I’m sure that Robin Williams’ death came as a shock to you as much as it did to me. How could someone so funny and entertaining lose a fight with depression? How could someone who brought so much happiness to others not be able to find happiness himself? These are the questions I asked when I heard the news. The truth is that he, like so many people, fought an unseen enemy in an arena that no one else can enter. He tried to deal with it the best ways he knew how. Most of which probably weren’t healthy or productive. We can sit and judge or we can watch and learn.
When I saw others post their favorite movie quotes of his, the one that came to my mind was fitting for the way he died. In the movie “Patch Adams”, his character, who was a doctor, said, “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” So many times we look past the person and only see their disease, their sin or their faults. We spend so much time attacking the defect that we forget we are dealing with a person. We like to say, “Love the sinner. Hate the sin,” but too often we can’t see the sinner for the sin.
It’s hard to love someone when we are so focused on the thing we hate. When I read the way Jesus was in the New Testament, I see someone who had compassion for the individual person. He saw their sickness, their defect and their sin and He had compassion. Instead of pointing out the sin or disease, He looked at the person and showed love. He knew that when it comes to sin, you treat the person, not the sin. He knew that showing hate for the sin did more harm than good in most instances. Yes, He overthrew some tables a couple of times. Those were when He was upset at the very ones acting in His name. You never read where He got angry at a sinner.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin “sin”. I’m saying we should be quicker to show compassion and love for others than we are to point out their sin. We don’t know what they have been through or what they are facing. What we do know is that we serve a God who forgives no matter what we or they have done. The only way they will see that is if we learn to show love to the sinner and treat the person not the sin. What would happen if we acted out the Golden Rule as if we believed it? You and I can’t forgive sin, so why do we try to treat it? We can however love the sinner, so why not do that instead?
So many people in this world need hope. So many are fighting unseen battles. Too many lose those battles without knowing there is someone who loves them and there is a God who can forgive and heal them. They’re afraid to come out because of what others might say or how they might be treated. If they knew that they would be shown love as a person and not treated as the disease or sin they have, they would be more willing to be open about it. They would get to see God through our actions of love and find forgiveness and healing from their sin. We could in essence start a revival through love. It has to start sometime, why not now? It has to start somewhere, why not with you and me?