Two things hit me today, and the seem related.
One was concerning President Obama's "contraception compromise" - there was a poll at CNN asking whether or not people approved -- the majority did. This struck me... because it is about a law mandating that people do that which they are opposed to.
The second was concerning Confession and Absolution. So often there is the lament that it is under-utilized. Then I thought, "I wonder if it is under utilized in part because so often Pastors can go off on moralistic tangents... where the Pastor is viewed more as the establisher of proper morality rather than the forgiver of sins." If that is the case... well, we retain Confession and Absolution for the sake of the Absolution... it's one thing to come to know you are going to receive forgiveness... its another thing if... well... you've be doing X with is that horrible thing that Pastor Y has been harping on... why would you go to him then? Or evening if you've been doing Z... but if you think of Pastor Y as a harper... why would you reveal your sin to him?
What do these two have to do with each other?
I think more trouble is caused in this world when we try to force other people to do something. A Contraception mandate is an attempt to force people to do something - and you know what? I'll be charitable. I'll say its done under the best intentions, that people think it's for the "greater good". And you know what... it will backfire and build up resentment. And it treads on religious freedom.
Likewise, I think in the Church we can be more interesting in shaping the result of hearing the Word rather than simply proclaiming the Word, especially when it comes to morality. We do not content ourselves with saying, "This is good, this is wrong." Instead, we want to hammer the wrong out of people... or even set up fences around them to make sure that they don't come close to what is wrong. And all for the greater good. And you know what... it backfires, and the Gospel gets spun off into a corner and grows dusty, which some laud how wonderful they are where as others become resentful.
The great danger is the desire to control your neighbor for your neighbor's own good. To not simply say, "know the Lord" but to grab them by the scruff of the neck and see that they get around to knowing.
It's like trying to make sure that the seed hits good soil and to keep digging at it and poking it until it sprouts the way you want it to. And that... that's not trusting God to work with His Law as He wills, nor is it trusting Him to work with His Gospel as He wills. And it becomes ego centric.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This is what you are to teach -- you cannot think that your teaching is supposed to change that fact. Yes - people sin. Yes, they are forgiven on account of Christ. Some will grow, some won't... teach the truth. That's all we are given to do.