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Doctrine in dialogue format
Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ
"You are indeed Mr Busybody. And as for my time being valuable, I find there's no better nor a more profitable way to spend one's time than to spread the truth of the Word. And what could be more beneficial then to share my concerns with those of your listeners who might be inclined to walk the path of one about to suffer the consequences of living a life filled with self-serving and debauchery?"
"Well said Rev Warrant. I can't help but notice that you and the prisoner happen to have the same surname. Are the two of you perchance remotely related to one another?"
"No Mr Busybody, not remotely. We are in fact brothers, identical twins to be exact. That, as you can imagine, makes what I'm about to do all the more difficult. Yet it is quite fitting that it be me to administer the last rites under the circumstances."
"Yes, I can see that what you are about to do would be very difficult indeed. And I see, Rev Warrant, by the clock on the wall, and also by the guard standing by the security gate beckoning to us that it's time you performed the function for which reason you are here."
"I suppose I must do what I must do. But I say again, this is going to be one of the most difficult tasks I've had to perform."
"Ladies and gentlemen, they have allowed me to stand quietly by with microphone in hand to record this momentous event. I will say nothing until after the rites are served, then I will try to have a personal interview with each of the participants. Please be very quiet. We're about to approach the prisoner's cell."
"Hello my brother. I wish our meeting was under more favorable circumstances. But what will be, is what is. How are you feeling about yourself and your soon execution?"
"Oh, I have no fear about dying brother dear. It had to end this way. I knew it from the beginning. But wasn't it fun while it lasted.?"
"Fun? You say your life has been fun? But Adam, you're life has been one of total abandon. You have committed the most heinous of crimes, and you've destroyed not only your life, but the lives of many innocent and trusting people as well. How can you say your life has been fun?"
"Life is to be lived to the fullest brother Pious. We learn that as a child from every source from the media right on up the churches. Isn't that what you teach your congregation? Isn't that why Jesus died, to give us freedom to be ourselves and do as we please?"
"How can you, of all people, hold such a view Adam? We grew up in a family that followed the teaching of the church to the letter. Our parents were God-fearing pastors and ministers. Where did you hear that we are at liberty to do as we please, especially when our desires are so offensive to both society and the Word of God?"
"Don't you listen to your own sermons Pious? Don't you teach that God wants His people to be healthy and happy? Don't you and every one of your elders and congregation want, and possess the good things the world has to offer? Can you name one single person in your acquaintance that doesn't do the very same thing I do? You all set out to please yourself and to do what you want to do. That's the same thing I did. It's just that I wanted different things then you do. You got what you want, and I got what I want. What's the difference?"
"The difference, Adam, is that what I want doesn't offend others. And I don't violate the law in the process of acquiring what I want. There's a big difference you know."
"Law? What law Pious? Don't you teach that when a person is a Christian, under the blood, there is no law? And don't you preach that God can't see us sin if we're a born-again Christian? Since there is no law, I can't break the law. If the legal system understood what you and I understand, I wouldn't be in this cell waiting for my doom. I would be as you are, waiting for a cloud to take me to Gloryland."
"Do I understand you correctly Adam? Are you telling me you expect to be admitted into Heaven when you die? What gives you that assurance, if I may ask?"
"What gives me that assurance you ask? I'm surprised at you brother Pious. You're the one that taught me this precept. In case you've forgotten, I've been a members of your church even before you were ordained a preacher. We grew up in that same church. What you know, I know. And what you teach, I firmly believe. That, brother, is why I have such assurance of being admitted through those Pearly Gates."
"What on earth could possibly give you the idea I preach you can sin all you want and still be taken to Heaven? I would surely like to know how you could misinterpret my words. I know you are an above average intelligent man Adam. And because of that reason, I value your opinion. Where did you get the idea you can live as you have and still remain in God's favor."
