“The brothers praised a monk before Abba Anthony. When the monk came to see him, Anthony wanted to know how he would bear insults; and seeing that he could not bear them at all, he said to him, ‘You are like a village magnificently decorated on the outside, but destroyed from within by robbers.”
— sayings of the desert
The true test of any person comes when we face criticism. These are harsh words that cut to the bone. Such words can be true or false, just or unjust but they always hurt. In the times of praise it is very easy to be gracious and loving . When the tables are turned, we learn the ultimate meaning of turning the other cheek. The challenge is to be a person who has the inner trust in God that allows us to be a 24/7 Christian. None of us are there yet, but the journey continues.
Prayer Thought – Lord help me to be a Christian from the inside out.
We spend an inordinate amount of time bemoaning the evils of our day. Each day brings a new political and social organization whose primary focus is to turn our country toward “Christianity.” There is a sense that the world has never been worse than is right now.
Nearly 60 years ago C. S. Lewis said:
“The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish.”
The problem then and now is not that the society is a failure, but that individuals fail to see the role of innocence in their lives. Innocence means believing and doing the “red letter” words of the Bible, and accepting that they are the words of Jesus.
Then we can believe:
- Innocence is turning the other cheek even when we have the advantage.
- Innocence is trusting in people that are not saints.
- Innocence is giving a second chance, and the second, second chance.
- Innocence is going one more mile for someone who doesn’t deserve it.
- Innocence is believing that God will win in the end, and we don’t have to make it happen.
When we can embody these principles and more, we become world changers. Our lives and our influence become a great factor in the lives of others. Therefore, by our practice many others are led to a knowledge of the love of God and the reality of Jesus as Savior of the world.