Do We Really Need to Know Every Last Detail?

Last Friday evening, March 22, 2024, my wife and I sat down to watch the 6 o’clock BBC News where we were told that there was to be an announcement from the Princess of Wales about her health concerns following mountains of “trolling” in social media.

It was said that she had come to the decision around the time she was facing intense social media speculation after the Photoshop editing of a family photo released on Mother’s Day.  We further learned that she was always intent on waiting until her children’s school broke up for Easter on Friday to go public about her health.  The princess revealed in this video announcement that she was diagnosed with cancer last month, having spent a fortnight in the private London Clinic for abdominal surgery in January.

In an editorial on January 12 this year in our weekly Update #1098, entitled “Never Complain, Never Explain,” mention was made as follows: “Those of us who have been called at this time can learn from biblical examples, and those who set high standards in public life, like the late Queen who, being a God-fearing woman, implemented standards expected of someone in her position.   And the result was, that as the reigning monarch in the UK for over 70 years, no one could ever point an accusing finger in her direction about her life style and behaviour.  She put up and shut up and she never complained and never explained if adverse publicity arose about the Royal Family.”

That approach has stood the Royal Family in good stead.   Because of the unkindness, speculation and outright lies being peddled on social media platforms, the Princess took the unprecedented step to make this public announcement.

The Sun editor Victoria Newton said: ‘It was actually, I understand, that the princess made the decision two weeks ago that she was going to do this public statement.  The key thing for her as a mother, the priority was protecting those three children. She didn’t want them going to school, being asked even more than they already were.  They were already being affected at school, so it was always her plan that she would wait until the last day of term.  Obviously, they’ve endured an incredible amount of social media speculation which has been really hard for them to handle, but the priority for her was always those children.”

When any of us have serious problems, we may not want to let the “world and his wife” [a British expression, meaning, “a great many people”] have all of the intimate details.  Much of this is private and we should give others the time and space to work through any problems they may have with their family and close friends.   The world does not need to know every jot and tittle about every issue.

Social media has brought about an intrusiveness never experienced before.   Facebook seems to be the instigator of the fashion that everyone in our circle needs to know everything that is going on in our lives.   Other platforms have reinforced this narrative and so many just seemed to have accepted this without really thinking it through.   

Let us think about this.   If the Princess of Wales had listed all of the problems she had had, the media would have had a field day and the questions wouldn’t stop there.   There is an insatiable desire in this world of 24-hour rolling news to fill the airwaves with continuous and even more graphic announcements if possible, and it then takes on a life of its own.   For news reporting and social media today, enough is never enough!

The Princess told us as much as we needed to know and asked for privacy as both she and her family work their way through it all.   Maybe all of that evil online trolling can now die down; human nature being what it is, it is highly unlikely that it will all stop.  An expert on cyber extremism said “the inhumanity” of social media led the royal to make her statement.

The London Standard wrote the following: “There we have it: an answer that finally puts an end to the cruel internet frenzy that became known as Katespiracy and a tragic one: Kate, the Princess of Wales has not been abducted by aliens, selected to appear on The Masked Singer [a reality singing competition TV series] or whatever other outlandish, baseless or distasteful rumours various conspiracy theorists wanted us to believe over the two months since her last public appearance. She has cancer. She was diagnosed with it in February after her abdominal surgery, and is currently in the early stages of preventative chemotherapy.”   And truly, we need to know no more than that.

However, there is some good news about this whole episode in that it has been reported that “visits to the NHS website’s cancer page rose by nearly five-fold following the announcement, while Cancer Research UK and Macmillan also reported a surge in clicks.”   

There was much unkindness in so many of the online comments on this issue.   Kindness is something our world is desperate for and is often in short supply.   But after Jesus Christ’s return to this earth, online trolling will not be allowed and, in the meantime, we can practice the instruction of Proverbs 21:21 (even if others don’t) which states “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.”

