Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Victim" Clarification

A reader just wrote a comment to my post When does a "victim" become culpable?, and I knew that it deserved a thoughtful answer.

The comment is thus:

We may reap what we sow, and his actions may be inexcusable, however that does not render the other party inculpable. Anyone who can transfer a death sentence of this type has an obligation to disclose that fact to a partner, of the same or opposite sex, married or unmarried, it should make no difference. While the object of unmarried persons is having sex, or homosexuals is engaging in their acts, if one partner fails to disclose a situation which could cause another person's death then they are guilty of either manslaughter, 2d or (in cases where the partner has died and the transfer was intentional without the partner knowing) 1st degree murder. Would you say the same thing if, for example, a man was infected with HIV by let's say unclean medical practices, knowing of his infection but being a virgin, then married a virgin woman but did not tell her of his condition, then infected her - would your opinion change? There are facts and there are facts.

The facts are:

Unmarried adulterous relationships are not condoned by God.
Homosexual relationships are not condoned by God.
Perversion is not condoned by God.
Infliction of pain or death on other people is NOT CONDONED BY GOD. 
It is not for us to be so judgmental. We educate our children, so they know better, however let us not forget compassion.


The truth of the matter is that I do not believe that the other party is not culpable.  I believe that he is.  However, evil loves the dark.  How would you ever expect a person who is actively engaging in an immoral act to do the morally right thing of telling the truth?  In reality, I believe that he deserves the death penalty.  But his culpability does not lessen the culpability of the person he engaged in immoral acts with.  Just because he left out certain truths, does not mean that the other party was a victim.

I did not articulate my opinion regarding a person contracting an incurable disease through no fault of their own.  I think those are totally different situations, even if the end result is the same.  

Many people have died of communicable disease that they had nothing to do with. Contracting HIV through a blood transfusion, or from an unfaithful spouse, getting Hepatitis from working as an EMT on a local ambulance or getting an STD from being raped are just a few instances.  Do I believe those are consequences of sin?  Yes and no.  Yes, they are consequences of someone's sin, just not the person who contracted the disease.  And no, because the victim was not a willing party to the original sin.  These people truly are victims.  

God is a God of mercy and grace.  He is also a God of judgement.  It is not my place to judge man.  That is God's task alone.  However, as you mentioned, God has spoken to the acts of sodomy, adultery, fornication and everything else we humans can think of to degrade ourselves.  I am merely agreeing with God's judgement.

We are to call sin, sin.  Yes, we must have compassion on our fellow man.  But when men are drowning in a sea of sin, what is more compassionate - to be "non-judgemental" and let them die in their sin or to throw them the lifeline of truth of the Word of God.  

There are consequences for our actions.  By God's grace we can be forgiven and by God's grace we are allowed to walk through the consequences of our actions so that we may be conformed into the image of His Son.


Dear Reader;

Thank you so much for making me think.  And thank you for making me dig deeper into the Word of God so that I can rely on His understanding rather than my own.


Enola Gay


  1. And thank YOU for your thoughtful answer. This gives me something to chew on.

    I do believe, no matter the circumstances, that when someone who knows they are HIV positive fails to tell their partner and infects them that they should be prosecuted and jailed so perhaps it will give them pause before doing it again. And jail, apparently, is a good place to study the Bible and develop faith.

    I also like your statement that we should name sin for what it is. Perhaps if people weren't so concerned about others' "delicate feelings" our country would have retained some of the higher ethical and moral practices our founding fathers wanted, and the current state of affairs would not be as bad as they are. I am with you on this one 100%!!!



  2. Dear Commenter, you wrote:

    "Would you say the same thing if ... a man was infected with HIV by ... unclean medical practices, knowing of his infection but being a virgin, then married a virgin woman but did not tell her of his condition, then infected her..."

    I am astounded and appalled. The fact that the man was infected through no fault of his own has nothing to do with it.

    According to you, he still KNEW he was carrying this deadly disease! Does the innocent manner in which he acquired the infection entitle him to a free ride, so to speak, and to infect her too?!

    Is there really a question here?

    Have I misunderstood you?

    Bill Smith

  3. Wow, that's a tough issue and I'm impressed by how you dealt with it -- both in your original post and in your reply to the reader.

    I do have one minor quibble with something the reader said, however, about inflicting pain or death on another person not being condoned by God. My quibble is the case of self-defense. The Commandment in my Bible (NIV) says "You shall not murder," which is a much more accurate translation than the oft-quoted "Thou shalt not kill." Defense of yourself and your family, even if an aggressor is injured or killed as a result, is indeed condoned by God. The pain and/or death of the aggressor are the consequences of his violent act (sin!) against the victim(s).

    That's clearly not the case in the example you wrote about. But it seemed worthwhile to point out that blanket statements about how it's NEVER right to hurt another person are not based in Scripture. After all, David did not sin when he slew Goliath in the Name of the Lord (1 Samuel 17).

  4. I am the reader, and I would not hesitate to defend myself or my son. Many times statements can be seen as blanket when they are not, however there is simply not enough time in the world to satisfy everyone while typing. I didn't think my intent was confusing. Sorry about that.

    At Bill - I would NEVER, EVER condone ANYONE passing along a deadly disease that they knew about. If you reread what I wrote you should be able to pick it up - I do realize I have a tendency to go on, however.

    Thanks guys!

  5. @Reader

    I am glad you clarified that, and that that is what you meant.

    Bill Smith