Stand up and be counted (1).
April 15th, 2002
Received by H.
Hello, my dear brother.
Lately, your condition has not been so good, but you are right that I tried to impress you with a message a couple of days ago, regarding an e-mail message you received from a list of supposed Jewish-Christians.
It is not necessary, as you believe, to compose at this time a ten-page message reproducing the exchange of opinions on that list. No, I will express what I have to say in a few words.
First, a letter came exhorting the members of the list to pray that the mission of Colin Powell in the Middle East might fail, because it was the legitimate right of the Jews to put an end to Arab terrorists.
That left you breathless. How is somebody who calls himself a Christian able to say such a thing? You were thinking of formulating a quick answer when another message came in expressing exactly what you were thinking: Does the New Testament not speak of loving neighbors, and even more, loving our enemies, of blessed be the pacifiers, etc., etc.?
Finally, another email letter arrived telling of the marvels that the Jews achieve in their country, making the desert flourish, etc., while the Arabs live in misery and dirt because of their own inabilities, only committing acts of terrorism because of their envy of the hard-working Israelis. Soon after, another answer arrived, admonishing the author of the previous letter to take care, because if Jesus were alive on earth today, he would substitute the word “Arab” for “Samaritan.” You liked this, and you did not write at all.
Now, one part of the Padgett messages, which always bothered you, is where they speak of the punishment that the preachers will receive who preach falsehood, although they may be completely convinced of what they are preaching.
Moreover, I have told you once that if somebody preaches about the trinity or on Jesus’ virgin birth, that this has no importance, that this is of no consequence, because these are innocuous beliefs. But now pay close attention: When it is about instigating violence, whatever be the reason, we no longer speak of innocuous doctrines. You are right, how is somebody able, who calls himself a Christian, to pray for a continuation of that slaughter?
Listen to me carefully: When people read the New Testament and take it seriously, they can never agree with violence. The whole New Testament is a text that gives testimony of a peaceful Jesus, filled with love. It gives testimony that it is preferable to accept peace under any condition than to continue that killing.
People’s darkness has a very dangerous component. People who live in darkness do not even realize this. They say that God has given the Jews the Promised Land. Therefore, they are entitled to expel the Arabs. Yes, the Old Testament has also been used for justifying slavery and apartheid, etc. Every kind of atrocity has been performed in the name of God, mutilating the great message of love that He has given us through His Messiah.
Yes, my dear friend, there are preachers who do not teach innocuous doctrines, and there are so many who follow them, perpetuating wars and cruelties, all in the name of God. There are people who instigate violence. There are those who say that man cannot communicate directly with God but only through mediators. There are those who present themselves as the owners of all truth, the only ones who are able to translate to their followers the Creator’s complicated Will, and those who do not listen to them will perish and be expelled to the hells. There are those who pursue their personal ends behind the mask of holiness. There are so many who seduce others and take advantage of them.
A message devoid of love is a message that does not come from God. A call devoid of love is a call that does not have its origin in God.
It is then, when you find messages of a nature such as I have just described that you have to open your mouth, because your opinion also contributes to the formation of the opinion of others. Don’t you remember what Jesus said?
“Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lamp-stand and it gives light for everybody in the house. Let your light shine like that in the sight of man. Let them see the good things you do and praise your Father in Heaven.”
It is then when you have to state your position so that your silence may not be interpreted as your consent. Evil is always calling out loudly, and the voices in opposition to it are few and weak. Jesus did not like to criticize, but when it was necessary, he did so:
“Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor lets the cattle eat.”
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
“Alas for you experts in the Law, for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You have never gone in yourselves and you have hindered everyone else who was at the door!” (Luke 11:52)
It is true; they neither eat nor let the cattle eat.
And you, where is your voice? If you have something to say, say it now and frankly. If you dislike something, say so now. Well, what will your contribution be for a better world? Your silence? Evil nurtures itself from the silence of the fearful ones, but your voice will be one more voice that will be heard.
My dear brother, I am not here to criticize you. Don’t take my words as some kind of criticism, take them as advice. However, at times I feel that you need a strong push to get you moving … and you are not the only one …
Tomorrow, if you allow me to do so, I would like to add a little bit to this message.
God bless you,
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013