Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mourn and Comfort

Followers of Christ have pledged to serve others. That includes bearing their burdens, visiting them in times of sickness or loneliness, providing for their physical and spiritual needs, and in short, loving them as Jesus would love them. Perhaps one of the more difficult things we've been asked to do is to mourn with those that mourn. We'd much rather try to cheer someone up than watch them be sad and even partake of their sadness. However, this is often what is most helpful to one who is struggling emotionally.

Consider the story of the raising of Lazarus. As always, Jesus is the perfect example for us. Even though He knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He wept with those who were grieving (see John 11:33, 35). When we encounter those who are sad, even if we believe the cause of their sadness to be trivial or short-lived, we should acknowledge their feelings and allow them to express those feelings, even if seeing their pain causes us to feel pain ourselves. When we do so, we are, in a small way, emulating our Savior who took upon Himself our own pains.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

All in our power

At the time of this writing the world is currently experiencing a pandemic of the novel corona virus. Many schools, businesses, and places of worship and recreation have shut down. It's true that there are many other things in the world that cause significantly more suffering and death. However, perhaps what's most distressing about this present challenge is a feeling of lack of control. This virus doesn't discriminate and isn't caused by any lifestyle choice beyond the simple act of going about our normal day-to-day lives and interacting with those around us. It can feel like an unstoppable force. It can feel as if we can do little more than wait for the storm to pass and hope it does as little damage as possible.

And yet, during this and other challenges, there are still things we can do. There are things we can control. No matter how frightening or insurmountable things may seem, let us focus on the small things we can do to improve our situation and that of others, and let us ask God to show us what those things are. For, if our God is able to multiply five loaves and two fishes into a banquet for over five thousand, He can surely multiply our meager efforts to the blessing of our lives and those of our friends, family, and neighbors.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Forgotten purge

Imagine a person imprisoned for a crime. They know their guilt and that their imprisonment is just. But then somebody sets them free by making things right in ways that they could never have hoped to do on their own. This person makes arrangements for the prisoner to leave their cell and lead a happy and productive life outside.

How tragic would it be if the very next day they forgot that they had been freed and continued to live their life in prison as if nothing had changed?

In the verses leading up to this passage (see 2 Peter 1:4-8) Peter encourages us to exercise godly virtues such as diligence, temperance, patience, and kindness. He then promises that if we will do so, we will not be "unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." We are warned however that if we don't strive to develop these attributes, we can forget the light and knowledge we once possessed, reverting to living life as we hadn't been forgiven and saved from former sins.

As dire a warning as this is, it can also give one hope, for the inverse is also true. If we want to increase our knowledge and understanding of our Savior and our confidence in His ability to free us from the ills of this world as well as the negative effects of our misdeeds, we can do so by being more charitable, more patient, and more loving to those around us. For by doing these things we will be more closely modeling our life after Christ's perfect example.