A True Friend

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” –Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV)

How often do we see friends who are on the path to destruction, but never speak a word to them about it? We fear that if we confront them about the way their life is going, they will hate us and we would have lost years worth of friendship. That’s why we are sometimes so hesitant to positively intervene in a friend’s situation when we know that there is a potential for hurt on both sides. Fearing that we would rock the boat too much, we keep quiet and watch from the sidelines thinking it would be the best course of action.

But is that true friendship? Inaction, as an option when deciding what to do about a friend’s situation, is just as bad as actively seeking his downfall. If we are not preventing our friends from clearly destroying themselves, we are helping them in their downward spiral through our silence. It is at times like these when we who model after Christ need to speak truth and life into those who are struggling. Jesus did the same. He did not sit idly enthroned in heaven as His creation was slowly decaying. He intervened and came into the world to speak the truth about the state of humanity. Jesus never skirted around the issue that the reason why humanity is so warped is because of their sinful nature. Naturally this did not go over well with many who saw themselves as being decent human beings. But Jesus saw the truth and He saw that they were hurting even if they were not willing to admit it. He had to identify and address their problem to them so that He may provide a solution. This came in the form of His sacrifice in order to free us from our sinful state and be reconciled to God; thus giving us new life and renewed hope. Likewise we must quickly identify and address the root cause of our friend’s destructive habits and tell them that such habits are wrong. But at the same time we must not heap condemnation just as Jesus did not; instead offering solutions as He will and letting them know that He has never left their side and never will. We must also let them know that Jesus will guide them on the right path if they allow Him. Just as how Christ suffered with us and continues to do so, we too, if we call ourselves His children, must suffer with our friends and not forsake them with our silence. They may not necessarily like our efforts at first. But by continuing to show the love of Christ while speaking His truth, they will grow to see Him and in process see their lives completely transformed.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

True or False?

“‘What is truth?’” Pilate asked.” –John 18:38 (NIV)

It has been humanity’s constant question. In a world full of deceptions and intrigues people have often wondered, just what exactly is truth? Interestingly enough, we know what constitutes as truth more than we give ourselves credit for. We know that the world we live in is not perfect and that we were not meant to live under such imperfect conditions; refusing to accept that evil and oppression were truths that were intended from the start to govern the world. Every human society in history has had a hatred for injustice and tyranny, a loathing for corruption and vice, a high regard for honesty and integrity, and a love for freedom and love itself. Instinctively we know what constitutes as right and what is deemed as wrong. That is why most belief systems and philosophies share a similar view on what consists as righteousness and what is considered sin.

However, because our fallen nature has corrupted and blinded us, we don’t know who to attribute these truths to; attributing them instead to man-made belief systems and philosophies. The subsequent problem is that any human invention in these fields either warps the truth or preserves the truth but offers no adequate way to grasp it. So how are we able to understand and take hold of the truth? Jesus Himself stated “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. He is the personification of the truth that we all know deep inside our souls. Yet He proves that humanity can never fully realize or grasp the complete truth unless we allow Him to remove the wool of sin that has been pulled over our eyes. Only when we have done that and by doing so allow Him to work in our hearts, can we understand the truth; what the world and humanity was intended to be and how to return back to our intended nature and purpose in life. Truth is absolute. Although some answers -according to C.S Lewis- are “much nearer being right than others”, absolute truth, just as in mathematics, can only have “…one right answer to the sum”.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Resorted Paintings

“You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” — Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

There is something beautiful about the human race. For all our faults and the constant mistakes we make, nothing can compare to the beauty of humanity. We have been created with such physical and mental complexity in mind that it is truly magnificent. What is even more amazing is that humans, regardless of anthropological or cultural differences share in these complexities. All humans share in the love of being creative and innovative, need rest for their bodies when tired, feel joy and laugh, feel hurt and weep, and desire to love and be loved.

The reason why humans are so beautiful is that every single person has been created in the image of God. Although the fall of man into sin has tainted the image of God, it still exists and still shines through occasionally in the form of human love, compassion, and justice. We can easily be compared to paintings in this regard. A valuable painting is valuable by what it is and not necessarily by it’s present condition. An art lover specialized in restoration techniques would not simply deem a prized painting worthless if it has in some way become flawed. He would do his best to restore it to its original beauty and would not give up knowing that underneath its flaws is a marvelous painting waiting to be restored so that its entire and complete beauty may shine through. Likewise, God is in the business of restoration. We as flawed paintings cannot restore ourselves. Blemishes in a painting don’t just go away by themselves. But only a specialist can restore paintings to the original glory. Thus we must always show respect to our fellow human beings knowing that we all bear the image of God and are waiting to be restored by our Redeemer.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.