Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 20 Number 8 August 2018
Page 8

Extremes Beget Extremes

Raymond Elliott

Raymond ElliottI remember well these words spoken by a wise and knowledgeable teacher of mine when I was in college. Brother Rex A Turner, Sr. had many ‘sayings,’ but this is the one I want to emphasize presently. I have lived long enough (83 years) to know factually and by experience that this is true in our society today. He also said that a man needs a “Balance Wheel,” which we sorely need today. We are people of extremism. This is so evident today in the political world. Seemingly, there is no middle ground for some of our elected officials and in society in general. It is truly sad to witness the prejudice, bigotry and hatred manifested in our country. You can find such attitudes in people of different races and ethnic backgrounds. When you watch the news on television or read the newspapers, you can be assured the actions of such extreme attitudes of various individuals and groups are reported.

I am reminded of the opening sentence in the book, A Tale of Two Cities (1857), written by Charles Dickens.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

In short, the description of the society in which the author lived describes, in many ways, the present extreme attitudes and actions of our own time.

As Christians, we should follow the teachings of Jesus Christ who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:17-18, “Repay no one evil for evil, Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” In Hebrews 12:14, we read, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” We should not only be children of God who possess “the peace of God, which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), but we must be “peacemakers” in the church and in society. That, my friends, is a great challenge for all who are followers of the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The following should be the prayer of all Christians.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved, as to love. (Francis of Assisi)

I Stand Accused

Dean Kelly

I stand accused as a sinful man,
And everyone knows that it is true,
Not because that is my plan,
Yet it is what I ultimately do.

I stand accused as one who is weak,
I try to be strong, but I so often fail,
I falter from the right path that I seek,
I trip and fall too often along the trail.

I stand accused as a coward as well,
Not speaking out words I need to say,
When it is important the truth to tell,
To try to help another find the right way.

I stand condemned by the person that I’ve been,
A weak, sinful, and cowardly individual,
In my hands no hope can possibly be seen,
All I can present is a wounded, tattered soul.

But, I stand justified and made as white as snow,
My damaged soul has been restored as new,
Not by my own power, that each one must know,
But by the blood that can the weak renew.

I will stand before the judgment seat one day,
And my sinfulness will not show, or any longer count,
For One will stand in my behalf and He will say,
“He is clean, just charge his sins to My account!”

I stand accused as a sinful man,
And everyone knows that it is true,
But I can overcome through Jesus’ plan,
And that is what I must ultimately do.

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