Some where in my teenage years I became aware of Francis Schaeffer’s book How Should We Then Live. What I didn’t know at the time is that the sub-title was The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. I still don’t know anything more about the book than the title but it is a good title and the question has stayed with me. How Should We Then Live? There is an infinite amount to say on this topic but for the purposes of this blog I have two comments. As I have grown older and maybe wiser I have come to believe that humility is more important to the Christian walk but kindness less so.
I have come to believe is that humility is not just another virtue to be practiced but it is the key to understanding all of scripture. Few Christians would argue against living more humbly and even the proud are in favor of other people being humble but is it really the secret to all scripture? Yes I think it is for a multitude of reasons but yesterdays blog on the Bible and Magic is fresh in my mind as well as today’s question of How Should We Then Live. We should live humbly before God. Don’t treat the Almighty like a butler. Don’t try to control God. Try instead to be controlled by God.
I have also come to believe that kindness as a virtue is overstated. Or maybe it just was to me. Or maybe my personality is such that I over emphasized kindness in my own mind. My favorite Bible verse is Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. What I’ve had to reconcile is that while me must do justice we are to only love kindness – and sometimes the two are in conflict. I have a part-time job overseeing group testing. Often people are arrive late. The rules are clear that no one is allowed in once the test starts. It seems kind to let people in but is it just? Is it kind? The university that I attended gave seminars on how to succeed at job interviews. When the seminar started the doors were locked and that was part of the learning experience. Don’t be late for a job interview. I wonder how often a kindness is not a kindness because we deny someone a learning experience. It is not an easy answer.
We had a visiting preacher give a sermon on the prodigal son and the 1 lost sheep versus the 99. His point was that it is difficult to know when to go look for the one lost lamb and when to let the lamb/prodigal son go and wait for him to come back. I admire him for his honesty. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do even when it comes to very simple aspects of the Christian life.
ps. I don’t know the name of that preacher but I want to thank him. Thank you.