by Alex Kato
for Dr. Pendleton’s Pastoral Counseling 511
Note: The terms “victim” and “perpetrator” in this paper are not meant to suggest that people are one or the other, or to endorse these as all-encompasing labels, but to distinguish between the possibilities of different counseling situations.
Some Christian teachings are hard to accept. In particular, my years as a youth pastor were filled with both teenagers and adults who bristled against the saying “all sins are equal.” This sentiment grates against our grief–both personal and global–and often becomes a barrier to trusting, loving, and following God. Thus, pastors should ask: Must we contend for this Evangelical adage? Is it even true? This paper considers what the Bible actually says, the problems that arise from accepting this falsehood, consequent possibilities for counseling victims, and possibilities for counseling perpetrators.
“God has commanded the sword to return to its scabbard; there, I hope, to rust.”
Our forebears didn’t live in black and white. Yesterday’s vocabulary and spelling seem archaic and odd, but they had living, breathing, full-color todays, as vivid as the one you’re living right now. And they still speak–to those that will comb through basement libraries or archive.org and listen. Or, today, to those who are reading this blog.
Richard Fuller’s statement, above, has obviously application to the 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza. Fuller preached this sermon in Baltimore (a border state) on June 1st, 1865, less than 2 months after the official end to the American Civil War. It was a national day of fasting. For this Southern, moderate, conciliatory pastor, it had been a decade of grief. Almost 150 years later, these selections from his sermon still speak timely truth for our war-filled summer.