At church this morning, the Pastor Emeritus conducted the service, since the Pastor and his wife are away on vacation.
During and after the service, I thought about something. I have felt
oppressed by the Bible, but I have also been pushed by its teachings to
try to become a better person. The Pastor Emeritus was talking about
his seminary days and how he helped a struggling student pass a Church
History course. I thought about the times when I helped other students,
and how that was motivated by my Christian faith—-I was hoping to
please God and others by helping people. The Pastor Emeritus later in
the service referred to Jesus’ statement that God won’t forgive us if we
don’t forgive others, and I thought about how that passage has long
Would I have helped others had I not had a Christian faith, some
sense that I was commanded to help others? I don’t know. My Christian
faith is what got me a bit more out of my shell. The Pastor Emeritus,
however, said that he himself was motivated to help that one student
because, back when the Pastor Emeritus was in high school and was
struggling to pass Geometry, somebody helped him pass. The Pastor
Emeritus was “paying it forward,” so to speak. Still, the Pastor
Emeritus mentioned a time when he was a kid and his family was helping
another family, and the Pastor Emeritus wondered why. The response he
got was that the Scriptures commanded it!
I think that remembering that we ourselves are or can become
vulnerable is something that can encourage us to help others. As much
as I can’t stand Jesus’ statement that God won’t forgive us if we don’t
forgive others, I think that it is useful in that it can make me put
myself in the position of one who needs to be forgiven, and then I will
be willing to extend forgiveness to others who need to be forgiven.
What trips me up is that I wonder if I should then have contact with
those I have forgiven, and, if I don’t, does that indicate that I
haven’t truly forgiven them? What exactly does God want? He should
have defined his terms!
Anyway, these are commonplace thoughts on my blog. I may be
struggling with this stuff until the end of my natural life! That’s not
too bad, since I can find myself learning along the way.