Houses of Retribution
by Shannon Hutchison
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Freedom from hatred, selfishness, and discord all happen when people obey God’s love commands. Stability, in spite of retribution-driven adversity, occurs when we allow the Holy Spirit produce the “fruits of the spirits” in us. Becoming a Christian, surrendering self to the Holy Spirit, and “making disciples of all men” is how mankind can finally break free from its chains. If we all only say “yes” to our unique purposes, free will will allow the love of Christ “fix” the houses we refer as people, giving us all the necessary foundation to withstand the floodwaters of adversity.
Negative consequences which can undermine freedom happen when we disobey God’s command to “love one another” (Matthew 22:39). Freedom in stability can be found for people, families, societies, and mankind if they only love and sin not. Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49, “someone who come to me, listens to my teachings, and obeys me is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who listens and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins”. To have stability against the “floodwaters of adversity” from beating and destroying our houses (us), we must always obey God’s decree to “love thy neighbor as thyself”.
Today, in this world full of violence, hatred, discord, and selfishness, the stability of houses (people, families, societies, nations) is being pressured by the floodwaters of adversity. Because we choose the flesh and not Christ as our foundation, too many lives are crumbling. The mortar, which binds together the bricks (people) of a house (family, society, humanity), is weakening and causing bricks to collide into another, as retribution is increasingly replacing forgiveness as the binding agents of family and society. As new houses (children and families) are being built, as current houses struggle to stay erect, we must all take notice in how we build our foundation and what mortar we use.
“A tree is identified by its fruit. Make a tree good and its fruit will be good. Make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad” (Luke 6:43-45). When we injure one another and “eye for eye” back, we are surrendering to our sinful nature which produces bad fruit (sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, hostility, quarreling, outbursts of anger, etc.) (Galatians 5:19-21). However, when we yield to the Holy Spirit, He produces His perfect fruits of the spirit in us: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). No bad ever comes from these fruits. “Us houses” will always remain firm when we yield to the Holy Spirit.
No “fruits of the spirit” fruit can ever be produced in the lives of the unsaved, because the Holy Spirit only lives in the soul of the Christian (Romans 8:9). Jesus – the only man who never chose “eye for eye” to those who injured Him, the only man to sacrifice His innocent life for the freedom of all, the only who can restore the relationships of man to God and man to man, and the only man who can give a world of people a new start on Earth and in heaven – is all we need. Christ’s love rescues, forgives, changes hearts, restore relationships, transform enemies into friends, and gives birth of the Holy Spirit to all Christians. If everyone only accepts Christ as their Savior, all of the world’s problems would presumably go away. (See John 3:14-16, Romans 10:9-10, Revelations 3:20, etc. to find out how you can become a Christian).
Erich Fromm once said, “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence”. So Love (Christ) can work to save this world and all the people in it, all Christians have a role to play. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” To do this, we must constantly surrender our wills to the purposes God has given us. Jesus wants to use us so He can convert sinners into saints; the Gardener (Holy Spirit) wants us to be a tool that helps Him make hardened hearts wanting to obey Him. In essence, we are to be an instrument that God uses to turn self-centered, disobedient hearts into saved, obedient souls which God can use for His glory. Each of us has an unique purpose, driven toward this mission.
“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” (Albert Einstein). Every day, we face a crisis of belief – choose self-centeredness or our unique purpose. Too many times, as we are exposed to the temptations and pressures of life, we pick disobedience. Depending upon the magnitude of the situations, negatives consequences which may impede God’s work in the world may result from our rebellion. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24: “If any of you want to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.” It is often a great challenge to be God-centered; however, “what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later” (Romans 8:18).
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” (Lao Tzu). To create a better world, we must daily be obedient to our God-given purpose. “To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must cultivate our personal life; we must set our hearts right” (Confucious). Every day, we must “be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi).
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry a real war against war, we have to begin with the children” (Mahatma Gandhi). Youngsters are usually the easiest to influence; they are also the building blocks of future generations. If we can reach them, they can do the same to their children, and so on. This would be a start of shattering our lawless culture, a major hindrance toward freedom in Christ. Man could then relearn to “love thy neighbor”.
In an overpopulated world, where the action and decisions of imperfect people collide into each other, mistakes will happen, causing injury to you and me. Whether intentional or unintentional, we face a crisis of belief of how we respond to the situation. We cannot let our anger control us, and we cannot succumb to the troubles we daily face. We must always show forgiveness and not retribution. To do this, we must surrender to the Holy Spirit, who gives us perfect fruit of the spirit love.
We must choose forgiveness and be obedient to our purpose, so Love can save a broken world, full of broken people. We also must become the tool God uses to reveal the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit. We must do this now before another “house” falls down! We must start now!
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