"Let's go back about fifty years Pious. You and I are twelve years old. We're about to be baptized. Do you recall? At that time we repeated the sinner's prayer, and we were baptized. It was dad that baptized us. Do you remember?"
"Yes, I remember very well Adam. But you know that baptism is only an outward expression of an inward conversion. What is there about that moment that gave you assurance of salvation?"
"Dad told us, as he preached many times, and as you also preach, that once a person is saved there is nothing that can take away that salvation. Do you remember those words? I do, I remember them very clearly. And they have been the mainstay of my life, just as you preach that they should be."
"Such salvation and security is only offered to those who with an honest and sincere heart offer themselves up as sacrifice Adam. The act of baptism and saying words is not evidence of conversion. It's a changed life that demonstrates such sincerity. I'm sorry you've held such a strong sense of security that is ill placed. But the Lord will have mercy on you even now if you give your heart to him, repent, and repeat the sinner's prayer."
"Again you've forgotten what I just told you brother dear. I said I've done all that fifty years ago. That's why I felt free to live as I have. Why should I hold myself back from doing what I feel like doing when the ultimate consequences for doing so is the same as living a life of restraint and self denial? And if you're going to tell me that I must have not been sincere all those years ago, you are sadly mistaken. I was deadly serious. I would rather have died at the age of twelve then live with what I was fighting inside me. Then for the next eight years I battled the demons inside me and lived a perfectly wholesome life. That was the evidence of my sincerity. You know all this. I have those elements of conversion down pat. My salvation is secure no matter how you look at it."
"It can be secure, if you confess and repent. There isn't much time my brother. Would you like to confess here and now?"
"Again you haven't heard me Pious. I've done all that. And I confessed and repented after every bad deed I committed. As for confessing and repenting now, I confessed at my trial, and as for repenting, I can assure you that none of what I have done in the past I will repeat after midnight tonight. There is really nothing you can do for me now Pious. It's too late for any of that."
"I agree, it is to late for you to change your life now. But why didn't you come to me earlier and let me help you fight your demons when you first began your life of crime? You know I would have done everything in my power to help you. And there's dad. He would have helped you had he known the torment you were experiencing."
"Again you haven't listened to me. When I was twelve I was suicidal because of my thoughts and my feelings. I knew I was different than everyone else. I knew too that I couldn't tell anyone what was happening in me, the things I thought about, the things I felt, without being seen as weird and someone to avoid. But I tried. I tried in the only place I thought it might help. I went to the pastor, our father. But dad didn't have time for me. He was busy helping other people in the church. You know dad, he would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. He would get out of his death bed to help someone who needed comforting. But his own family he could put on hold. So that's what he did. It was always 'later son, when I finish with this.' You know the story, you've heard it yourself. Then when I tried to talk to him, or to you about other problems, small, safe problems, I found no one to listen. I received lectures, more preaching, and not listening. I'm not accusing you or dad. You were just being normal. Everyone sermonizes rather than listens and understands. I guess I do too. But I knew if my small problems would not be heard, my big ones wouldn't be either. I finally gave up. Then when you took over the church, I came forward, in tears if you recall, and said I need prayer. You said about ten seconds of prayer, then you said to stay there, at the alter rail, alone, and you took off to shake people's hand as they left. I turned around and went back to my seat, and all eyes turned and followed me as if I was some kind of freak for coming forward. That's when I decided to just be myself. I saw there was no one to help, no one to care, and like I told you, I already knew I had nothing to lose."
"I'm really sorry brother Adam. Had I known you was in such need, I would surely have dropped everything and heard you out. But I had no idea. Why didn't you say something? Why didn't you tell me you had such a need?"
