I knew I shouldn't have done it, and I almost hung up after a couple rings, but I hadn't talked to my friend in awhile, and after the way we parted company last time we talked; I wasn't sure what kind off mood he'd be in. Sure enough; I regretted it!
'Peace on earth?!', he said, rather scornfully: 'how can you say that, with so much unrest going on in the world, just because we, as Christians, have the peace of God in our hearts?' 'You say that's our purpose, as 'healing leaves', that we're supposed to let that peace shine through our lives, spreading it to all those around us: you're an idiot!' 'After the example that you've set, do you really expect us to follow your preaching when you can't even practice it?!' I almost said something then, but I decided to let him continue his tirade; I just rolled my eyes............. 'How are we supposed to let the peace of Christ reign in our lives when everybody else is so 'blasted'...................un-peaceable?!' I could tell that my friend was on one of his down-trodden rant, and I knew it might be well-nigh useless; but I chided him gently; 'Jeremiah, we can only do our part: it's up to others whether they let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts, they have a choice to make, but that doesn't take away our responsibility.' I almost instantly regretted saying it, because he reminded me of my own example, once again, calling me a hypocrite! 'Yes', I replied, 'and I'm not proud of that fact; I'm doing better ( I think ) in that area, doing what I know I should, even though people around me don't do what I think they should!' Now, I was starting to feel like Jeremiah, not that I needed any help in that area, because I was starting to think that maybe it WAS me, that maybe, like another friend told me, I DO think too much! Obviously; Jeremiah had been reading my articles again, and knowing me in person, saw that my own life didn't quite 'measure up'.
I had hopes; but Jeremiah wasn't done yet!
'I've been re-reading your articles on 'A Focus on the 'Physical', he said, 'and it seems to me that you're telling folks to overlook the physical aspects of life, almost gnostically, that the spiritual is what we need to be concerned with: it's almost like you think that we need to pray more, not do more!'
Ok: now I HAD to say something!
'My friend', I told him, almost sadly; 'I'm not saying that at all; just that 'A Focus on the Physical' aspects of life ( hardship, trials, tribulations ) has been a real deterrent to the church over the ages and that by focusing rather on the spiritual, as Jesus commanded in Matthew 6:33, on seeking His righteousness, on what He has done, rather than what we feel we have do, I believe that we are 'freed' to do our best, in His strength, for His Kingdom!'
'I got another call coming in', he said, 'and I see what you're saying, but you're still a hypocrite!'
'I love you anyway, Jeremiah'; as I hung up the phone, breathing a sigh of relief: that wasn't too bad!
It's hard to sing 'Joy to the World', sometimes, but through God's grace we CAN do it!