Let us follow these simple admonitions for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

Seek First the Kingdom

Christ’s admonition to seek the kingdom of God is found in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

In the dialogue leading up to this verse are a lot of examples as to what people focus their lives on.  In verses 19-32, Christ focuses on the verse which sums it all up, verse 33, as quoted above.

The analysis deals with where your treasure is; not to serve two masters; and not to worry about the physical things of this life, because if you have your priorities straight, God will supply your physical needs.

If we are to seek first the kingdom, we have to have a clear picture in our mind as to what the kingdom of God is. Even though the definition is broad, it can be narrowed down, in part, to the understanding that God is a Family, consisting of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who work in harmony to achieve what God wants, while Christ is subject to God the Father, the Most High God.

It also includes our potential to become full-fledged sons and daughters of God; and that God will establish the Government of God on this earth at the return of Jesus Christ; and the world structure will eventually be changed by the implementation of the laws of God, summarized by the Ten Commandments which show us that we demonstrate our love for God by keeping the first four commandments and our love for fellow man by keeping the last six commandments.

Then there are many statutes and judgments which explain the Ten Commandments further and show how to apply them specifically. The sooner mankind keeps these eternal laws, the sooner they can reap the benefits and blessings attached to keeping them.

The kingdom of God involves other aspects as well, but for the context of this editorial, it is being narrowed down to a few.

“Seeking” the kingdom involves doing some analysis and getting our priorities straight and not getting sidetracked by the things of this world like food, clothing and physical aspects which God will provide if we stay the course; and if we remain focused on the admonition to seek the kingdom first in our lives, the rest will follow.

The other aspect of this verse is to seek “His righteousness.” Since the Father and Christ—the Kingdom of God—are one in approach and righteousness, we have the example of Christ that we should follow. Christ’s life was pleasing to God since on more than one occasion, it was stated that Christ was the Father’s beloved Son in whom He was well pleased (compare, for example, Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22).

Let us look at the admonition in Proverbs 3:1: “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands.”

So, seeking God’s righteousness involves obeying and keeping His commandments which in this day and age are rejected by man, and yet, they are not that complicated.

The definition of seeking includes, “to attempt to find (something).” For instance, note this example: “They came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds.”

“Seeking” can also mean, “to attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something).” Examples could be: “The new regime sought his extradition,” or, “Her parents had never sought to interfere with her freedom.”

In addition, “seeking” can be defined as “asking for (something) from someone.” Here is one example: “He sought help from the police.”

Finally, “seeking” can be understood as “seeking someone/something out” and “searching for and finding someone or something,” like in this example, “It’s his job to seek out new customers.” 

So, we can see that seeking involves some effort on our part, and we have to be continually seeking the kingdom of God which will be established when Christ returns, and which ultimately is the only hope for mankind, and we need to seek the righteousness of God which involves keeping the commandments. All the other physical things we may wish and desire will be given to us in due time; and at the end, the best gift of all will be eternal life. Let’s never forget the words of Christ in Luke 12:32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Where Is the Positive Story?

Recently, someone suggested that I write about something which is good and positive, as we are experiencing and are confronted with so much which is bad and negative. When I thought about this, I was reminded of a poem by famous German author, writer and poet Erich Kästner (1899-1974). Kästner is well-known as an author of books for children and young adults, but he was also a very deep thinker and “moralist.” The German poem was written in 1930, with the title, “Und wo bleibt das Positive, Herr Kästner?” In English, we might say, “Where is the positive story, Mr. Kästner?”

Especially two stanzas of the poem are quite telling and relate to the subject of this Editorial. I have tried to translate them into English, as close to the literal German as I could, but with special focus on the gist and substance of his message:

“And you keep sending me many letters,

in which you write, underlined in bold:

‘Mr. Kästner, where is the positive story?’

The devil may tell you, it’s hot when it’s cold.

“You want me to put it nicely together,

and think that it will then stick and hold?

