sexta-feira, 12 de junho de 2015

THE PEOPLE OF TRUTH


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,
against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world
and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms..

Ephesians 6:12 (read 6.10-20) NIV

The author of the Letter to the Ephesians is very lucid in his analysis of his time. Little has changed! It’s still true. It looks like it was written this morning. The evils of that time were spiritual and demanded answers on the same level. In this text we have a list of items to be used against the anti-life forces. In this list we can identify the malicious elements:

LIFE
ANTI-LIFE
truth
falsehood
justice
injustice
peace
violence
faith
distrust
salvation
destruction
word
chaos

What is evil? The essence of evil is falsehood, which begins with self-deception. It is the absolute refusal to recognize one’s own evil. Instead of correcting the evil that is in ourselves we project it onto others and attack them. We take the law into our own hands and commit injustice. One of the features of evil people is that their use of power is to control others. This can be done psychologically, economically or physically by the use of violence. Evil is present in both the religious and the secular worlds. Any controlling force is a manifestation of evil independent of its motives. Power in itself is evil.

In looking at the world today we can see that falsehood dominates all areas: private and public life at both local and international levels in politics, trade, industry and communications. Humanity has six millennia of recorded history, full of violence of all kinds. To date the use of force has never established a social order of justice. Evil has never been eliminated by force. Force that is used against evil becomes evil.

The ends do not justify the means. We end up getting caught in the incoherency of “we kill people who kill people, because killing people is wrong”. By the use of force we become oppressors and poison our own soul. Worse yet, with our limited judgements, we will also drag innocent people down with us.

If evil is basically falsehood enforced by violence, the alternative is truth promoted by peace. What is truth? Truth is not a set of objective facts or a correct system of thought. It is the awareness that all existence, of which we are part, is a gift, independent of merit. Life is grace. We do not own anything and we are not superior to our social and ecological environment. This awareness leads to humility.

Truth frees us from falsehood. The Gospels present Jesus as the embodiment of truth. Even in being the "Son of God" he did not invade the lives of others in order to impose his values. He respected the integrity of others. Instead of being imposing he was sympathetic to the victims of falsehood. It was falsehood that took him to the cross, but it was truth that triumphed over death.

To impose our values from a position of power is easier than to live the truth and be subject to the cross. It requires faith, but the world is desperately in need of PEOPLE OF TRUTH.

EPHESIANS 6:10-20 – NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)

THE ARMOR OF GOD

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of justice in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

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