We have covered the first lesson that Christians ought to know in life, in the previous blog post, we understand that Christians ought to learn to fear God first and foremost.
Let us continue with the second lesson.
Lesson 2: To Learn Righteousness
Prophet Isaiah once said
“With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;
For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Let grace be shown to the wicked,
Yet he will not learn righteousness;
In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,
And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” – Isaiah (Is 26:9-10)
God executes judgment so that people will see and learn righteousness. In fact God is watching over all that we do. So we must all be mindful that God is watching. God is not watching us like a cosmic policeman ready to give you a citation whenever you make a mistake. But he watches like a father to ensure that his children does not sin and loses their salvation.
We all have experience being a child. Sometimes children takes pleasure in disobeying their parents. They start by disobeying subtlety, intently observing the reaction of the parents. They begin by being disobedient in small things, eventually their disobedience will grow greater.
Sin works in the same way, we will not want others to know when we sin in the beginning. That is because we feel ashamed by it, therefore we take our time and sin quietly at the background. But once we notice that there are no retribution, our actions get bolder and bolder
The Case For Delayed Judgment
Sometimes we feel that God choose not to take action because he loves us. But we only understand the pain and fear when God judges us later on for the sin.
In fact, our God is not one that will repay evil for evil immediately . God often show patient to sinners and treat evil with good. Sadly, modern man did not see it as a chance given by God for man to repent. Worst still when there are some who view this mercy and grace as God being afraid of them. As the result they continue to sin and they lose that chance for repentance
It is ironic that when God decided to execute his judgement, man then accused God of cruelty. We often fail to consider if the punishment a result of Gods cruelty or mans disobedience
That is why Christians ought to know the righteousness of God as well as his love. for man For God will judge us according to his righteousness eventually .
How do we learn the righteousness God? This is a very broad topic and could lead to many blog posts. So let us look at some of the points raise by Jesus to scale down the discussion.
Lesson No 1 : To Let Your ‘Yes’ Be ‘Yes’ and Your ‘No’, ‘No’
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’
For whatever is more than these is from the
evil one.” – Jesus (Matt 5:37)
Jesus wanted his disciples to be righteous, and he wanted righteousness to begin at their speech. A righteous man is one who could discern between right and wrong. It is true that many of us can discern between right and wrong, it is just that we refrain from judging often.
Judging here is not about being mean and rude to the offender. It does not require us to hurt or bring bodily harm to anyone. It requires us to be open to about the fact that the action committed is sin. Our purpose is not to condemn people to hell but to turn them from their wrong.
Courage is needed to judge for no one likes to be called a sinner. Indeed no man would want to hear messages that point out their sin and wrong doing. People who had the courage to judge are often faced with threats and accusation of things that they did not do.
It is these thoughts of repercussion which tend to silence us. It make us ask ourselves “Why should I be bothered to speak out against this ? The person sinning is not my child or my brother, I should look out for my own interest instead.”
As the result we hide behind the banner of “Not being judgmental” , “Not showing partiality” and “being a man of peace”. So we choose not to bring up the matter of sin and we push that responsibility to God. We believe that by not being judgemental we bring harmony to the house of God.
That may be good in the eyes of men, But have we understood what it really meant to be a peacemaker?
What is a True Peacemaker?
Being a peacemaker is not about being a “Goody two shoes” before man. Peace can only be found within the church when the church is able to discern between right and wrong, sin and righteousness. The work of a peace maker is to lead people so that they can be reconciled with God.
It is necessary for him to point out the areas in which one needs to repent. A peacemakers must do this not in a self righteous “holier than thou” attitude but in a humble, sincere way. His purpose is to lead the person back to God and his job is to point out where sin is lurking so that one could repent before God.
True peace arrives when God forgives the sins of the sinner.
A peacemaker is not one who sweep sins under the carpet. Even if the sin is hidden from the eyes, the stench can never be hidden. Others will smell the stench and look under the carpet.
A peacemaker is one who teaches right and wrong and leads people to repent and be renewed in their lives. He is one who discern good and evil. That will mean that he cannot remain a “Mr Nice Guy” forever.