I don’t want to cheat. I will not betray you.

The time is black, the truth must be told.”

And so, we must tell the Truth today as well and warn the people what is about to happen (which will be much more horrible than when Kästner wrote his poem in 1930, anticipating the growth of the Nazi Party, the rise of Adolf Hitler and even the outbreak of World War 2). We must never ignore or whitewash the black or dark times in which we live—times which will become much darker. We must never cheat and betray the people by claiming that everything is alright, and that with the right political leadership, things will get much better and America will become great again. But as Kästner wrote books for children and young adults to give them hope and fun and enjoyment and a focus on the “positive” side of life, so must we today… and even more so.

We are to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness. The word gospel means “good news” or “glad tidings.” Certainly, it must include a warning message of things to come, and we must cry aloud like a trumpet (a soft and uncertain sound wakes no one up), but even that message is good and positive, as at least some might listen, consider and repent.  But in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, we announce to this world the best and most positive message there could ever be: The return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s righteous rule here on earth. And it includes the announcement that man can become a member of the Kingdom of God—the Family of God.

In this evil world, filled with suffering and pain, we can have joy—and as parents, we can and should communicate this joy to our children, by how we live, what we say and what we do. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ who “for the joy that was set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2), endured all adversity, even “the cross,” while despising “the shame.” We should likewise focus on the joy which is set before us—the joy of becoming God beings within a few years from now; the joy of helping to eradicate all evil and to help mankind to live in peace and freedom—and when we do that, we will also be able, with God’s help, to cope with the challenges of life.

In transcending the present and visualizing the future, we embrace hope, trust, confidence and the conviction that within a few short years, we will have reached our incredible human potential and our ultimate destiny—by becoming God, because He IS our destiny! And that is the positive story!

Ultimate Faith

There came a time when Jesus Christ, knowing that He was about to face His greatest challenge, yielded to the Father, saying, “‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done’” (Matthew 26:42).

Jesus was able to look to the incomparable future of the glorious Kingdom of God with ultimate faith, “… who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus was sent by the Father to pay the price for our sins, and He died on our behalf (Romans 5:6), so that we could have “‘everlasting life’” (John 3:14-18). Jesus continues to work with us to lead us to salvation. The Apostle Paul writes:

“For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

What exactly does that mean? How are we being saved by His life? Jesus, now “‘alive forevermore’” (Revelation 1:18), defends and helps us:

“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Jesus Christ is our living High Priest:

“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

You see, we will all face times of need when we will require great faith, and through God’s Holy Spirit we can find that help. Paul stated:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, King James Version).

We are saved by Christ’s life, because He lives in us through His Holy Spirit, giving us strength, comfort, assurance and conviction that everything will work out for good. Remember, we must have faith to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and we can ask God to increase our faith—as the apostles asked of Christ (Luke 17:5).

Lead the Way

In my work life, I am confronted with quite a lot of statistical information concerning the market that my company serves. I operate a non-profit transit company that provides para transit services along with a host of municipal buses, shuttles, and other specialized transport. This is challenging as inflationary pressures continue to impact all of us. Fuel costs, labor rates, insurance: all these things challenge any company, and the result can be reducing services to live within a budget.

This is just reality. However, here in Colorado, we are facing a unique problem. For the first time in our state’s history, the number of people over 65 years of age far exceeds those under 18. Of course, this sets up significant economic challenges for a growing state. Income tax revenue will decline while demand for elder services is increasing at a dramatic pace. There simply will not be enough money to provide care for our seniors.

In my job, we provide transportation for many seniors in an 8-county region here along the Front Range of Colorado. Trips for seniors include the obvious medical appointments, but also include grocery shopping, trips to senior centers and social events. Unfortunately, government funding for such needs has been declining due to shrinking revenues.

