On Being Salt

But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men. – Acts 24:14-16.

You are the salt of the earth…. – Matthew 5:13a.

One weakness we have as Christians which is also a strength is our trust of other people. In part this trust comes from our new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and from our own striving as did the apostle Paul to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”

While I was a parole officer my trust of my fellow human beings took a nose dive. I saw and heard a continuing stream of people who said one thing and did something else. I heard reasurances about the non-use of illegal substances. But when they were forced to verify through urinalysis this compliance too many times it simply confirmed their continuing use of those illegal substances.

One man (Leroy) that was under my supervision claimed to be disabled with a long list of physical ailments. His alledged disabilities provided an excuse for non-payment of supervision fees and restitution. He always arrived in a wheel chair and his parents had to drive him to my office. However, I received reports about his ability to drive himself and his performing physical labor. It was at about this point in time that I resigned to enter the ministry on a full-time basis.

A few years later Leroy kidnapped one of his relatives and eventually shot and killed her. To commit this crime he had to be able to drive the car, physically assualt and subdue her and place Inabell into his car trunk. Inabell was a very faithful member of the church I pastored then and now. Leroy is on death row continuing to claim his disability and trying to con any and everyone with whom he can communicate.

Our current world situation with Saddam Hussein reminds me of so many of my clients. We sincerely want to believe that Saddam is telling the truth about his no longer having weapons of mass destruction. It would indeed be wonderful if it were to be true. However, I think most of us know that Saddam is once again attempting to deceive the entire world.

While I was a parole officer I was in a position of responsibility charged with protecting others from the clients I supervised. As Christians we may have perhaps lingered too long in the love chapter (1 Corinthians 13)The apostle Paul not only wrote about love, truth and having a clear conscience but he also wrote about fulfilling our responsibilities. In fact Paul is very forceful in dealing with areas in which the Corinthians needed correction. Paul writes in regard to the one involved in sexual immorality, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:5).”

Let us extend love to all and strive to keep our conscience clear before God and man. But at the same time let us oppose to our last breath evil in whatever form it may be manifested. We are not only to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:16)” but we are also to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)” preserving and preventing the further deterioration of the societal fabric of this world.

(As Christians Jesus calls upon us to be a preserving influence to hold the line against the tide of evil.)

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