By Michael E. Brooks
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
Once again the political situation in Nepal was troublesome this spring. Our work in the Terrai was disrupted by strikes and violence. But this time it was not the Maoist insurgents who were responsible. Rather it was ethnic minorities agitating for their “rights” in the new government which is being formed. Some charged the monarchy of fomenting this latest unrest in an effort to build support for the continuation of its role in the nation.
Over and over we see the phenomenon. Fix one problem and another arises. Frequently it seems that the solution to the first creates stresses that cause the second. It is like the patient who takes medicine for chronic pain, only to find that the medicine produces ulcers. I remember seeing an article some time ago detailing the problems caused by drinking bottled water. Nothing is healthier nor more to be desired than pure water, right? But the popularity of drinking it from small plastic bottles is creating a pollution problem in some areas.
It goes back to Newton’s law: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. Or in other words, everything one does is connected to something or someone else. There are no “victimless crimes.” Nothing is insignificant. The ripples in the surface of the pond seem to die out and vanish, but the shore is eroded a tiny bit, and the effect accumulates over time.
It is precisely this situation that the holistic nature of Christianity so perfectly addresses. Christianity is not designed as an “add-on” or “plug-in” component of life. It is a complete system, intended to replace all other attitudes, beliefs, and actions. There is no circumstance its principles do not envision; no aspect of existence for which it does not provide. Jesus commands, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The goal of perfection is not so much “sinlessness” here, but rather “wholeness” or “completion”, which is the basic meaning of the original word. The religion of the scribes and Pharisees, which Jesus describes as inadequate (Matthew 5:20) emphasized ritual and outward appearance. Jesus insists that the thoughts and intents of the heart must also be right. Only when one is fully in compliance with God’s will is he truly “righteous.”
The wonderful result is that one who lives by this will finds there is no conflict or tension within him, such as is created by incomplete or conflicting systems or realities. What we want is also what we need. One’s duty corresponds with one’s desire. And the results of one’s actions produces good.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The Christian faith is a complete system, designed to replace all other attitudes, beliefs, and actions.