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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Witnesses Unto Me JUNE 27


Jesus saw a man blind from his birth. His disciples put the question, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?" John 9:2, N.E.B.

The disciples felt that someone was to blame for this poor man's condition. Who was it? Someone must have sinned along the way. Who could it be, the man himself or his parents? Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin nor his parents.

Christ is saying this: "Do not be so severe with your judgment of this man or his parents. Love thinketh no evil. God is not punishing these people for their sins." At times every one of us is inclined to call our own trials and tribulations accidents and those of our neighbors judgments of God. We hear something adverse about a neighbor—he was careless in his habits of eating, drinking, driving the car, or keeping the Sabbath. Maybe he had an accident. The temptation is to think that he got what was coming to him. He asked for it and he deserved it.

Christ's explanation for this man's blindness is very revealing: "That the works of God should be made manifest in him." In such cases our Christian attitude is not to criticize, but to go at once to help them. We are to consider that our meeting with such unfortunate people is God's way of providing us with the opportunity to serve.

I heard of a poor boy who became a Christian. He was without decent clothes to wear. One day a critic said to him, "If God is your Father and loves you, how can He possibly let you continue in such ragged clothing? Why does not your God see that you get some new clothes?" The boy finally spoke up and said, "I think that God asked someone to do that, but he has forgotten."

Even if we know that some people's misfortunes are the result of their sins and disobedience, let us not be hard on them. Such people do not need scolding or criticizing. They need loving. Those encompassed with infirmities are not sinners above ourselves.

God does not exploit His children. If through weakness and tribulation we learn of God's power to heal and to save, if through darkness we are prepared to receive the Light of the World, if through sickness we discover the Great Physician, then is it not better for us that we pass through these difficulties?

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