A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
It Pays To Be A Person Of Integrity
Two sisters spent the day fighting. That evening they prepared for bed, still mad at each other. As usual, each knelt by the side of her bed for their prayers. "Dear God," the 8-year-old began, "Bless Daddy and Mommy, bless our cat and dog." Then she stopped. Her mother gently prodded, "Didn't you forget somebody?" She glared across the bed at her 6-year-old sister and added, "And, oh yes, God, bless my ex-sister."
Anger, my brothers and sisters, is destructive. It can cause us to do some dumb things, poisons relationships, and often brings violence. Apparently, few people see their anger as a problem, and that is itself part of the problem. That is why Jesus advises us to manage our anger and we should treat other people as we would like to be treated.
A man confessed to his pastor that he stole a hammer from the steel mill where he worked. "Everybody was doing it," he said, "No big deal." His pastor, though, told him about a report in the newspapers that thefts at this particular mill averaged out to a thousand dollars a week. His hammer along with what others were taking was costing the company over $50,000 a year.
"To make up for that loss," his pastor noted, "the factory raises the price of steel. Consequently, everyone who buys a car, purchases an appliance, remodels his house, etc., has to pay the price for your hammer. You didn't hurt the company; you hurt everybody in this city." And that's true. We hurt the entire society when integrity is not maintained. It pays to be a person of integrity.
The teachings of Jesus strongly affirm the need to obey God's laws, but they are to be understood as a means to the end, a life of spiritual strength and commitment. Some often reduce Christianity to a long list of "do nots" forgetting that the essence of Christianity is the 'spirit' behind them. So Jesus demands that we go beyond what is the norm, motivated by love.
We can be true to our calling as Christians, if in addition to our love for God and neighbor, we also attempt to keep the spirit of the law we practice intact.