The Unforgiving Heart
One of the questions that I most often ponder is: Why are the people who call themselves Christians have the hardest hearts? Recently a study was done on people who are religious and less religious and how generous they are, and amazingly enough the generosity of the less religious was greater than the ones that are religious. Now I understand that, the definition of religious and less religious is really left up to interpretation, but I dare say that in my experience the most unforgiving people are those that call themselves Christians. People who call themselves Christians are the ones that do not open their hearts or minds to what God has to share, and this is one of the greatest hindrances of the world. How are we to show the goodness of God, when we are the poorest examples of His people?
In the Gospel lesson from John 5, Jesus walks up to a paralytic near a pool that was known to have healing properties. There was a man who had been sitting there for thirty-eight years and every time he would attempt to enter the pool someone would beat him to it and would take the healing before him. The man had tried for thirty-eight years, he stayed faithful and kept trying to enter, but instead would watch others be healed instead of him. Definately, the other people who entered before him saw him attempting to enter, and some of those people would have been there on a regular basis—surely they also saw him—but everyone had the same idea. Everyone who would go to the pool had only one person on their mind—themselves. The idea of self-preservation on the mind of a person, who claims to know God, IS and SHOULD be a foreign concept. We follow a God, who for the whole world, gave up His life for us. We follow a God that gives us the perfect example of self-sacrifice and love.
Now, I do not have the mind of God, but I dare say that Jesus seeing the situation at the pool, called Bethesda, saw a situation that brought Him great sorrow. Had His creation really fallen victim to a lie? Had His creation become so calloused and hard-hearted that they only cared for themselves? Satan teaches us that the most important day of the year is your own birthday, that you are the center of your universe. He teaches the world that we should look out for number one and walk past the person who is poor, weak or sick.
We have many readings throughout the scriptures that give us situations of poor examples of people who follow God, such as the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus himself said that the doctor comes for the sick, not the well, but I would say that the individuals who are in greatest need of the Great Physician are the Christians themselves. I often wonder why I remain in Churches where most of the people are selfish and wicked. I know in the Orthodox Church, that most of the hierarchy rush past those that are “sick” and “lame” to get to the pool. They often forget those who have the least money, and are less important, but how is it they forget that Jesus warned us: The first will be last and the last will be first. Those who believe they are great will be the least in the kingdom of heaven.
I know that we have heard the expression, with great power comes great responsibility— that is in truth a very powerful statement. When we have the ability to help someone and we do not reach out the helping hand because we are afraid to get “burned” or “used” we are holding back the blessing God has for us. Sure, God does not want us to be doormats, and most people who are reading this probably will not agree with me, but I know this for sure—we are called to be servants of God and the way we serve God is by serving others. God did not withhold anything from us; He gave us His Son to be sacrificed. He gave up a part of Himself, in order to reunite us with Him. Jesus died so we could have everything; He gave up his place on this planet so we could take our place next to Him in Heaven.
If someone would have helped the paralytic into the pool, I truly believe that the person who helped would have also been healed. The person who gave up their place for someone else’s would have also received the blessing, but instead the idea of self-preservation rules over most of us. We are the most important; we must make sure we are taken care of.
It is sad to think that the most unforgiving hearts are with the faith that believes in the most self-sacrificial God. The enemy does his work well. The easiest way to get the unbelieving world to remain where they are in life is show them a Christian. The best weapon Satan has is the Christian. How are we to show the goodness of God when we are so involved with our own lives that we can’t reach out to give others aid.
So many of us focus on our daily lives and forget the grand scheme of things. I have everything I have because of the blessings of God. Without Him, I can do nothing nor would I have anything. I breathe because He gives me one more day to glorify Him. I live to serve Him, and in turn He gives us everything we need and most times He gives us most things we want. What father, who wants to make his child happy, holds back a gift? Sure, we sometimes ask for foolish stuff, stuff we do not need, and the only time we do not get those things—in my thinking—is when it is detrimental to our lives and our union with God. In my walk with God, He has provided for me always. He has given me the money I need to pay my bills, have food on the table and a roof over my head. He had provided me a vehicle and even provided me with the little pleasures in live such as my Playstation and movies. Now, the last two items are things I do not need, but I do enjoy them greatly. God wants me to be happy, and even if I had nothing, I would be happy. I do not have a lot of money, but I have the goodness of God. I do not need riches, when I have the victory of the Resurrection. I cannot take anything with me to heaven, for everything I need will be their already.
We are called to help God in His task of showing the world what love is. Without our voices, we would still have our actions to show His goodness. I write these blogs, because God has given me a gift in writing, so I try to glorify Him with my words. I know that sometimes I rant and rave, but my heart is overflowing with the desire to bring you some of my limited wisdom. We are called to be self-sacrificial and full of love. Do not let the actions of the unbelieving world turn us into something we are not. Do not let the people who have hurt us dictate how we treat others. Do not let those who have lied and used us turn us into untrusting and hard-hearted people.
It does not matter what the world does—it matters what we do.
Christ is Risen, glorify Him.