We live in a world fraught with all kinds of dangers. The last few years have taught us that our governments seem to believe in the philosophy of shooting first and asking questions afterwards. Many, if not most non-Christian religious philosophies seem to think similarly.
For some reason, today, I'm reminded that much of what calls itself Christian, even though claiming to do otherwise, does the same.
I'm reminded of a very dear friend, very gifted in pastoral ministry, a skilled communicator, and most of all, a God fearing, Christ exalting, preacher of God's word. He was filled with the joy of life in Christ, bubbling over in love for the brethren, and extremely sensitive to the needs of others. As his reputation became more widely recognised he had invitations to speak widely, and to lead churches; so much so that he confided in me that he worried that people were looking more at him and his gifting and skills than to the Master he loved and worshipped.
A malicious lie was told. The lie grew into a rumour that this man had fallen morally. He was terribly wounded.
He had a lovely wife, whom he adored, and who knew the rumour was a lie, as well as children whom he regarded as precious gifts from God.
As the rumour spread he sought the support and help of his denominational peers. There was a great rush, and when the dust settled, he realised that the dust was raised by those he thought were brethren, friends and colleagues, running away from him as fast as possible. no one bothered to ask him whether there was any truth in the rumour.
He was alone with his wife and family. Soon he saw the impact the rumours were having on these dear ones, and on the congregation in his care. This weighed so heavily on him, he was unable to carry the burden, and took his own life.
Why am I telling this terrible story? Here was a brother in Christ, deeply wounded, and instead of showing the world that they took our Lord's words, in John 13:35, to heart, those who claimed to be brethren showed they knew nothing of the many great "one anothers" in Scripture. In this instance, his brethren made his wounds mortal.
How easily we can all fall into that evil trap!
Even if they believed that there was truth in the rumour, they had obviously not understood Paul's words in Galatians 6:1-2!
I remember reading about a Roman whose name was Cyrus. As he observed those early Christians, he commented, "I will never understand these people of the Way; they love one another before they meet!"
I wonder what Cyrus would say as he observed the Christians of today? Possibly, "I will never understand these Christians; they shoot their wounded!"
The old adage is right, "When you point your finger at someone, remember, there are three fingers pointing back at you"!