The vicar, whose name is Reverend Waite, leads us in prayers that all begin with 'O Lord' and end with our somehow not being worthy-sinners who have always been sinners and will forever more be sinners until we die. It isn't the most optimistic outlook I've ever heard but we're encouraged to keep trying anyway.
Love sinners, but hate their deeds, and do not disdain sinners for their failings, so that you yourself do not fall into the temptation in which they abide... Do not be angry at anyone and do not hate anyone, neither for their faith, nor for their shameful deeds... Do not foster hatred for the sinner, for we are all guilty... Hate his sins, and pray for him, so that you may be made like unto Christ, who had no dislike for sinners, but prayed for them.
Isaac of Nineveh
Walk the streets by moonlight, if you dare, and you will see sinners then. Watch when the night is dark, and the wind is howling, and the picklock is grating in the door, and you will see sinners then. Go to jail and walk through the wards, and see the men with heavy, over-hanging brows, men whom you would not like to meet out at night, and there are sinners there. Go to the Reformatories, and see those who have betrayed an early and a juvenile depravity, and you will see sinners there. Go across the seas to the place where a man will gnaw a bone upon which is reeking human flesh, and there is a sinner there. Go you where you will, and ransack earth to find sinners, for they are common enough; you may find them in every lane and street, of every city and town, and village and hamlet. It is for such that Jesus died. If you will select me the grossest specimen of humanity, if he be but born of woman, I will have hope of him yet, because the gospel of Christ is come to sinners, and Jesus Christ is come to seek and to save sinners. Electing love has selected some of the worst to be made the best. Redeeming love has bought, specially bought, many of the worst to be the reward of the Savior's passion. Effectual grace calls out and compels to come in many of the vilest of the vile.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Having spent time around "sinners" and also around purported saints, I have a hunch why Jesus spent so much time with the former group: I think he preferred their company. Because the sinners were honest about themselves and had no pretense, Jesus could deal with them. In contrast, the saints put on airs, judged him, and sought to catch him in a moral trap. In the end it was the saints, not the sinners, who arrested Jesus.
It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and from the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!
For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.
Saint John Chrysostom
The sinners to whom Jesus directed His messianic ministry were not those who skipped morning devotions or Sunday church. His ministry was to those whom society considered real sinners. They had done nothing to merit salvation. Yet they opened themselves to the gift that was offered them. On the other hand, the self-righteous placed their trust in the works of the Law and closed their hearts to the message of grace.
One thing I have learned in institutions is not to press hard on the fact that their inmates are, like the rest of mankind, sinners; for they, like many others, are liable to confuse the generic term "sinner" with the specific term "criminal." Most of us are so accustomed to admit that we have fallen short of grace and are "miserable offenders," in view of our possibilities and opportunities, that we do not resent being called "sinners"; but not so with our congregation.
Mary B. Harris
Confession is a difficult Discipline for us because we all too often view the believing community as a fellowship of saints before we see it as a fellowship of sinners. We feel that everyone else has advanced so far into holiness that we are isolated and alone in our sin. We cannot bear to reveal our failures and shortcomings to others. We imagine that we are the only ones who have not stepped onto the high road to heaven. Therefore, we hide ourselves from one another and live in veiled lies and hypocrisy. But if we know that the people of God are first a fellowship of sinners, we are freed to hear the unconditional call of God's love and to confess our needs openly before our brothers and sisters. We know we are not alone in our sin. The fear and pride that cling to us like barnacles cling to others also. We are sinners together. In acts of mutual confession we release the power that heals. Our humanity is no longer denied, but transformed.
Richard J. Foster
The bridge of grace will bear your weight, brother. Thousands of big sinners have gone across that bridge, yea, tens of thousands have gone over it. Some have been the chief of sinners and some have come at the very last of their days but the arch has never yielded beneath their weight. I will go with them trusting to the same support. It will bear me over as it has for them.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Christianity can be built around isolating ourselves from evildoers and sinners, creating a community of religious piety and moral purity. That's the Christianity I grew up with. Christianity can also be built around joining with the broken sinners and evildoers of our world crying out to God, groaning for grace. That's the Christianity I have fallen in love with.
Justification by grace through faith' is the theologian's learned phrase for what Chesterton once called 'the furious love of G-d.' He is not moody or capricious; He knows no seasons of change. He has a single relentless stance toward us: He loves us. He is the only G-d man has ever heard of who loves sinners. False gods- the gods of human manufacturing- despise sinners, but the Father of (Yeshua) loves all, no matter what they do.
