Standing on principle


When is it right to put loving a person in front of a standing on a moral principal?


it depends upon the principle. It is never right to put a person, even a loved one, above a law of God, to choose an immoral act for the sake of a person.


My sister has moved in with a guy, and repeatedly hurt my parents and other brothers and sisters. She has stated that her friends are her family, instead of her real family. I have been told by certain persons that it is more important to love and except this her than to tell her the truth that what she doing is morally wrong and tearing our family apart.

She has gone behind the family’s back to spread the news of the disagreement to aunts, uncles friends, and friends mothers, to the point of bring the family to near civil war. Her friends mothers have even called my mom to ball her out.

I have wrote a letter to my sister stating that what she is doing is wrong and demanding an apology for the way she has hurt my parents.

I am being told that my letter was very harsh and judgemental, which it may have been, but there was not anything in it that was not the truth.

I am now being told that I do not have the right to judge her behavior. This outrages me!!! I am being told that it is more important to love her than stand on the moral principal that what she is doing is wrong. Living with her boyfriend is just the tip of the iceberg as to the things she has done to try to tear our family apart and pit family memebers against each other.

So what should I do? I am willing to forgive her, but I am not willing to back down on my principals.

So again the question is when is it right to put loving a person in front of standing on a moral principal?


As I see it, this is a logical impossibility.

A moral life is a life lived in perfect charity. And perfect charity = love. Therefore, no actions exist which are both loving and immoral.


Ok, now that you’ve explained, I see what you’re talking about, but I think you’ve set up a false dichotomy here.

Sometimes it is easy to slip into anger when we must deal with a person who has done something hurtful. We can convince ourselves that this is so-called righteous anger, but in most cases it is not–especially when we act on that anger and cause further hurt and resentment.

It is a good thing to admonish a sinner, but “to admonish” in a Christian spirit means to correct with love and kindness. We need to exercise special care when we are dealing with someone who is living a sinful lifestyle. Sinners are making the mistake of seeking out what they believe to be goodness, in the wrong place. So it is our responsibility to behave with utmost charity toward them, so that they can experience the goodness of the Lord working through us and hopefully be encouraged to turn toward Him.

Sometimes even when we take care to word a gentle admonishment in a loving manner, the sinner will still become defensive and rude. That’s not your fault.

However, in this instance it sounds like you’re pretty steamed about the issue and I’m guessing that your letter really didn’t have a very nice tone to it. If that’s the case, if would be a good idea to apologize for any hurtful or angry words you might have said, and to note that you do really believe her actions are wrong, but that you love her more than your life.

You don’t have to compromise your principles in order to be kind to someone. For most of us, it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out how best to approach those who have wronged us. Ask Christ to give you a kind and gentle heart so that you can do His will. I know this has helped me a great deal in my life, though I still have far to go.


As a Christian, not telling her it’s wrong would be the least loving thing to do.

You should do so in a loving way, of course, explaining that you’re telling her because you love and care about her soul, and about your parents’ feelings.

If she chooses to ignore you, then all you can do is pray for her, and talk to a priest for more advice. By having told her, maybe you will have planted a seed that will take root sometime in the future.


People will often try to make it look like you’re attacking them if you criticise their actions. They will try to make it look more personal on your part. Also, as their actions seem so dear to them, they’ll try to make those actions an integral part of themselves, so that in order to remain a friend, you need to accept their actions - or that’s how you see it.

It’s a bit like the problem with homosexuality and homosexual actions.

Jesus prevented the execution of the adulteress. In fact, He even prevented the execution of the law on her. But He didn’t tell her His perspective was different, or offer advice. He told Her, “go and sin no more.” Just that. We are supposed to be charitable towards those who sin (we all do), and be charitable while admonishing someone, but we’re not supposed to pretend the wrong is the right.


**Another great post Jezu:thumbsup: You put into words so eloquently what is floating aimlessly in my head with no real order, lol.

I highlighted my favorite parts.