Our state government is focused on building a railroad from Fort Collins to Pueblo along Interstate 25. At the same time, state officials are discussing other very costly capital plans. These are not inherently negative projects to focus on, however, they will come as a tradeoff to needs like the senior services I’ve mentioned.

I write all of this as a prelude to stating that it occurred to me that in my line of work, as a leader in this industry, I need to do more to influence this issue. This means, speaking for those who cannot do so.

Millions of dollars are being programmed on visionary projects but sadly, seniors will be unable to get to dialysis and chemotherapy appointments. When I speak on this matter, I may not make those in power pleased.  However, we who are called by God to follow Him understand that there will be moments when we must calmly and appropriately stand up for that which we know to be right and moral. We must never do so with our own ambition or a self-righteous attitude. When we consider our actions, we should be guided by Scripture. Proverbs 3:5-6, provides excellent guidance: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

This must guide our actions as we interact with the structures of this world. As we know, they are not godly entities, yet they are allowed to exist by God, and we are required by Him to submit to these authorities unless this would compromise our obedience to God.

Our approach must be to focus on prayer and on the problem, and not the people we are interacting with. Titus gives us good guidance in relation to submitting to the ministry of the Church, and the same guidance is beneficial in our dealings at work. Titus 1:7-9 states: “For a bishop (other translations use the word elder or overseer, instead of bishop) must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,  but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” This is fundamentally a description of leadership, and if we wish to make progress in our efforts, accepting this advice is paramount.

In the example I began with, I know that the State’s leaders are eagerly working on their priorities. However, I also know that they care about the elders in our state who are in a troubling situation. There simply is not enough money or resources to achieve all the priorities. This is a common dilemma, and for true Christians, we can rely on God to show us the path we must follow to do His will. We see this illustrated in Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

In our interactions at work and in our communities, if we live by this direction, we are more likely to influence those around us. Not by self-righteousness, but by living as God intends, having our mind renewed by the commandments, and serving as an example to those we encounter. If helping our elders can be properly elevated by the example of our actions and priorities, we can raise the issue more effectively.

Jesus Christ provided the very best example of how we who are called by God must live. In John 13:12-15, we have the record of Jesus as our servant leader, and we read: “So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.’”

As humans, we can never match the example that Jesus established for us—however, we can strive for this.

In Galatians 6:9, we see the admonition of continuing to work for good and being the example that God intends: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

I am thinking about the task ahead of me, and I know that if I follow God’s commandments, I will have done my job.

Continued Growth by Application

As we live our lives in this world, we are often bombarded by the realities of life. We read in 2 Peter 2:7-8 that God “…delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).” Lot was called righteous, even though some of his deeds were unrighteous. God deemed him worthy to be saved from the destruction of the society in which he lived.

We are finding ourselves living in times similar to that of Lot. So much is going wrong around us. It can be easy to be influenced by the “pleasures” in this world. We have to make sure that our moral compasses are being influenced by God and not being sucked into this world in our thoughts and our ways.

There are so many things that we can pay attention to in this life; but really, it comes down to the question if we will pay the most attention to God’s Words which should guide and direct us. God shows us in the Bible those actions that we are to take in our lives. We need to be asking ourselves if we are learning how to accomplish them by living them.

In Micah 6:8, we are shown a few examples of how we should be operating: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy (or lovingkindness), And to walk humbly with your God.”

We have to learn HOW to accomplish these things. It doesn’t come automatically. It requires us to spend time learning to do and develop them in our lives. We have to be paying attention and figuring out how to make them happen in our dealings. When we learn this, it should produce within us the love (agape) for God’s ways as we see how this helps others and benefits all. We have to understand what each of these words mean in the context of being a Christian.

Acting justly requires us to be impartial and knowledgeable, and to act lawfully and to know how to use righteousness (compare James 2:1-8; Proverbs 11:9; Romans 7:7-12; Isaiah 26:9-10).

