Think again, however of the ugliness of mortal sin in the lives of people at the other end of the socio economic scale. I can tell you the story of a rich woman in a three car garage with a stock broker husband and three beautiful kids at private school. Here the mortal sin is adultery, and when the man was found out the woman turned her fury on him and hired a bulldog lawyer. She took him for everything and sought her revenge for years after. Their children were devastated by the divorce. They lost the family home. He ended up living in a little apartment impoverished by his mortal sin and then compounded his sin by making a second even more disastrous marriage. The children turned away. The family was broken. The rejected wife became an alcoholic.
But all this ugliness was covered up with polite manners, keeping up the facade and making sure everyone in the country club set was okay with what was going on.
The fact of the matter is that mortal sin is ugly no matter where it is and what kind of sin it is. It doesn’t matter if it is a secret sin like pornography or a secret stealing. It doesn’t matter if the person thinks it will never be found out and imagines that the ugliness will never be seen.
Mortal sin is ugly, and the closer we draw to Christ the more we begin to see the ugliness of mortal sin.
We see the ugliness first and foremost in the crucifixion–where we see the result of mortal sin. There in the hand nailed to the cross and the tortured feet.
The ugliness of mortal sin is often hidden within the smiling exterior and the smooth mask.
There is a character in a George MacDonald story who, when he shakes hands with people, feels the foot of the animal they are most like. This reveals their true character underneath their polite facade. This is what it is like when you draw closer to Christ. You see beneath the masks. You see beneath the polite play acting.
The beauty of this is that you not only see the ugliness of mortal sin lurking beneath the taut lifted faces, the successful firm handshakes and at the bonhomie of the socially elite. You also see the beauty of love that lies beneath those who seem to be unlovely.
There in the face of a child who is suffering, an old person who is lonely but relies on God, a single person who longs for love or a terminally ill woman who faces her death sentence bravely.
When God gives you eyes to see the ugliness of mortal sin he also gives you eyes to see the beauty of eternal life.
He grants you the vision to see eternity alive in the faces of ordinary people: people you live with and share life with.–people who might just, if you could see their eternal merit–be radiant saints and everlastingly unique images of Christ the Lord.