A popular philosophy plaguing our society today is the idea of moral relativism. This way of thinking says that there is no truth; it’s all relative to whatever morality an individual person might want to create. The supreme virtue in such a society is that of tolerance. We should condemn nothing and tolerate everything since nothing is objectively right or wrong. We often hear the Scripture quoted reminding us not to “judge” others. Yet is this really the Christian view?
In today’s readings, God is clearly telling us that not only is not wrong to correct someone doing something bad, such correction is required. This is a natural consequence of a correct understanding of the fact that there is of course such a thing as absolute truth. Something can be true even if no one believes it at the time. More importantly, in our Christian beliefs, we understand something as sinful not because it breaks an arbitrary rule but because it is bad for us. Sin is bad because it ultimately makes us unhappy and less free.
In this light, we can see why the Bible is so forceful that not only must we judge when our brother or sister is doing something bad, but we must correct him or her. The key here is how we do it. Fraternal correction is an act of charity when motivated by unselfish love for our brothers and sisters. We all need the support of the community to help us get out of sin when we are stuck. We pray that our Church would be such a community where we build each other up and help each other live a moral life. Indeed we really are called to be our brother’s keeper.