The question of why evil exists is not a theological question, for it assumes that it is possible to go behind the existence forced upon us as sinners. If we could answer it then we would not be sinners. We could make something else responsible... The theological question does not arise about the origin of evil but about the real overcoming of evil on the Cross; it ask for the forgiveness of guilt, for the reconciliation of the fallen world
The question of why evil exists is not a theological question, for it assumes that it is possible to go behind the existence forced upon us as sinners. If we could answer it then we would not be sinners. We could make something else responsible...The theological question does not arise about the origin of evil but about the real overcoming of evil on the Cross; it ask for the forgiveness of guilt, for the reconciliation of the fallen world
If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of 'the plan of salvation' in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airways and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, therighteousness of God and the law of God, until sinners would cry out, 'What must we do to be saved?' Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.
At one time I was praying for the salvation of sinners, and the Saviour appeared on the cross by me, and talked with me; I laid my hand on his mangled body, and looked up in his smiling face. Another time I was meditating upon the love of God in giving his only Son to die for sinners, and of the beautiful home he was preparing for those who love him, and I seemed to float away, and was set down in the Beautiful City. Oh, the glorious sight that met my view can never be expressed by mortal tongue
If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of 'the plan of salvation' in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airwaves and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, and the Law of God until sinners would cry out, 'What must we do to be saved?" Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Don't use John 3:16. Such drastic action is needed because we have a gospel hardened generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.
Genesis 18 calls fathers to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Being a parent means working in God's behalf to provide direction for your children. Directors are in charge. It involves knowing and helping them to understand God's standard for children's behavior. It means teaching them that they are sinners by nature. It includes pointing them to the mercy and grace of God shown in Christ's life and death for sinners.
When I immersed myself in prayer and united myself with all the Masses that were being celebrated all over the world at that time, I implored God, for the sake of all these Holy Masses, to have mercy on the world and especially on poor sinners who were dying at that moment. At the same instant, I received an interior answer from God that a thousand souls had received grace through the prayerful mediation I had offered to God. We do not know the number of souls that is ours to save through our prayers and sacrifices; therefore, let us always pray for sinners.
Mary Faustina Kowalska
Go back to Socrates: "Know thyself." For Socrates, there are only two kinds of people: the wise, who know they are fools; and fools, who think they are wise. Similarly, for Christ and all the prophets, there are only two kinds of people: saints, who know they are sinners; and sinners, who think they are saints. Which are you?
Two classes of people make up the world: those who have found God, and those who are looking for Him - thirsting, hungering, seeking! And the great sinners came closer to Him than the proud intellectuals! Pride swells and inflates the ego; gross sinners are depressed, deflated and empty. They, therefore, have room for God. God prefers a loving sinner to a loveless 'saint'. Love can be trained; pride cannot. The man who thinks that he knows will rarely find truth; the man who knows he is a miserable, unhappy sinner, like the woman at the well, is closer to peace, joy and salvation than he knows.
Fulton J. Sheen
When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and hopelessness. Helpless sinners can survive only by grace. Our strength is futile in itself; we are spiritually impotent without the assistance of a merciful God. We may dislike giving our attention to God's wrath and justice, but until we incline ourselves to these aspects of God's nature, we will never appreciate what has been wrought for us by grace. Even Edwards's sermon on sinners in God's hands was not designed to stress the flames of hell. The resounding accent falls not on the fiery pit but on the hands of the God who holds us and rescues us from it. The hands of God are gracious hands. They alone have the power to rescue us from certain destruction.
I recall Decimus instructing me while at work that wrong friends will make my heart yearn for sin more than it usually does. Compromises will be easier and wisdom will be replaced with folly. I just figured that they didn't know him, and therefore were judging him. Plus, I told them that Erebus ... was interested in becoming a Christian, and that was the basis of our friendship. My biggest mistake was when I told John that Jesus spent time with sinners far worse than Erebus. 'Oh foolishness, you forget I was with Jesus when he was in the homes and company of sinners, ' John chided. 'Jesus did not come to make friends, but to call sinners to repent. Do that long enough and let's see how many friends you pick up... His visits were hardly a social call... He did not save any lost soul by living like that lost soul... until Erebus sees Christ in you, you are guilty of leading him astray as I'm afraid he is leading you astray... As I see it, friendships are grown when you are all going in the same direction, and can help, encourage and protect all involved. Friendships are not to be reckless, but constructive and purposeful where you are building each other up and improving each other's character. If this isn't that inner, guiding principle of all the friends you hold, then in what direction is it actually going, and what good will be derived from it? If friends are not making each other better, then they're fulfilling the role of our spiritual enemy by tearing down what is good and ruining what had potential...