To be kind in judgment does not involve indifference to moral standards or desertion of ideals. It is not a question of blindness; it is a question of largeness of view. The offensiveness of sin, which rested so heavily on the hearts and minds of our ancestors, is not a whit lessened. Sin is still a horror when it works out its fruits in human life. But there has come a vast difference of feeling toward the sinner, because there has come so much larger and penetrating a knowledge of the influence of conditions of all sorts and kinds. What has happened has not been a desertion of the old standpoint of the righteous man who hated sin, but a recognition of the complexity of the individual problem and the difficulty of doing justice to the individual sinner. We still hate the sin, but we no longer hate the sinner. What has happened has been a change of position from the standpoint of the Old to the standpoint of the New Testament. The emphasis of our criticism and judgment ought to rest on our own faults, not on the faults of other people. But few of us have the capacity for self-denial involved in leaving other people's faults alone and dealing firmly and with clear eyes with our own. And yet, as a rule, the faults of others do not harm us. They rather amuse us, or irritate us; while our own faults are constantly inflicting the most serious injuries on us.


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September 18, 1909

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