesterday, I argued that the mother who punishes her child for failing does harm when she wrongly assesses the child's abilities and the challenges they are facing. You should be able to pass in Math and History but it is not reasonable to expect you to be the most popular kid in your class. That said, some kids could reasonably aspire to be the most popular in their class, in which case we would have to ask whether this is a good goal when it is achievable.

God, being God, would seem to be the one most qualified for punishing our failings for he could make these judgments correctly.

In the end, we have to trust that he loves us.
We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. (Benedict XVI)
Living morally, then, is a matter of establishing within ourselves the disposition that goes with that encounter.

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