The love of Christ should always compel the true Christian to serve, to nurture, and otherwise to give of themselves for the sake of others. John Wesley once wrote, “The Gospel of CHRIST knows of no Religion, but Social; no Holiness but Social Holiness. Faith, working by Love, is the length and breadth and depth and height of Christian Perfection.”
There is hardly a person who would argue the benefits to mankind when we feed, clothe, or give water to our neighbor; but what can be done to make a long term, or even an eternal difference in the life of others? This is the ultimate task of the Christian: to serve, to nurture, to encourage, and to evangelize so that each individual can find their true purpose and value, as well as eternal life. This is God’s will, that we no longer live in darkness, but in light.
In the book of Numbers, there is a story about King Balak of Moab who was afraid of the Israelites and their God. He was certain that their religion meant hatred of anyone who was not like them; and why not? After all, the Israelites had a history of completely destroying societies that they came up against.
The Israelite ideologies seemed hateful, racist, and absolutely intolerant of others. And so,Balak hired what might be considered a “mercenary prophet”—Balaam. Balaam was hired to convince this Hebrew God to turn on His own people and curse them.
God would not allow Balaam to curse His people, in fact, in his second oracle Balaam says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19 NIV). The point that God made through Balaam was that God is not like other manmade gods, religions, or philosophies—He is real, and not fabricated.
He is not created by the creation, and as such, it is ridiculous for creation to think that it can possibly tell God what He should be like or what is in the best interest of the creation. And since He is a loving God, He detests the lies that bring death, suffering, hunger, poverty, and hopelessness into the world.
God never hated the Moabites, or the Amalakites, or any other race; God hates the mentalities that destroy the true identity of mankind. When we use make-believe things to try and take care of real problems, we end up with a world full of confusion and emptiness.
God does not want any person to perish, to hunger, to be scared, or to feel loneliness; but God cannot pretend that one belief system is equal to another just because we want it to be. “God is not a man that He should lie.” God deals only in reality, and reality is intolerant of fantasy. For that reason, God’s love demands that He is direct and firm in His judgement against false idols.
For the Christian, this means that we are not to hate any person; we are, however, to recognize that false beliefs, regardless of their intention, can only continue to exacerbate the sufferings of this world. Like God, we are to be patient, loving, compassionate, and willing to invest everything we are into our neighbor so that they may become enlightened to this reality.
Our desire should be that they would embrace the life God desires for them. But it cannot be done by brow beating, hateful internet posts, propagation of lies, lazy evangelism, or bullying. It also cannot be done by pretending that there are many paths to eternal life, or that hell is not real, or that sin is not sin, or that reality should bow down to our fantasies.
Suffering is real in this world and we must confront it with a love that is real as well.
Wesley, John (2014-11-18). Hymns and sacred poems: Published by John Wesley, … and Charles
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