Devotional thought of the day:
7 And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus. 8 In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. 9 Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you. Philippians 4:7-9 (TEV)
“When a layman sets himself up as an arbiter of morals, he frequently errs; laymen can be only disciples.” (1)
A disclaimer to start with: I have been having to deal with, preparing to deal with, and contemplating taking on a few things that are injust, unfair, and is in one situation – evil. Why I do this, I don’t know – and it frustrates the heck out of me.
When I read the words of St Josemaria Escriva, quoted above this morning, my reaction was twofold.
The first was that I thought the word pastor/priest should be added to the word laymen. As I think through that one, I realize that we as individuals do not, but in our role as ordained, as we stand in Christ’s place – by his command and forgive and retain sins, we do have that role. We even have the role to confront people who have sinned against us. (see Luther’s Large Catechism – the section on the Ten Commandments – The 8th Commandment for a great discussion of this)
But we cannot set ourselves up as the arbiter, as the judge, jury and executioner. Not our role.
The other reaction I had, is – this statement flies in the face of 60% plus of what I see on FB. From people commenting on selected photos of presidents and their umbrellas, to comments about how evil that person is, or this one, or how unjust this situation and that is, we vent our frustrations on the internet. We like having that illusion of power, and an illusion is all that it is. We feel like we can strike back, that we aren’t powerless, that we have a voice, that we somehow fulfilled a religious obligation. And we are just spinning our wheels, and our souls. There is a time to effectively work to overcome evil – in a way that is personal and caring and effective.
We haven’t been doing what’s good and beneficial. In fact, when we set ourselves up as judge and jury, as we spend our time digging up the mud on this person or that, as we fight for our “rights”, we effectively say “no” to the peace of God. We take the matter into our hands – and with the illusion of power, allow things to take our minds off of what St. Paul suggests we should be doing,
Focusing on Christ, and His work. Looking at the things which will bring Christ into the picture, His mercy, His love, His gospel.
Whether it makes things fair or not. After all – Christ didn’t combat evil – talking about what was fair and moral. He overcame it – by loving us enough to suffer the evil – to show us that love.
As we deal with Mondays, and a complicated week – and we want to strike out because its not fair, let us instead remember we are nailed to the cross of Christ – that we’ve died and risen with Him.
Therefore – we are home – and at peace.
Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 310-311). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- It’s Not About Calling the Qualified, or Even Qualifying the Called… it’s about revealing Christ. (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Serving God where ever He calls you to service (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Dissatisfied? Discontent? Frustrated? Try losing yourself! (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Do they know of your trust in God from your FB postings? (justifiedandsinner.com)