To love mercy includes, to love the ability to forgive. God forgives abundantly! We also must learn how to forgive; otherwise, we are in jeopardy of not receiving God’s continued mercy in our lives. Mercy is not always easy to show. But it is required. We have to come to realize that all of us are guilty before God and each other (compare Ephesians 2:4-5; Isaiah 55:7; Lamentations 3:22-23; Luke 6:36; James 2:13; Matthew 5:7).

Finally, to walk humbly with God means, to be seeking Him in everything we do. We are seeking to be in alignment with Him. Our thoughts, our actions, our very being need to be in harmony with Him. This takes an immense amount of humility because it shows God we are willing to lay aside our own ways, our own thoughts, and seek and accept what He will show us (compare Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 55:8-9; Philippians 2:3).

As with so much of God’s laws, each of these characteristics and actions layer on top of each other. They are all required. This means then that we are to be learning how to develop and use all of them in partnership. If we miss out on growing in any of the areas, the other areas will not work properly. We have to continue to grow in righteousness, mercy and humility so that we can become the type of people that God is looking for. Our journey into the Family of God will require these attributes (and more)—therefore, we cannot neglect them! 

How Can We Tell if We Have Been Deceived?

Every now and then, we come across people whose behavior leaves us speechless. There is so much madness happening all over the world that I sometimes ask myself: “Is this the character of the person or is he completely deceived by Satan?” Many people around the world seem to shut their eyes to the absurdity of what is happening around us and simply accept what is about to happen even if they could change it.

We as Christians know what is coming to the world at large, and to us as well, and that Satan is the deceiver of this world. Revelation 12:9 says: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

We have been teaching time and again that it is very dangerous to become lazy, overconfident, selfish, or even arrogant, and that a person will never find their way out of the mire of self-deception on their own. We also have been explaining repeatedly that a deceived person does not know that he is deceived.

However, we are obligated to make sure that we recognize Satan’s tactics of deception, and we know that we can counter them with the power of God. We must ensure that Satan’s deception does not take hold of our hearts and trick us into believing that the wrong way is righteous and good. 

Solomon warns us firmly against this in Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25: “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

So, what would be a good remedy to get to the bottom of Satan’s deception, even if we do not know whether we are deceived?

One of the best remedies is “Humility and the Fear of the LORD.”

In the fifth book of Psalms, we read in chapter 111 and verse 10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” Solomon had the same insight in Proverbs 1:7, where he wrote: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…”

It is through the power of God, through our humility and through the fear of the LORD that God will help us to obtain the possibility of understanding and open our eyes to whether there is something wrong in our hearts and whether something can or should be improved.

If we neither have nor desire this humility and the fear of the LORD in us, there is a terrible answer: “Because they hated knowledge And did not choose to fear the LORD, They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies” (Proverbs 1:29-31).

Another method to recognize possible deception is “Self-Examination.”

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

James also explains to us in James 1:22-25 that we must be on our guard against precisely this kind of self-deception:

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

We should always keep in mind that love is the supreme characteristic of God’s perfect law.

It is therefore crucial that we all examine ourselves again and again. Let’s try to have a genuine look in the mirror and take a close look at ourselves and ask ourselves: “Am I pleasing God and Jesus Christ with my lifestyle? Is everything really okay, or am I doing something wrong? Should I change something about myself?”

If we ask God for His help, we might easily come to a new realization. There is always something to do within and about us!

I truly wish all of us the strength and courage to take a good look at our mirror image and gain new insights.

Initial Translation from the German: Daniel Blasinger

The Cure for Weltschmerz

The German language has a reputation for requiring more letters and words than the English language for expressing an equivalent meaning. However, there are exceptions for which a single German word conveys a deep, poetic sentiment with great efficiency. “Weltschmerz” is one of those words, so eloquent that it appears in English language dictionaries without modification. This word is a contraction of two words in German, “Welt” and “Schmerz”, which translate to “World” and “Pain” in English, respectively. Taken in a literal sense, “World Pain” does not convey the complete meaning of the word. Weltschmerz describes a personal emotion of feeling weighed down by the demise of the world at large, causing malaise, sadness, depression, or apathy. It describes a sense of personal hopelessness, resulting from internalizing the downward spiral of the world.

