Why Do I Do This?


Why do I do this? "The Bible is like a telescope. If you look through it you can see worlds beyond, but if you look at it, you see only the telescope."-- Anon. I am learning to look through it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don't Let Hatred Overtake Love

To have a mind of Jesus is to see the needs of the people and meet them, but not to ponder on their weaknesses and looking for ways to correct them.
Last week in Pune a six-year-old girl over run by a car bled to death on the busy street of the city. She lay there for two hours bleeding while the mob gathered at the accident site was engaged in assaulting the driver. Nobody cared about taking the girl to the hospital because they were busy punishing the "sinner" driver. By the time the girls parents arrived at the scene, she was lying there dead in a pool of blood.
The mob typifies the behavior of the contemporary world. Love and compassion are over taken by hatred and a false sense of justice. The crowd is more interested meting out justice by punishing the offender while the great need for that helpless girl was not justice but compassion. She needed a Good Samaritan who will rush her to the hospital and save her life. The crowd was keen on taking one more life than saving another. The careless driver has to be arrested and handed over to the police; probably he should not be allowed to drive again if he cannot drive safely. However, that should not be at the cost of a young life.
We raise our voice against unjust economic and social systems and are doing all that we can to change them. However, while we wait for the systems to improve there are thousands of lives that will continue to live in those conditions. What they need is practical involvement, something to be done to change their life before they die their untimely death.
Jesus' focus was on the need of the people and not on eliminating the sinner. He came to eliminate sin and not the sinners. When the woman caught in adultery was brought before him, he let her go. The Jews wanted to kill her. They eliminate sin by eliminating the sinner. Jesus eliminates the sinner by eliminating sin. That's the difference! The Jews and the disciples ignored the needs of the people. However, Jesus would feed them when they were hungry, heal them when they were sick, calm the storm for them.... He was never overtaken by hatred but he was steeped in love.
To have a mind of Jesus is to see the needs of the people and meet them, but not to ponder on their weaknesses and looking for ways to correct them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Do not Fret, but Focus on God

Trusting in God, and delighting in God's work we overcome the possible fretting over the enemy. We need to commit our ways to god and just be still; leave it to God to do the rest. In sum, turn our attention from the enemy to God! Do not fret but focus on God!
There are hundreds of reasons that make us fret. People whom we are dependent for our own performance and effectiveness fail us causing frustration and discouragement. There are people who are keen on frustrating us every turn of the road. These are people who are carriers of disappointments, anxiety, worries, discouragement, etc. They themselves may not be anxious, worried or discouraged. They carry it to others or cause others to be tormented. They are like mosquitoes that carry parasites that cause Malaria, but the mosquitoes themselves do not catch Malaria! A child of God may waste a lot of time unnecessarily fretting over things that these people do.
The advise of the psalmist is not to fret! "Do not fret because of the evil men or be envious of those who do wrong" (Psa 37:1). The simple reason is that they are not there for ever. "For like grass they will soon wither. Like green plants they will soon die away" (Ps 37:2). No one can cause a child of God worry permanently. All that they can cause are temporary distractions. So we should not get distracted!
So what are the children of God do instead of fretting? They are advised not to even glance at the enemy but to turn their attention to God. Put in another way, instead of fretting over what the enemy does or can do, focus on God. There are certain verbs that occur in this advice: "trust" (37:3); "delight" (37:4); "commit" (37:5); "Be still" (37:7), all in relation with God. Trusting in God, and delighting in God's work we overcome the possible fretting over the enemy. We need to commit our ways to god and just be still; leave it to God to do the rest. In sum, turn our attention from the enemy to God! Do not fret but focus on God!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Singing among the lions

Can anyone sing when surrounded by hungry lions? We may have situations like this when we are surrounded by enemies and there is no time to sing or to think of singing. However, the psalmists will sing in such situations.

In Psalm 57:7-8, the psalmist says,
"My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn."
Here we see the psalmist excited to sing for the Lord. He resolves that he will make music for God. Then he goes on to invite his own soul to get up from the slumber it has fallen into so that a new song can issue forth from his inner being. His instruments that have been put aside for a while is also exhorted to wake up from their sleep and join him in the singing. Most amazing is the resolve to awaken the dawn! Usually dawn comes in its own time. People and animals awake at the dawn. It is the dawn that awakens world not the other way round. However, the psalmist who would like to sing a song for God cannot wait for the dawn to come in its own time. He would rather like to ask the dawn to come a bit earlier than usual so that he can start singing for the Lord. He just can't wait!
The psalmist's enthusiasm to sing for God is unparalleled; it is rather unexpected. The situation that he has described in the previous verses is not one that helps one to sing. In verse 4 he describes the severity of the situation that he faces as, "I am in the midst of lions, I lie among ravenous beasts-men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp arrows." It is not an easy situation and not one to sing to the accompaniment of stringed instruments like harp and lyre. The reality of the situation that he goes through has nothing really to contribute to such joyful singing. It calls for lamenting.
However, though the situation is worrying and one that burdens his heart, there is another aspect of his life that makes him sing. It is his faith in God who will rescue him from the all the troubles that he goes through.  It is the faith in a God who "sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness" (v. 3). It is the faith in God who rescues us from all malice and wicked plans of the enemy that makes a song reside in our lips. The psalmist's focus is on God who rescues him and not on the enemy's who vainly try to destroy him.