"I did. Once I came to you when you were through with your sermon, after everyone left the church, and told you I had a problem that was nagging me and that I was concerned with losing my salvation. You dismissed it like I was someone off the street asking for a handout. You told me not to worry about it, that I was securely in God's hand, and that meant He would take care of all my needs. I remember your words when you preached on this message, how you would say if a person who is saved sins too much God will just take him home early. I've been waiting for that home-bound train all my life. Now I'm about to board the train. I listened to your words very carefully my brother. And those words I've kept in my heart. And it's those words of comfort that has allowed me to live the life I have, one of total abandon. I have become top in my line, something that you haven't come even close to accomplishing."
"Do I hear you say you're proud of being public enemy number one and for having committed every crime against humanity and against God conceivable? Surely I've misunderstood you."
"No you haven't brother dear. I've discovered that I, and I think it's the same with anyone who is ambitious and dedicated, strive to be the best at whatever I put my hand to. In the beginning it's hard to accept some of the things we choose to do, especially when what we choose to do are things like I wanted to do. But after a while it feels perfectly natural. And the better we become at what we do, the more we want of it, causing us to be that much prouder of what we do. When someone goes the direction I have, it's hard to not brag about the accomplishments and the number of things he has done. Someone like me learns to live a double life. As you know, I have been considered the perfect citizen and church member until my first arrest. My arrest freed me from the pretense, and though in prison for the past ten years, I've felt more free inside than I ever did on the outside. I can't do all the things I want to do. But I don't have to pretend like I don't want to do them any more. I don't think you can ever understand what I'm telling you. And I doubt it would do you any good even if you did. But if a person is going to be helped, it has to be at the beginning of a problem, not at the end as you are attempting to do. You can go now brother dear, and teach all your parishioners that who they are, and what they are, is just what God wants them to be. And if you're lucky, no one will listen to you, just as you haven't listened to me. The guard is signaling for you to go now. You see my brother, people here listen to me. And now they are about to serve me the finest meal I could ever ask for. Thanks for coming, and don't worry about me. Like you've been preaching all this time, I'll be waiting for you behind those Golden Gates. I'm just beating you there. Good bye brother Pious, and may God bless you."
34O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Mat 12:)
6But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:)
5This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1John 1:)
3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1John 2:)
6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1John 3:)
"This is Michael Jay Busybody once again. I was unable to have a further interview with either of the Warrant brothers, but what I've heard here today has caused me to have a parting thought or two. What we heard is an extreme example of something just about all of us have experienced in our life to one degree or another. We have been the one who does not listen to others, and the one who has found it difficult to find someone to listen to us.
"Listening is an art few of us cultivate. It's easy for us to sit and listen for hours to someone talk about our favorite subject. And because we have this ability, we consider ourself a good listener. But when the conversation turns serious, or when the conversation becomes unpleasant, our hearing, and our patience, begins to wane.
"Those who are looking for someone to tell their troubles to, first attempt, not with the problem that is really bothering them, but with a smaller, seemingly insignificant problem, to see if they are talking to a listener. In the case of the brothers in this story, the one brother, as was his father, is a good listener when the strength of the problem is known. But they failed to listen to the small problems, so the big problems were left buried where they could fester and grow.
"In the world we expect to find people who are not interested in listening to our problems. That is why there are so many problem-solving magazines, talk shows, and psychologists in the world. If the world is aware of the need for listening, and for dealing with personal problems, why is it the church is so prone to deny problems and to dismiss them unheard? I've noticed that in all churches I've attended the pews are filled with problem-free people who's personal life is the model of perfection. Someone with a problem, although still considered saved, is someone considered inferior to, and set apart from the rest of the congregation. And in some churches, such people are considered unredeemed and discharged from the church, and shunned.
"If we look at the life of Jesus we see someone who is a good listener to those people with deep problems. And He did all He could to deal with the total person, not merely the problem the person was seeking help with. At the same time Jesus had words for those who would not listen to Him, and for those who considered the lowly person to be beneath them, therefore not worth their attention.
"There isn't very much any of us can do about other people's lack of listening ability, but there is one person we can have an influence with. The question is, will we do it?
"This is Michael Jay Busybody signing off until next time. And may God bless."
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