Struggles On the Better Path
Along the journey of life, I have argued with loved ones thinking that I might show them the better path. Christ has revealed to me thoughts and ideas that go above the thinking of men on earth. What Christ teaches is not easy to take, as a matter-of-fact it is hard to follow after Christ and serve Him. I know that I see things in others that are sinful or contrary and how do I tell them that I see the error without coming off as condemning them? I am not judging them in my mind - in my mind, I am trying very hard to show them their error. I am trying to admonish my brethren and aid them on their path. I know that with my best friends, if I am making a mistake I expect that they will come and tell me that I am screwing up, and they expect it equal of me. Just when I do it to others, who do not know or understand my nature, it comes off as judgmental.
Saint Paul was writing in the letter to Titus to admonish your fellow brethren. Paul writes the following: TITUS, my son, the saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men. But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.
We, who believe in Christ, are to show others the way, I believe in word and deed. We are to apply ourselves to good deeds. Paul also writes that we are to avoid foolish controversies. I know in my life, I have so much passion and zeal for what I believe that I raise my voice to try to get my point across and before you know it the other person I am trying to admonish is angry and accusing me of losing my temper. But none the less, we are called to point out the fact of someone’s sin—in love and humility, which is by definition very hard to do. I am not Christ, not even close to being like Him even though I am trying everyday to get closer to having a heart like His.
Paul also says after you have attempted to admonish the other person once or possibly twice that you are to not even have anything to do with them. Paul believed that such a person was perverted and sinful and had already self-condemned themselves. To me that is a powerful statement. We are to show someone the path of righteousness, first of all by living the path ourselves, and then we are to admonish the other person in love. The truth is that most people will not believe the report. Jesus also said not to cast our pearls before swine, that we are not called to continue to give what is holy to those who do not deserve it and trample it under foot. The problem is that most times when I say something I know that I am right by what I have said, however, I become wrong when I try to prove it! I want to defend my point or myself and by the time I am done I have failed in my mission of love.
The truth is, very few people believed what Jesus said, and in turn by the nature of the beast, very few will believe what I preach. I was called to preach, I was call to admonish, and I was called to show others the way. I need to learn when to stop my own mouth and behavior and when to let the Holy Spirit take over His job. I know that when I speak—a fully loving moment anyways—that the Holy Spirit is speaking through me. Sometimes you need to preach out against others, but not point them out singularly in a crowd. Most people will despise you for the truth, and I fully believe, if I were truly doing the work of Christ completely and with utter devotion the world would be trying to crucify me also.
Jesus in the Gospel of Luke gave us the parable of the sower sowing seed. In this parable Jesus tells us that the seeds that are sown fall into different places where they will either wither and die or germinate and grow. And in turn different people receive the word of God and some allow the Word to germinate and grow in their soul and others allow the word to perish within them and refuse to accept the teaching and most importantly the love of God.
Those people who allow the devil to come into their lives and steal away happiness and joy, allowing the devil to come and steal away the Word from their hearts, and the end result is that they are not saved. I have seen many who had the joy of the Lord within them; the Spirit was alive in them—as circumstances were going well. As long as people accepted them, and things went slowly they spread joy, they preached the gospel and they loved everyone, but as-soon-as things got rocky, as soon as circumstances got hard—they turned away from the truth and rebelled against God. We are called to DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN WHEN TIMES ARE HARD! We are to praise God while we are in the storm. We are to give glory to the Lord at all times. These people are the ones who did not have the Word firmly implanted into their hearts. These are the people who believed superficially and were weak to begin with. We have seen it within our marriages, within our friendships and within the church. When things are going well—everything is good and God deserves the praise, when things are going poorly—they turn their back to God and people and become unloving and miserable.
As Christians, who truly have the fighting spirit we are called to praise God no matter the circumstance. As Jesus hung on the cross he prayed for the ones who had just crucified Him. As Jesus was being whipped, tortured spit on and ridiculed—He kept silent. He did not justify Himself, He did not get angry—He never turned His back on us! He kept His face focused on His Father, and went to be crucified with courage and with the hope of the resurrection. He was fighting the war against everyone for everyone. We were trying to destroy the One who showed us the way and gave us the truth.
The marriage vows done in the Catholic Church are powerful. They are as follows: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my (husband/wife). I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. Followed by: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Now, in my mind we can translate this over to our marriage with Christ. We are to be faithful to Christ during the good times and the bad, during sickness and health. We are to love the Lord and honor Him all the days of our lives. We are to love the Lord…for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health until death takes us away from this world. In other words, we are to serve and stay faithful to Christ at ALL times and in ALL circumstances.
It is the truth. It is very easy to be a Christian when things are going smoothly, it is hard to be a Christian when thing are going hard. It easy to be faithful when things are going our way, it is hard to stay faithful when things are not. We are called to Love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul and our entire mind—at all times and in all circumstances. And, the second commandment is just as important, we are to love our neighbor as our selves—at all times and in all circumstances.