“What a fool! How can anyone be that stupid? What a great laugh we’ll have as we expose his faults!” These are not the sentiments of Christian discipleship: despising others and publishing their faults abroad. The happiness that we experience in reviling others is not based on a love of the good, but rather an amusement with evil. Whether or not your neighbor is a fool: that is as may be. What is of greater heft, however, is facing your own inadequacies, your own shortcomings, your own sins. This is the wisdom of Deuteronomy chapter 9. “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil.” It does not say “that politician has sinned, that celebrity has been wicked, and my neighbor has done evil.” It says that we have sinned, we have been wicked, and we have done evil.
As much as a worldly person foster friendships with those who join him in reviling others and ridiculing them, should not a spiritual person foster friendships that support him in confronting the evil in her own life? The truest company of such friends is none other than the one Church founded by Jesus Christ. Saint Paul said, in his first letter to Timothy: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.” Can you stand beside that great saint in your prayer, and tell him he is not alone?