NCW 44 Editorial
MAKING CORRECT JUDGMENTS
Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as we approach the Church's Holy Week. We pray that this will again be a time of renewal, re-dedication and committment to our Lord. More than anything else, we need to take a close look at ourselves and evaluate our conduct in the light of the commandments.
As I think about these things I am reminded of the elderly man who was very near-sighted and who thought of himself as an expert in evaluating art. One day he visited a museum with some friends. He had forgotten his glasses and couldn't see the picture clearly, but that didn't stop him from airing his strong opinions. As soon as they walked into the gallery, he began criticising the various paintings.
Stopping before what he thought was a full-length portrait, he began to criticise it. With an air of superiority he began, "The frame is altogether out of keeping with the picture. The man is too homely and shabbily dressed. In fact, it was a great mistake for the artist to select such a shoddy subject for the portrait."
The old fellow was babbling on and on when his wife finally managed to get to him and pull him aside. She whispered to him, "My dear, you are looking in a mirror."
This humerous anecdote reminds us of the folly of judging truth without the lens of God's Word, the Bible. Without an absolute standard or reference by which to interpret and evaluate life we are no better than the man looking at himself in the mirror. Unfortunately, though, this is just how the world and false religion judges God and the true faith.
Over the last four months I have been taking another close look not only at myself but at my personal beliefs in the light of God's Holy Word and have been discovering a few things. And one of my discoveries -- perhaps "rediscoveries" would be a better word -- is that as soon as you abandon the written Law in favour of a subjective or existentialist approach to judging life and God the image we see is nothing more than our own reflection.
A member of the Patriarchate recently reported a conversation he had had with a another Christian who was giving his view of the Bible. His reply was short, succinct and lucid: "I am not interested in what you have to say about the Bible. I am only interested in what the Bible has to say about you and I."
We may say the same about God too. People's opinions about God really aren't any use to anyone who is seeking for light and truth. All that really matters is what God is saying to us. And sadly, there are all to few people who know that.
There are many who claim that God is talking to them these days. You will find in this edition of the Witness an interesting story about NDEs -- Near Death Experiences. These people are reporting back a baffling collection of stories about the next life which are both contradictory and confusing. It would seem that invisible powers are using projections of peoples' spirits during an NDE to mislead them into thinking they are having an encounter with something real and tangible. While in some cases this may be true the evidence by and large suggests that a massive deception is underfoot.
Equally worrying are the numerous self-appointed 'prophets' who are travelling around the world peddling false prophecy. Their life-styles -- travelling around in limousines, staying in the most expensive hôtels -- makes me wonder if these merchants of the take-away, packaged gospel are really Christians at all. Their words seem to indicate that they are the Lord's servants but their actions say otherwise. Be warned! There are wolves in their droves wandering around the Christian churches.
But it's not only the "big shots" that give me grave cause for concern. It's the ordinary Christian who, impressed by these ecclesiastical showmen, are beginning to imitate them, and are themselves peddling their own prophecies and revelations. I have looked at the contents of many of these in recent times and I see just wind. People are playing at ministries God has not given them, puffed up in the vanity of their hearts, thinking they are "great ones".
Then there are those who believe they have an open channel to heaven 24 hours a day. Everything they think and feel they believe to be God's will. Such would be comical were their delusion not, in fact, tragic. As Paul accurately predicted, in the last days people would become "lovers of self" -- even those professing the Name of Christ.
Since it is so easy to fall from grace when one turns away from God and His Word it behooves us to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror too. Our own faults, which we are often slow to recognise, seem so large when we see them in others. As ministers of God's Word we must, of course, be on our guard against heresy and anything that would weaken the Gospel of Jesus Christ, exposing all falsehood uncompromsingly. But before we do that we need to look into the mirror of God's Word ourselves and ask Him to help us see our own, and our Church's, faults clearly.
Pity those who reject the Word, though, for their only mirror is their own, fallen minds and hearts. This coming ecclesiatical year let us make it our goal to cast a bright light on ourselves, repent of our faults, and sweep out all that is wrong in our lives. Holy Week is a wonderful time to do so, at the beginning of the New Year. May the Lord bless us as we do so. (26.3.97)
This page was created on 11 April 1998
Last updated on 11 April 1998
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