- We have to trust that God can stop evil and suffering, even if he doesn't.
- We have to trust that God is loving in a meaningful sense. A meaningful sense is one in which God actually would prefer for everyone to be saved and doesn't determine who will be saved or damned.
- Within that context, we have to trust that, despite our suffering and the continuance of evil, there is some bigger picture that we do not see in which God still loves us in a meaningful sense.
I function with two definitions of sin. The most important, the one by which I believe God judges us, is a matter of intention. To paraphrase Wesley, the meaningful sense of sinning is when a person intentionally does something they know they shouldn't do. This is the intransitive sense of sin, "I sinned."
Yet a person can also sin against another person without intending to do so. A person can lose control of the wheel through no fault of his or her own and swerve and kill someone. They have sinned against the other person although they have not sinned in intent. A person can also sin against God, not by violating some absolute law but by wronging God, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Here's the most controversial thought. My Wesleyan theology would be incoherent, I think, if God judged anyone on the basis of the second definition of sin, although the second definition of sin is atoned for by Christ's blood, just as the first one is.
The first kind of sin is evil. The second kind of sin relates to suffering. Of course there is also much suffering that is not a matter of human action, but I'll stop here. I'm sure I unsuccessfully tried to tease this out here.