Saturday, February 04, 2006

Shout to the World

Elie Wiesel writes:

“One of the Just Men came to Sodom, determined to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment. Night and day he walked the streets and markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference. In the beginning, people listened and smiled ironically. Then they stopped listening: he no longer amused them. The killers went on killing, the wise men kept silent, as if there were no Just Man in their midst.

One day, a child, moved by the compassion for the unfortunate teacher, approached him with these words: ‘Poor stranger, you shout, you scream, don’t you see that it is hopeless?

’‘Yes, I see,’ answered the Just Man.‘Then why do you go on?’‘I’ll tell you why. In the beginning, I thought I could change man. Today, I know I cannot. If I still shout today, if I still scream, it is to prevent man from ultimately changing me.’”

This short story from Wiesel has a powerful message for all of us as we struggle to live a Christian life or a life pleasing to God in the world. The world has a powerful and seduction influence on us. It knows the right buttons to push. Get this mobile phone and it will make you sophiscated, techosavy and well connected. Drive this brand of car and the world will recognise you as a successful man. Don’t leave home without this credit card because you are a well travelled jet setter. It takes a lot of our effort and wisdom to resist the temptations of this world. Satan tempted our Lord Jesus with the satisfaction of fleshy desires (bread from stones), security from harm (angel’s protection) and power and wealth (all the kingdoms on earth). And Satan is still tempting Jesus’ disciples in these areas. Jesus taught us that we, His disciples is not of this world and is destined for another world.

Many of us, when we first became Christians were full of fire, shouting and screaming tried to make the people understand the danger they are in. We are like people standing at the edge of the cliff and shouting to other people: “Don’t walk there. It’s a cliff. You will fall over to your doom. Turn back.” And to our astonishment and dismay, we discovered that nobody is listening to us. Nobody pays attention to our message. Nobody believes us. And they keep on walking and falling off the cliff. And soon, we too stop shouting and screaming. Maybe we whisper a bit here and there. And as soon as we stop fighting the world, we become like the world. We are like a person swimming against the current. The moment we stop swimming, we will be swept back by the current.

I wonder how many of us have stopped swimming against the current and are even now swimming with the current. It would be so easy to stop shouting and be with the crowd. Just relax a bit here and there. A little white lie, a little stealing and cheating here and there. Nobody will know. We become insensitive to the needs of others. We eat, drink and being merry to excess. The Christian life is a life of constant struggle. We struggle against our flesh, the world and Satan. We know that we cannot change man: only God can do that. However, we must always be on guard that the world does not change us. That will happen when we let down our guard and stop struggling against the world. So brothers and sisters, let us continually encourage one another in our struggle. We cannot go it alone. A piece of coal that fall out of the fire cools down very fast. Do not let the world change us.

Soli Deo Gloria



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