Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jas 5:16
August 10, 2022
Liberty of Free Will
There is nothing wrong with God; He is perfect. From the time of Adam and Eve till now, there have been misleading representations of His character. It can take generations to correct the misrepresentation used to exploit the masses where mankind puts himself in the place of God. Even though God could correct those distortions of His character in a moment, He has often allowed them to run its course where it becomes a living lesson to mankind. At some point, He will renew His people by someone perhaps like Gideon, a weak one willing to stand up and declare the bigness of his God.
King Solomon knew the truth of God because his father, King David, was an avid worshipper of God. Despite the natural lessons seen in his father’s life; King Solomon went on a journey of idol worship with his many idolatrous wives. His sorrow at this mistake and his repentance are recorded for our learning so that we do not have to indulge in the same sins to learn the same lesson. Those that had trusted in God have been led astray over and over in time to do the unthinkable and thought it was God’s way. The temple at Jerusalem had fallen into unbelief even though the daily rituals continued.
The Father’s Message
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (Ro 3:23; I Jo 1-2)
The recent apology tour of the Catholic Pope should be a great lesson for the nations because the Catholic Church has been around for two millenniums and has affected every nation with its teachings through missionaries. The Catholic Church is said to be a continuation of the ministry and teaching of Apostle Peter, but its teaching today does not mirror that of Peter.
Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, recently went on tour to apologize to the Indigenous People of Canada for the centuries its missionary staff abused Indigenous children and others during the Catholic training schools and their efforts to replace native heritage with Catholic assimilation. Make no mistake about it though; this was not unique to Canada alone. America and other places exercised similar practices. Pope Francis was informed by representatives of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the damage done over the centuries to the Indigenous community. Indigenous children and vulnerable adults were enslaved, striped of their name, heritage, and family. Many were sexually abused, brutalized or left to die from disease by Catholic priests or nuns who claimed they wanted to convert them to Christianity while destroying the Indian nature in them. Multiple gravesites of these children have also been uncovered.
The apology tour of the Pope is admirable and long overdue. More important, his message should cause all of us to pause for self-examination. His example should cause many who have practiced abuse to consider their own actions and do likewise. This applies particularly to the nation of America where such practices were daily life for Indigenous People, African slaves, and other ethnicities; but also for those involved in sex and drug trafficking as well as lawmakers who reduce the rights of vulnerable citizens.
The New Testament scriptures record a time of repentance before the Savior came. Repentance requires knowing that you have sinned. John preached the word and the people acknowledged their sin and repented. That is why it is so important that the truth be told to sinners so that conviction may come and cause one to seek forgiveness. If the preacher merely preaches the goodness of God and the benefits of salvation without revealing sin, then he has denied the sinner opportunity for conviction of his sin.
As the Catholic Church reveals its error, it presents opportunity for many people to learn lessons from the Pope’s tour. It may help those who did not have access to reports of the tour to go read the articles but here some excerpts from the Religious News Website for July 28, 2022.
- “God does not want us to be slaves, but sons and daughters,” Francis said.
- God does not want ‘a world governed by religious laws,’ pope tells Canadian clergy.
- His comments were also aimed at combating clericalism — privileging clergy and religious people above lay faithful in authority and importance — which the pope has blamed for allowing sexual abuse and abuse of power to propagate within the Catholic Church.
- “Never again can the Christian community allow itself to be infected by the idea that one culture is superior to others, or that it is legitimate to employ ways of coercing others.”
- “God seems to have disappeared from the horizon, and his word no longer seems a compass guiding our lives, our basic decisions, our human and social relationships,” he added.
- It’s not the faith that is suffering a crisis, he continued, “but some of the forms and ways in which we present it.”
- Pope Francis condemns colonialism, old and new, in speech to Canadian authorities
- …others held signs calling for the pope to take actions to accompany his words of remorse, including rescind the Doctrine of Discovery, a centuries-old papal mandate that allowed Western nations to colonize and spread Christianity in the New World.
- Pope Francis criticized the “colonialist mentality” that oppressed Indigenous peoples in the past and continues today, while apologizing once more for the role played by the Catholic Church.
- “Yet today too, there are any number of forms of ideological colonization that clash with the reality of life, stifle the natural attachment of peoples to their values and attempt to uproot their traditions, history and religious ties,” he added.
- This mentality also tends to marginalize further the weak and vulnerable, he added, especially “the poor, migrants, the elderly and the unborn,” who are often “cast aside like dry leaves to be burnt.” Indigenous culture, Francis continued, has “much to teach us about care and protection for the family.”
