St. Hilary moves on to a discussion of the way of sinners:
The next condition is, that the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly shall not stand in the way of sinners. For there are many whose confession concerning God, while it acquits them of ungodliness, yet does not set them free from sin; those, for example, who abide in the Church but do not observe her laws; such are the greedy, the drunken, the brawlers, the wanton, the proud, hypocrites, liars, plunderers. No doubt we are urged towards these sins by the promptings of our natural instincts; but it is good for us to withdraw from the path into which we are being hurried and not to stand therein, seeing that we are offered so easy a way of escape. It is for this reason that the man who has not stood in the way of sinners is happy, for while nature carries him into that way, religious belief draws him back.
In other words, we live in a world brimming with temptation. Unfortunately, it is too easy to fall into habits that take us down a road to sin: greed, drink, anger, spite, pride, hypocrisy, lies, envy and more. The irony is that, though taking such a path is all too easy, it makes life much harder.
Anyone who has been in any kind of long term relationship — husband and wife, parent and child, life-long friendship — knows that sin in its various and sundry forms breaks the bonds which brings people together. Greed for a renewal of that “passion” and “excitement” of a new relationship has destroyed countless marriages as people fall into adultery. Alcoholism and other addictions are destructive on so many levels — it doesn’t just hurt the addict, but everyone around them. Fights drive relationships of all kinds apart, sometime separating people for years. Pride can prevent people from seeing the ways that they themselves are the cause of so much that has gone wrong within their own lives and the relationships that have with others.
Despite the fact that the life of faith, religion and humility seem so difficult is actually an illusion. The reason the blessed and happy man can avoid these dangers and complications in life and in relationships is because of the tools Christianity offers to the faithful. When one is humble enough to see one’s own faults in why relationships have gone off the rails, it becomes easy to forgive, to change course and to draw closer to the people that we love. When we believe, it becomes possible to see others as God sees them, and so we learn to love as God loves — unconditionally.
The strength of this love can overcome the sin, and make it easier to draw us all back from the teeming world of sin that we find ourselves in. Such a life is actually easier because rather than constantly having life spin out of control due to the consequences of sin, we live a life of simplicity, where we are constantly living a life with the consequences of God’s love.
One of the most important consequences of that love is described to us by Christ Himself:
What is impossible with men is possible with God (Luke 18:27)