"Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ And the lawyer answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’
19 January 2015
An Eternal Reminder To a Power Drunk Generation, A Telescope Into the Vista of Eternity
As you know, this passage above is the introduction to one of the greatest and most memorable of the parables from our Lord's own lips while He walked on earth, that story of The Good Samaritan. And the introductory passage itself is therefore sometimes overlooked, but it ought not to be. "Do this, and you will live."
Our Lord did not offer us an exemption from sin if we call on His name, but forgiveness if that request is offered in true repentance, a recognition of our fault, and faith, and an active response to His command to 'go and sin no more.' Otherwise calling on His name would be in the manner of an incantation and a compulsion, and not a plaintive call for His forgiveness with a right and repentant heart. "Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
It might be better to have been born without any knowledge of His word and His commandments, perhaps even naturally sinful through a lack of courage and soulful disregard, than to hear His words and His most solemn commandments, and then hypocritically parade in them and His sacraments, with even intricate invocations of His holy name on your lips, as a call to hatefulness, pride, division, self-justification, and oppression.
For the first is the natural state of man, and weakness of the human condition, that might still hold out some hope of forgiveness and redemption, if the heart does not become too self-possessed and hardened through wickedness.
But for those who take great pains to drape themselves in the words of God and his faithful, in order to satisfy their own lust for power, righteousness, and superiority, dealing out hate, violent words, and scandal to others from their fearful and hardened hearts, there will be much less chance of forgiveness.
For this is the sin against the Spirit, about which our Lord himself warned when He walked on this earth. It is not ignorance or weakness, but rather a willful distortion and perversion of the Word that gives scandal to others and spreads hatefulness.
I am speaking now, more directly, to those who embrace hatred and spread thoughts of violence and repression in the name of God, giving scandal to His faithful on earth.
And I am not speaking merely of murder, and the more obvious atrocities that fanatics may commit in His name. No these are terrible enough. But I am speaking to those who stoke the fires of hatefulness, and violent words, gossip and namecalling, insults and hardness towards their brothers and sisters in this world, smugly asking, Who is my neighbor?
And you know who you are, if you are not already completely dead to the Spirit.
Even a dog can love its offspring, and gratefully lick the hand of the master that feeds it. But if you cannot love those who may not have offended you but may do not deserve it, who you do not know, or whom you look down upon, for the sake of the Lord, and give a reverent obedience to His two great commandments, then you may be truly lost, and perhaps even beyond any sorrow and reparation, God forbid this, in the life to come.
I caution you today, to look into your own hearts, and especially if you think you are without sin, to beg God to open your eyes, to chastise your conscience, to show you the many times you have wronged Him, and not been one of His faithful servants. For no one is good, but God.
It is better to do this now, and to open your hearts and minds to forgiveness, that to persist in your stiff-necked pride, until a time when you hear the awful truth.
Pray for each other, and especially for those who may try you, or tempt you in any way to anger or violence. But try even harder to not look about judging others, and feeling satisfied with yourself. For the love in your own hearts has grown cold, and selective, prideful and chastising of others. Do not compare yourself to this one or that one, to justify yourself in your own eyes. Pray for others, and judge only yourself, weighing your own conscience carefully in these perilous times, setting God and not yourself as the judge of your own righteous action.
When you have a hard thought or a harsh judgement for one of your brothers and sisters, pray for them. Make yourself pray for them at each and every temptation to hatred and self-justification, for whatever sinfulness and weakness you may see in them, you have it in you. I can assure you that if you commit yourself to doing this, every day and at the moment that such a hard thought may occur, it will at the very least keep you prayerful and well occupied.
We must do this, and be especially vigilant for our own souls and actions. For His people are under a tremendous assault. This truly is a generation made drunk with the will to power, that has been foretold for these dark times. Do not worry so much about the wealth you may have on this earth, that you forget the only real and lasting possessions you may take with you to the next.
Don't worry about what they do, how they worship. Don't worry about what I do, and what I think. Rather, Let each person concern themselves with what they do, and how well they respond to their own call from God. Examine your own actions and thoughts and behaviours first and foremost. For you will not be called upon to answer for what they do, but what you have done. Before you dare to try to convert and persuade and argue with anyone else, first make yourself perfect, so that they might be drawn to goodness by your very example.
And finally, may God have mercy on those who provide provocation and false teachings to others, and scandalous example to their own children and grandchildren, and then see their sufferings in the days to come, because of their own willfulness, stubborn greed and foolish pride.