- “Politics cannot remain imprisoned in partisan interests,” he said. “We need to be able to look, as the Indigenous wisdom tradition teaches, seven generations ahead, and not to our immediate convenience, to the next elections, or the support of this or that lobby.” – Claire Giangravé, July 28, 2022, “God does not want ‘a world governed by religious laws,’ pope tells Canadian clergy;” https://religionnews.com.
Remember the Warnings
Without quoting scripture as I often use on my website to validate the message, Pope Francis’ remarks affirm Christian principles taught by Jesus Christ. As I stated in my article last month, the evil one loves to hide his deeds under the guise of religion and pervert the truth, but Jesus had already forewarned us.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Mt. 7:15
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Mt. 16:6
Jesus wanted believers to know the truth so they would not be deceived even by religious teachers. Jesus taught us to search the scriptures (Joh 5:39), Paul taught us to be like the brethren at Berea and Jeremiah exposed erroneous religious teaching of his day.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Act 17:11
They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. Jer 23:17
Christians should not be ignorant about the evil of this world. Hosea prophesied that God’s people perish for lack of knowledge. Though the Indigenous parents probably did not have scriptures; we do. The warnings of God are to preserve His people until He returns. John was sent to prepare the hearts so that they would not be caught unprepared when the Savior came. His message was: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt 3:2).” John’s preaching was effective and many followed Jesus when He came.
The warning and chastisement against American slavery came from both British and American preachers who compelled the nation to deliver herself from this sin. There were abolitionists like John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and many others, including preaching through slaves like Frederick Douglas. We cannot undo the wrong done or bring back the lives that were lost; but souls can still be healed, saved or delivered through confession of sin. David said in the 23rd Psalm that God “restoreth my soul”. God has made provision for restoration of our souls through Christ. The healing of racial hatred and that of sick bodies and minds can be accomplished through confession of sin. Christ has already granted forgiveness of our sin through His death on the cross, but we must appropriate that forgiveness through asking with our own mouth.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jn 1:9
The Challenge of Authoritative Offices
Another important lesson that the Pope illustrated is that we can never be in too high a position of authority to acknowledge our mistakes. When we consider the position of the Pope as authority over millions of submitted believers in global communities, whose office has ruled for a couple of millenniums, who has received the respect of many presidents and kings and who would humble himself to apologize and beg forgiveness of those considered beneath him in importance; what status do other men use to refuse to do likewise. Surely the Pope considered all of these things before committing to make this gesture of penance, but resolved it expedient to do so. Also note that Jesus Christ, being God Himself, humbly submitted to the authority of men to die a sinner’s death to set us free and be an example for all mankind.
When we consider how many souls have suffered under the authority of someone in power who insisted on his or her way regardless of the pain that had to be endured; it should make us consider more carefully the taking of positions of authority because of temptation, responsibility and cost that will be charged to that soul. For this reason James wrote: “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation (Jas 3:1).”
Where the weakest of individuals, the Indigenous children, were taken captive by the highest authority, the Catholic Church, and mistreated for hundreds of years; God has in His time brought the darkness to the sunlight. It should give hope to people in bad situations that God sees it and will bring it down in time. It should also be a warning to Americans today that where we see evil and unfit leaders taking high offices in government who change just laws and traditions; it could take just as long to undo these evil systems if we do not install good leaders now.
Call to Repentance
There was a time when all of Jerusalem had reason to consider the status of their soul under the preaching of John the Baptist and many went to the water to be baptized for remission of sin. It seems God is giving the nation and the world cause to consider our lives and the condition of our souls while we are in the midst of many crises of uncertainty that point to the soon coming King. We should not miss this opportunity for self-examination. As I take the time to look back and evaluate my course and repent of things revealed, I hope that you will do the same. We do not have this much trouble and chaos in our world without the need for some serious repentance being required at various levels. If the centuries old Catholic Church and the Pope can repent, how many of our churches and leaders who have been birthed through this same church need also to repent and change our ways. The Spirit of God led me to write a website article in 2015 entitled, “Correction of the Church”; and it is encouraging to see many churches acknowledging the need to change their traditions for more truth. Now is the time to allow the Holy Spirit to lead the church back to the true ways of God.
Yes, we will need to humble ourselves under the Mighty Hand of God; but the Word of God stands sure: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2Ch 7:14).” If people cannot relate to the humility of Christ, perhaps this more recent example of humility will be more imaginable for them. While we remember that Jesus paid the price of sin on the cross for all of us between two thieves; He was the only one that was innocent, that only one of the thieves was willing to humble himself and ask for forgiveness, and that this thief was in that same day granted forgiveness, assurance and entrance into paradise with his Lord.
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. Hos 6:1