Righteous victories won by walking in faith
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” – I John3:18
Among the elements that pose great danger to a society in any age comes when words of conviction do not convey actions and truth. The Apostle John, the remaining disciple of the 12 original whom Jesus called to follow him, writes about his concern for the future of the Christian community in a letter to the Church. It is an expressed concern not limited to his era; it is a concern held by many in our present day who weekly sit in pews hearing a word of the Lord.
Questioned concerning the greatest of the commandments, Jesus responded that to love God is the first and the second is to love your neighbor. In the gospel of John, we learn that while Jesus and his disciples are gathered for their last meal together, Jesus impresses upon his disciples to love their neighbor as they have been loved by him. This is the eternal challenge that must be central to our lives if the love of God is to be reflected in our actions and in the truth proclaimed.
From the earliest age in Sunday school we have heard the story of the Good Samaritan that Jesus told. The story concerns a hardening of hearts among the children of God. The children of God and in particular their leadership, as observed by Jesus, lived in such a manner that they too easily accepted with untroubled consciences the plight of the neighbor. They were unwilling to address the issues of those children of God who were suffering from evil’s existence within the community.
Little Johnny in Sunday school held a confused look upon his face, so the teacher asked if he had a particular concern about their morning lesson. Little Johnny replied, “We keep hearing about the children of God who grumbled in the desert, complained to Moses, and yet ended up living in the Promised Land. What were the parents doing?”
I believe that adults learn as they have matured in age and outlook to see less of the world as through the eyes of a child of God and more as if they were a parent equal to God. The Apostle Paul gives the Church some guidance concerning love of neighbor and acknowledges the limitations we tend to forget in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal …When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection in a mirror” (I Cor 13:1, 11-12.)
Children know what is fair and unfair; what is kind and what is cruel. Forgetting such does not happen through aging for such truths remain. Ignorance of truth is not a viable excuse for poor behavior as adults. We learn that in the absence of parental control we have a widened ability to choose and manage the truths that confront us. The easy way is to complain about injustice and be a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.
What would it be like if it were possible to provide for the fearful, who journey at great financial, physical and mental cost to our national borders a safe haven where they can live in a just and democratic society? What would it be like if the opportunity were ours to provide for the intentional rehabilitation of young people within our prison care system? What would it be like to hold elected leaders not to their campaign promises or party rhetoric but to their faith principles and constitutional responsibilities to be concerned with people?
There is great noise of sounding gongs and clanging cymbals. The dim truth is shared as if it is full. It is by walking in faith and not by sight the righteous victories are won. Let us not just add to the noise. Let us walk in the truth of God’s love and resemble that kingdom in which we long to live.
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
SAM ASKEW is the pastor of Windsor Congregational Christian Church. He can be contacted at 242-4794.
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