Today, there is no shortage of events in the world to inspire a feeling of Weltschmerz. World leaders are a disgrace to their countries, governments, and the people they rule. The prevailing morality in societies around the world is baseless and self-indulgent with no concern for God. Violence and wars escalate more and more, bringing death and pain to those affected. Desperation pierces the lives of the innocent in so many ways – with sickness, job loss, poverty, and pain. When looking around us, it can be difficult to see what’s happening, knowing where it all leads, without feeling the gut-wrenching agony of the world’s demise.

The prophet Jeremiah may have felt the agony of Weltschmerz when he inquired of God why the wicked prosper (compare Jeremiah 12:1-4). In his time, he observed the wicked ways of the people and how they caused the environment around them to become desolate. Unquestionably grieved in seeing God neglected, we get a sense of Jeremiah’s lament for the state of the world. God’s response to Jeremiah’s inquiry explains the corruption He saw from His perspective: “‘Many rulers have destroyed My vineyard, They have trodden My portion underfoot; They have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate; Desolate, it mourns to Me; The whole land is made desolate, Because no one takes it to heart’” (Jeremiah 12:10-11). In this example, we see the cause of desolation. The people of Judah, to whom Jeremiah prophesied, took God and His blessings for granted. [Of course, Jeremiah also had the responsibility to prophesy to other nations (Jeremiah 1:5) and in prophetic terms, to the entire world in the last days]. They chose to disobey Him, as is also the case today. They took part in the way of destruction. In figurative language, God’s creation mourns this dismal state of affairs.

I’m afraid that our current state of the world is far worse than described by Jeremiah for his day and age. The vast majority in the world have departed from God, blatantly choosing to follow their own ways. The world glorifies sin. It corrupts the Truth. It puts trust in the faultiest of men to fix its problems. Only Jesus Christ will manage to correct the path this world is on when He establishes His righteous government (compare Isaiah 2:2-4; Isaiah 9:6-7).

Fortunately, the world has hope. The dire straits will become straight and smooth when Jesus Christ returns to save the world from mankind. And we, as true Christians, will have the opportunity to work underneath His perfect authority to make it happen. The world will breathe a sigh of relief. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:20-22). Just as the world has hope for relief from its grief, we too can find solace in knowing that the current corruption will cease, giving way to a wonderful restoration.

Condemning Hastily

We all find it way too easy to point the finger at another person and say, “Well, well, look what he or she is doing.”  But when we try to condemn another person, we thereby take away a privilege that belongs to God alone.

As human beings, we can only draw conclusions from what we see or hear.

We read in John 8:3-5: “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’”

Jesus Christ did not answer this question right away, as verse 6 shows us: “This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.”

We don’t know what He wrote, but there was little doubt as to her guilt; she had been caught sinning. However, they did not bring the guilty man before Christ either, which was required by the law. The whole incident was an attempt to accuse Christ because of His expected decision. But Jesus did not answer them.

Verse 7 tells us: “So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.’”  We then read in verse 8: “And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”

After a few minutes, Jesus looked up and saw no one else but the woman. Verses 10-11 continue: “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’”

Christ makes clear at this point that He did not come to condemn people, but to save them. We should follow His example. As human beings, we can only draw conclusions from what we see or hear. But Christ told us not to judge based on physical factors. John 7:24 quotes His words: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.’”

God tells us that before we can judge someone, we first have to be righteous ourselves. This is the message Christ gave to those who accused the adulteress.

Righteous judgment requires us to look deep into a person’s heart in order to recognize his or her innermost motives. Obtaining such insight is beyond the power of man—no matter how righteous we think we are.

