Friday, June 15, 2012
I saw that smile again. Why I had to come to this stage that I had to envy some poor soul? The unfortunate one as I often thought of him just had a fall, breaking his leg. He had also lost his father few weeks ago. Here I was having everything in life a man would want. It just didn’t add up. I had a great family, a booming business and also good health to boast with but deep down I was depressed. Why?
Truth be told, many times I was tempted to ask him but ego stopped me. Perhaps I was afraid to approach him for some ‘unneighbourly’ things I had done. I didn’t even offer help when his father passed away. Even though he was poor, his wife even at times gave us some fruits whenever there had some extras. But I got no time for them, because I didn’t want to lose time mixing with poor people. My business had taken most of my time, eating even into my family’s life.
My mind was preoccupied with all the farm workers, making sure they worked and oh, the financial part of the business, no one could get a single extra dime from me. Lately, I had been drinking and feasting, mixing with some tax collectors, wanting to gain some favours from them. My wife might not know but I had started fooling around with women with all my accumulated wealth.
It just drove me crazy to see the glow in this man. Was not happiness found in wealth as I always had thought? How come it was not? To make matter worse, this guy next door constantly ‘knocked’ on my conscience door of my heart. Yes, I did cheat a little in my business but wasn’t that the norm? It didn’t fit at all to whatever I was having in life. This family had almost zero in terms of pleasure but they seemed to enjoy life.
I had had enough. As I was thinking hard, a voice spoke, “Good Day! Gordon!”
“Ehhh, Good!” I replied in haste. He stood there smiling as usual. “That rotten smile again!” I thought to myself. “Can I ask you a question?” I put my anger to good use. “What makes you….happy?” I asked, drowning my ego for the time being.
“God!” he answered. I froze in his one word answer. “Okay. I got to go. See you around,” I quickly turned away from this guilt-ridden conversation. As I walked just a bit, he shouted, “Will you like to go to Olive Avenue for a meeting with a Man who claimed Himself to be God this evening?” I stopped. “Huh?”
I walked on without looking back. I had heard of that Person who had healed many sicknesses and diseases. It was like unheard of miracles being performed by Him. “Why not?” I whispered softly to myself.
The crowd was unruly as I arrived to the venue to meet with this Man, many claimed to be the Messiah who was to come. Everyone just wanted to get a glimpse of Him. From afar, I saw Him. This Man had even a greater glow than my neighbour next door.
And then he spoke.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
When He paused, the one word, “God” rang in my ears like a bell. My heart felt like exploding inside, so much of guilt and shame stirring within. Then I saw him. My neighbour, Timothy knelt with his hands raised. I saw tears flowing freely. It was not sadness but a life that filled with the joy of God. Did he see something I didn’t?
Then I turned to look at Jesus. His eyes locked mine. At that moment, I was repentant and for the first time, I felt pure! I knew what happiness really was. That day, an encounter with Jesus changed my life forever. I saw what Timothy saw. God!
No other values of Christianity have been challenged so strongly, passionately and subtlely than purity. What was being considered promiscuous behaviours twenty years ago are now accepted in today’s society. Although no Christian is perfect in purity, God desires us to walk with a clear conscience. He loves all of us to have healthy relationships, first with Him, then with everyone.
Jesus Himself simplifies the complicated 613-law system of the Jewish people into two relationship laws which sum up all the laws and regulations the Old Testament writers speak about.
(Mat 22:37-40) Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
In another place, Jesus emphasises good relationship as he speaks these words below...
(Mat 7:12) So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
We live in a broken world! So common today to see and hear of broken relationships and of dysfunctional families everywhere. To make matter worse, we have the Hollywood movies, TV shows and product advertisements suggesting young people to live life free. Do whatever you want as long as you don’t harm anyone.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. To see God means to experience the reality of God every day. A truly happy and fulfilled life knows that God is with us. That God is pleased with us. Peace and joy flood our inner being every day. In contrary, people with impure heart live with shame and guilt. They always play the guessing game not knowing whether God accepts them or not. Their conscience pricks them throughout the course of the day. If their hearts are not settled, eventually they will go from bad to worse. The Bible even said that these people’s consciences can be seared (1 Timothy 4:2). They would go on living a lie.
To be pure needs determination. It is hard. However, we are not without help. The Holy Spirit resides in a Christian and those who keep in step with Him, will grow the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
(Gal 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control….
Next: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Mat 5:9).