November 21, 2012
This is the third post in a series of nine on how we share in the sins of others.
In Acts 6-7 we hear the story of the purpose and institution of the diaconate and of St. Stephen, the first martyr. By lies and subterfuge the “learned doctors” ( temple authorities), who had been bested by Stephen in debate through the power of the Holy Spirit, inveigled false witnesses against him to say that he continuously spoke against the Temple and the law.
Without a trial or confirmation of sentence by the Roman authorities, they stoned Stephen to death for blasphemy. Saul, who had agreed with the conspirators, held the garments of the murderers. Saul was guilty of murder by consent even though he didn’t cast a stone.
In Rembrandt’s depiction of the event, note that Saul is sitting above it all wearing his fine robes and draped in the cloaks of the murderers. Isn’t that how it is when we sin by consent? We see and agree with the action but don’t dirty our own hands with the evil deeds.
In what ways can we be guilty by consent? Here are a few:
1. Voting for politicians who support abortion and the destruction of traditional families and marriage. A certain priest told his congregation after the 2008 elections, having warned them ahead of time, that if they voted for pro-abortion politicians because they were for abortion not only were they guilty of mortal sin, but every abortion performed as a result of these politicians was on the soul of these voters. Voting and electing people who are against the natural law has extensive evil consequences that this country has yet to see.
2. Server companies that host pornography web sites consent to the evil of pornography. Quite a few people are involved in these decisions and they are all guilty of all the sins that grow out of pornography addiction.
3. Facilitating the publishing of pornography.
4. Real estate owners and their agents who rent sites or build sites used for pornography, drunkenness, illicit sexual activity (under God’s laws), boiler rooms set up to scam others, abortion clinics, etc.
5. Working for businesses that are promoting or involved in immoral activities.
6. Standing by and watching a group bully someone or standing by while a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” harms or kills your child.
7. Any activity supporting illicit drug procurement, packaging and distribution.
8. Taking bribes to ignore illicit activities or to facilitate them.
9. Facilitating the design and purchase of immodest clothing.
If you can think of others, please feel free to list them in the comment box.
In today’s world the tentacles of sin are so far reaching that we must be exceptionally vigilant that we are not consenting to the sins of others. Patronizing a Hooters restaurant may not seem all that bad to those whose mantra is “Everybody else is doing it,” but it consents to the lust of others and the making of money off that lust. Choices become more difficult when we’re dealing with major corporations who support “gay marriage” or other actions against the natural law.
God knows our hearts and our intentions. Even if we lie to ourselves and to Him, He sees the truth. If we diligently seek the will of God, He will give us all the necessary enlightenment to avoid sinning by consent. We only need to be willing to take the time to ponder what to do.
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