Jesus said that it is easy for us to see exactly those faults in others of which we ourselves are most likely guilty.  We read in Matthew 7:3-5: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

When we are tempted to criticize a fellow human being, we are well advised to examine our own actions and see whether we might not be on the same path. Paul warns us in Romans 2:1-3: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Let’s try pointing a finger at someone and then have a look at our hand: there will be three fingers pointing at us.

James 4:11-12 admonishes us: “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”

We know that God had decided not to heal Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” People at the time of Paul may have judged him as weak in faith or as a sinful man. But today we know that it was for the glory of God (compare 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Anyone who condemned Paul was wrong.

Let us apply the same principle today. When we are tempted to condemn other people, let us remember that we have no idea what God has in mind for that person.

Many times, we don’t even know all the circumstances that are involved, causing a person to act in a certain way. And we have no idea of the tremendous battle someone might be fighting.

Christ must have seen something in the adulterous woman who was standing before Him, that the accusers could not or did not want to recognize. Although she was guilty, Jesus could see that she detested the deed she had committed. He could see that she was repentant, and He forgave her.

In Isaiah 11:3-4, we read about Christ after His return: “…And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth…”

Then we will rule and reign under Christ, and then we will be able to judge with perfect righteousness.

(Initial translation: Daniel Blasinger)

The Evil of Lies

I read an interesting quote recently: “One of the greatest challenges each society faces is deciding what constitutes ‘truth.’ Whoever holds that power wields enormous influence and steers the direction of that society for better or for worse. For centuries, ‘truth’ was delegated to the ruling institutions of the time, and hence truth was simply the narrative which conformed to their interests.” These ruling institutions of the various times could be the king, the government or the religious leaders of the day.

Of course, this “truth” was usually far removed from God’s truth and was more than likely inspired by Satan, who we know is a liar. And currently, he is the ruler of this world or the god of this age (refer John 14:30, John 16:11 and 2 Corinthians 4:4). So today, we live in a world with many lies.

Some of these lies may have small immediate consequences, but some are quite deadly. A couple of these lies with deadly consequences come to mind readily. The most recent are statements about the Covid vaccines, that they are safe and effective. This narrative was proclaimed from all official sources basically in unison around the world. As has been shown over the past few years, many thousands have died from these vaccines and many more have been seriously injured. As it also has been discovered, any effectiveness these vaccines had wears off very quickly and makes their recipients more likely to suffer from the current virus or even other illnesses. Those doctors who saved lives with early treatment for Covid were censured because they were going against the narrative (the official “truth”). Some lost their medical license and received fines for going against the government directive that certain early treatments were not allowed.

Another lie we heard in 2003, was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and they were developing nuclear weapons. This lie was spread so that the U.S. and some allies had a reason to go to war. When the U.S. military invaded Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction were found, neither was there any evidence that nuclear weapons were being developed. In fact, some intelligence agencies knew beforehand that this was a lie, but they were ignored. However, this lie resulted in the death of over two hundred and eighty thousand Iraqi citizens and thousands of US troops.

As it turned out, both of these lies resulted in vast profits for the medical and military industries, so they had a vested interest in pushing these lies. Certainly, this showed that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (refer to 1 Timothy 6:10).

In Proverbs 6:16-19, God lists things He hates. “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” In this list, it is significant that lying is mentioned twice to reinforce its importance.

While this sin of lying has been extant over the millennia, it has been greatly enabled by the increased use of technology in this modern age. The use of Artificial Intelligence will further aid the dissemination of lies in the future. It will be more difficult to discern between lies and the truth.

The only hope this world has is for Jesus Christ to return as the king of the earth. So, what will be the ultimate fate of liars? Revelation 21:8 informs us, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, idolater, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstones, which is the second death.”

Revelation 22:14-15 reinforces this: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”

We must be striving in our own lives to avoid lies, and constantly be praying earnestly, “Thy kingdom come,” when God’s truth alone will be lived by.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God