Saturday, November 8, 2014

Watching Evil Melt Away.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.  -- Colossians 3:12-13 (NET)
In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "You have heard it said,'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,' but I say to you do not resist an evil person."  We all have a serious problem with evil.  Most often we might think of it only in terms of others' actions, rather than our own!  When we discuss evil, we usually conceive of ourselves as the ones in the white hats while tremendous atrocities spring to mind - invariably Adolph Hitler is among them.  Those who mock this "impractical" Savior's words: "Do not resist an evil person" will say, "That's EXACTLY what Neville Chamberlain did and look at the World War it caused!"  Forget Hitler for a moment, we are a society chock full of millions of people who all see supposed affronts to their rights as "evil," and they strike back at it.  Some people will contemplate murder, some will actually commit it.  So much for not resisting!  Race to it then.  Take up your arms and exercise your own brand of justice against all evil doers.  Now, is the world a better place because of your actions?  It might be better for you.  Is it better for those who see and adopt your model of living?  M. Ghandi said something like, "An eye for an eye only leaves the world blind."

The unhealthy emotional condition of society, the spiritual malaise of the masses is perhaps related to the generalized rude, impolite, unkind, rough way we bump, jostle, and smack down everyone else in order to get our way.  When I read Paul's words to the Colossians printed above, the first encouraging thing that grabs my attention is the "elect of God, holy and dearly loved." Yes, I consider myself Christian..."holy and dearly loved" feels like a notch higher.  If I don't feel that, I sure would like to!!  To feel it perhaps we have to dress like it then?  Smiling in spite of how we are feeling will improve our mood.  Dressing better raises our self-image.  Clothing ourselves in "mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness patience and bearing with one another and forgiving" should then result in us feeling that way and therein more holy and loved.

So what about the evil people?  First, they just might not be evil but carrying a boatload of misery and heartache from many years of being kicked around.  Second, if they were met with encouragement and all those attributes in the Colossian's list - mercy and such - by EVERYONE, how long could "evil" stand?  I would contend that Hitler succeeded because the "good Christian" people around him bought his gospel of fear and blaming and just with a knee-jerk reaction followed his lead.  Where would Hitler's support have come from if all Germans were living out the reality of "holy and dearly loved?"  Where would there have been room for a Hitler if the world had treated the German people following World War I with more humility and gentleness?  Holy and beloved people don't need to blame.  We don't need to be fearful.  We don't need to fight for our way.  We only need to rejoice in the right.  We follow a risen Savior who is real and who has our common good solidly in hand.  Hold up that word and principle for your neighbor, your friend, your family.  Watch evil melt away.     

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