I have a big problem (well, not as big as it used to be) of putting principles before people. But that doesn’t mean that I now put people before principles. It just means that I take the time to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to guide my words and deeds so I have much less chance of doing or saying the wrong thing the wrong way.

But Jezu said it better, lol.



I understand what you are saying. I however have a problem with the way my parents are handling this problem. They seem to be willing to cave in on principal instead of stating to my sister that what my she is doing is wrong. In other words it means more to them to accept what she is doing whole sale and keep her, than to lose her in standing up for what is right in stating to her that what she is doing is wrong.

It seems to me that they are flushing principle down the toilet and comprimising truth so that they will not lose her. Don’t get me wrong I love my sister and hope that she comes back to the right path. However I find it very hypocritical for them to have drilled it in my head for years to stand up for what is right and to never back down on your principals, and then to cave in to my sister like a wet paper bag!!!

I was told by them tonight that no one has the right to judge another person. Well that is flat out wrong. The scripture commands us to judge others.(John 7:24 & Ephesians 5:11). I know also that there are other scriptures that also command us not to judge others. I know that there cannot be any contradictions between scriptures, so I know that these have to work together in some way. I am in the midst of trying to figure out how. In the meantime my parents tell me that know one has the right to judge another, and at the same time they pass judgement on me…how hypocritical!!!

As you can tell I am pretty steamed about this all. What it comes doen to is that I need to forgive my sister. I will do this, but I will not compromise principal in this matter. right is right, wrong is wrong, and I do not believe that you compromise truth in order to accept wrong behavior.


Don’t forget that “other brother” in the Prodigal Son. Interacting and loving a family member doesn’t mean that you are condoning their actions. I love my mom and dad and interact with them, but I do not condone that they are both in their second marriages without having gone to a tribunal to see if their marriage to each other was not valid. How will it be that your sister sees that the only one being nasty to her is the Catholic sister? Your sister now knows your opinion, you can now forgive and go back to loving her. I bet, if you talk to your confessor he’ll tell you the same thing.


never, because lying to a loved one about the morality of their actions is not a loving act, it is an act of disdain and disrespect for their innate dignity as a child of God, and shows a disregard for their well-being and lack of concern for their immortal soul. To weigh your sister’s sensibilities and hurt feelings against calmly telling her the danger she is in would not be love it would be hatred. If she was driving in her car toward a cliff, but told you to shut up and let her drive, I have a license, who are you to tell me how to drive etc., and you kept quiet, would that be a loving act?

Forgiveness does NOT mean concurring with their wrong actions, accepting the damage they have done, absolving them of the need to change and to repair the damage. Forgiveness is about the resentment and bitterness in your own heart, and your refusal to allow it to damage your love for her. Unconditional love does NOT mean accepting and condoning sinful and harmul actions, it means loving enough to be hated for telling the truth, and accepting her rejection and that of others in the family, because you clung to your love for her, and continued to work for her salvation.


puzzleannie is correct as usual.

Were you wrong not to tuck the letter somewhere and wait a couple days to better phrase it? Perhaps, perhaps not. Your sister might have needed to see that her activities and choices are hurting the family.

Were you wrong to tell your sister that she is wrong in her actions? Absolutely not. It would be wrong not to tell her.

Are people going to appreciate this, even in your own family, even your parents? Maybe not. It is what they are possibly afraid to do, for fear they will lose her. They might also look upon you as stepping out of your “place” in the family; that you are your sister’s sibling and therefore have no say about what is happening in the extended family, her peer, and still their child, no matter how old you might be. It doesn’t make it correct, it just makes it harder.

Doing Right doesn’t always come with a guarantee that it will be appreciated, even by those to whom we are closest. Look at the prophets in Scripture. Look at Jesus. How much more misunderstood and ridiculed can Somebody be?

But in those moments, when we stand on what we believe, and we Do Right, getting this reaction, we can unite ourselves with Jesus and His suffering. Sometimes, mental anguish and being misunderstood are worse suffering than any physical pain.

It’s not easy. It’s not fair. But it’s Right.


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