Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I was sadden to hear the news of how the eldest son of Bernie Madoff committed suicide to prove his innocence from his father’s crime. This is indeed the generation curse that the Bible warned us about. There is always a consequence for one’s moral decision. In a self-centered culture that we are in, people don’t care about how others (including family members) may suffer from their fleshy desire being satisfied. I pray that Mark Madoff’s death will serve as a wakeup call for all of us who lived in a self-centered, quick-fixed, success oriented, immoral and temptation filled world. A little yielding to the flesh will invite a big curse of evil consequence. Have mercy on us O Lord! We need your strength and guidance to keep us holy each day.
There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for the long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness. Even though the world thought we are a fool to pursue holiness, and we ourselves thought we were not able to deal with temptation around us, let’s don’t give up abiding in His holiness, like the author of Hebrews said, “Do you see what all this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in” (Hebrews 12:1-2a).
People submerged in a culture swarming with lies and malice feel like they are drowning in it; they can trust nothing they hear, depend on no one they meet. Such dissatisfaction with the world as it is, is preparation for traveling in the way of Christian discipleship. The dissatisfaction, coupled with a longing for peace and truth, can set us on a pilgrim path of wholeness in God.
A person has to be thoroughly disgusted with the way things are find the motivation to set out on the Christian way. As long as we think that the next election might eliminate crime and establish justice or another scientific breakthrough might save the environment or another pay raise might push us over the edge of anxiety into a life of tranquility, we are not likely to risk the arduous uncertainties of the life of faith. A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace.
When I was in trouble, I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Save me, Lord, from liars and deceivers. You liars, what will God do to you? How will he punish you? With a soldier's sharp arrows, with red-hot coals! Living among you is as bad as living in Meshech (in inner city of America?) or among the people of Kedar (of Corporate culture?). I have lived too long with people who hate peace! When I speak of peace, they are for war (Psalm 120). Psalm 120 is the song of such a person, sick with the lies and crippled with the hate, a person doubled up in pain over w going on in the world. But it is not a mere outcry, it is pain that penetrates through despair and stimulates a new beginning—a journey to God which becomes a life of peace.
We have nothing to boast about our own righteousness. We are chief of all sinners if it is not because of the mercy of Christ. It is God who came to rescue us from the consequence of our sinful nature. We struggle each day in walking on the righteous path of God. Our tongues are as evil and deceiving like anyone else. We lost control of our tongues and our flesh from time to time. If it was not the intervention of the Holy Spirit to empower us from within, in no way we can use our tongues and our body for His glory. His holiness is indeed what we desire and what we need each day. Amen?
With love in His holiness,