Baron Friedrich von Hegel was an Austrian nobleman who spent much of his life in England. He was a practising Roman Catholic, and a scholar of considerable profundity. He wrote about Christians suffering in order to save another person’s soul. He held in high esteem those Christians who voluntarily undertook rigorous and stern, even painful, self-imposed discipline on behalf of people they loved and sought for Christ. He told of a nun who cared deeply for one of her girl pupils in a covent school. Soon after leaving school the young woman – beautiful and talented – became the mistress of a wealthy man, and hardened herself against all religious appeals to abandon her chosen life style. The nun wrote to the girl saying she was sure that the girl loved her and wished for her former teacher a long and happy life. She then said that every day that the girl continued in her immorality she, the nun, would lash herself ’til her feet stood in her own blood. She said she had already carried out this practice of self-flagellation since she had heard of the girl’s fall into such immorality. The only thing which would stop her was the girl writing to say that she had given up being the rich man’s, or any man’s mistress. Painful days went by – at last the girl wrote. The nun had made her point.
Instead of arguing about the ethics of what can be seen as spiritual blackmail, let us ask ourselves two questions:
One: Do I love anyone that much?
Two: If someone did that for love of me, would I repent of my sin and ask to start afresh? Well, someone did!
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 7-8
A Prayer: This Day, O Lord, I abandon all known sin, because you love me enough to die for me.
Now read Romans 5: 1-11.