Prayer for sinners as a zero sum game
I simply do not understand the logic of people who say, “To pray for a grave sinner is to rob the innocent of prayers and support.” Amazingly, global and versatile man that I am, I find it possible to pray both for the mugger and his victim, that God would give them each what they most need. I have this strange notion that most people are capable of the same thing and tend to think that people who clamor for blood and vengeance for the grave sinner are simply making a particularly transparent excuse for their desire for vengeance in trying to portray it as “care for the victims.” As somebody who has been victimized in the past (and who hasn’t?) I have never found that that I was helped by clinging to the memory of the wrong done me nor by chewing the cud of bitterness and savoring the thought of some exquisite punishment being meted out to them. Such things have always served only to make me a worse and unhappy person. But, as Uncle Corkscrew discusses here, there is a peculiar temptation which we can give in to, where we can indulge all our passions of hatred while congratulating ourselves that we are heroic figures speaking out for the downtrodden. I think the rhetoric which condemns people for praying for grave sinners as “insulting” their victims is basically an exercise in that. It doesn’t really care about the victims: it cares about stamping out anybody whose example of charity poses a challenge to our desire to hate sinners and indulge the sin of anger.