There is a popular quote that we often hear
“All that is necessary for evil to triumph
is for good men to do nothing” – Lee Tolstoy / Edmund Burke
It will be hard for one to learn righteousness if everyone choose to remain silent about sins.
To Speak Responsibly Without Idle Words
Even though it is a Christian duty to be open about sin and to preach righteousness. Jesus also gave us a word of caution
“But I say to you that for every idle word
men may speak, they will give account
of it in the day of judgment. For by your
words you will be justified, and by your
words you will be condemned.”- Jesus (Matt 12:36-37)
There are times we speak idle words without thinking of its consequences. We think that our words will disappear once it leaves our mouth. But we need to account for everything we speak. God place emphasis on it as words can either make or break a person.
Let us remember the time when the Israelites left Egypt, during that time not all who followed are the people of God.
“A mixed multitude went up with them also,
and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock” – Moses (Ex 12:38)
Among them are people who knows nothing of the promises of God. They did not seem to care for they only wanted to fulfil their lust and to gain benefits. As Israel journeyed in the wilderness they started many troubles among the people, they crave for meat and were sick of manna, they incited the people of God and influenced them to follow their craving, they speak idle words and in the end they were faced with the judgment of God.
Let us learn righteousness and the words of God, let us learn righteousness from the words of God. Let us be able to discern between right and wrong and to lead a simple life before God.
Lesson No 2 : To Be Fair and Not Show Partiality
Paul reminded masters to be fair to workers
“Masters, give your bondservants what is
just and fair, knowing that you also have
a Master in heaven.” – Paul (Col 4:1)
In those days, only the rich have servants. But today many families have domestic maids who help in the house . Sometimes we tend to neglect these people, we are good to everyone else accept our maids and workers who work for us. We think that it is alright since we are paying them for the work. We felt that it is only fair.
We fail to consider that they are also human beings, they are created by God just like you an I. They too have one master which is God. Sometimes we forget and we ill treat our subordinates and workers. As the result, we bring shame onto the name of God.
Elder James once rebuked the church leaders for showing partiality to the rich man and mistreating the poorer members in the church by telling them to sit at their feet. He claim that such partiality is evil before God and is sin.
But the question is, do we still regard this as sin?
Many Christians will declare that partiality is a bad thing, but they will not dare to call it a sin. But is that what the bible teaches?
“but if you show partiality, you commit sin,
and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” – James (Jas 2:9)
The Truth About Partiality Within Men
Therefore let us learn to treat others fairly, and to show no partiality. For that is important in the eyes of God.Just as Moses who once instructed the judges of Israel
“Then I commanded your judges at that time,
saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren,
and judge righteously between a man and his
brother or the stranger who is with him.
You shall not show partiality in judgment; you
shall hear the small as well as the great; you
shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for
the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard
for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’” –Moses (Deut 1:16-17)
As human beings, we tend to refrain from rebuking a the rich and powerful. But when we see the poor committing the same wrong, we tend to openly persecute him. What is worst is that we claim to be judging base on righteousness.
Perhaps we can fool the eyes of man, but there will be some who will think otherwise.
We may not be guilty for great misdeeds, but sometimes we show favouritism in the little things that we do.
For example some parents show favouritism to the child that could perform well in school. We allow them to go scot free when they make a mistake, but we reprimand the other children when they commit the same mistake.
We are often guilty of making judgment base on appearance. Let take a look at one more example
When we find two children in the fight, and one of them crying, we will assume that the child who is crying is the victim and the one that is not crying is the aggressor. But we need to be fair and realize that the one that is crying may not necessary be the victim.
We have discussed two aspect of learning righteousness. We have discussed 2 aspect of learning righteousness
1. Let our yes be yes and our no , no
a. To be a peacemaker between man and God requires us to discern good from evil.
b. We have to speak responsibly and not with idle words
2. We have to learn not to show partiality
a. To be fair to everyone
b. Not to allow appearance to determine our judgment
Let us learn to practice them in our daily lives