Spiritual Direction in the Orthodox Christian Tradition

Spiritual Direction in the Orthodox Christian Tradition

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Read and study the Gospel and act accordingly
Posted on June 16, 2012

{ Matthew 22:36-40 }

“This is the first and greatest commandment: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’
The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’
All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

{Matthew 25:31-46}

“When I, the Messiah, shall come in glory, and all the angels with me, then I shall sit upon my throne of glory. And all the nations shall be gathered before me. And I will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and place the sheep at my right hand, and the goats at my left.
Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, “Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.”
Then these righteous ones will reply, “Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? Or a stranger, and help you? Or naked, and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?” And I, the King, will tell them, “When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!”
Then I will turn to those on my left and say, “Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry and you wouldn’t feed me; thirsty, and you wouldn’t give me anything to drink; a stranger, and you refused me hospitality; naked, and you wouldn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.”
Then they will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?”
And I will answer, “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.” And they shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.”

{ Luke 10 : 25-37 }

“One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?” Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?” “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you shall live!”
But, wanting to justify himself, the man asked, “Which neighbors must I love?” And Jesus replied with an illustration:
“A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.

But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins and told him to take care of the man. “If his bill runs higher than that,” he said, “I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.”
“Now which of these three,” Jesus asked, “would you say was a neighbor to the bandit’s victim?” The man replied, “The one who showed him some pity.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

{ Luke 16:13-15}

” No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

{Luke 12:15-21}

And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” “Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven. Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will fatten your purses in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them. Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.”

{ James 1:27 – 2:9 }

“The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and widows in their distress, and who remains true to the Lord – not soiled and dirtied by his contacts with the world. Dear brothers, how can you claim that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, if you show favoritism to rich people and look down on poor people? If a man comes into your church dressed in expensive clothes and with valuable gold rings on his fingers, and at the same moment another man comes in who is poor and dressed in thread-bare clothes, and you make a lot of fuss over the rich man and give him the best seat in the house and say to the poor man, “You can stand over there if you like or else sit on the floor” – well, judging a man by his wealth shows that you are guided by wrong motives.
Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith, and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs, for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love him. And yet, of the two strangers, you have despised the poor man. Don’t you realize that it is usually the rich men who pick on you and drag you into court? And all too often they are the ones who laugh at Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear. Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s command, “You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself.” But you are breaking this law of our Lord’s when you favor the rich and fawn over them; it is sin.”

{ James 2:12-21 & 26}

“You will be judged on whether or not you are doing what Christ wants you to. So watch what you do and what you think; for there will be no mercy to those who have shown no mercy. But if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you. Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone?
If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,” and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do? So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it.
Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all – it is dead and useless. But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.” Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strongly that they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith. Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds.”

{ James 5:1-7 }

“Look here, you rich men, now is the time to cry and groan with anguished grief because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is even now rotting away, and your fine clothes are becoming mere moth-eaten rags. The value of your gold and silver is dropping fast, yet it will stand as evidence against you and eat your flesh like fire. That is what you have stored up for yourselves to receive on that coming day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. Their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have spent your years here on earth having fun, satisfying your every whim, and now your fat hearts are ready for the slaughter. You have condemned and killed good men who had no power to defend themselves against you.”

{ 1 John 3:17-29 }

“If someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need and won’t help him – how can God’s love be within him? Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
But if we have bad consciences and feel that we have done wrong, the Lord will surely feel it even more, for he knows everything we do. But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, and get whatever we ask for because we are obeying him and doing the things that please him. And this is what God says we must do: Believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another. Those who do what God says – they are living with God and he with them. We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tells us so.”

http://www.liberalslikechrist.org

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Is Anybody There? Speaking to the Heart

 

From fatherstephen.wordpress.com

Is Anybody There? Speaking to the Heart

“Talking to you is like talking to a fence post!”

I can still hear the words. I don’t remember who said them – but I heard them sometime in my teenage years. The occasion was doubtless some sort of argument. There were many things to argue about: Love, Peace, War, Jesus, Drugs, Sex, Rock ‘n Roll. There was a great deal of talk and almost no conversation. But why was the experience of talking to someone similar to speaking to a block of wood?

The simple answer is, “No one is at home.” When the ego (the false self generated by our anxieties, fears, grandiosity, etc.) becomes our public voice, the true self is rendered mute. Conversations with the ego are almost useless. Conversations with the ego also tend to provoke responses from the ego – “like calls to like.” Thus one set of defenses speaks to another set of aggressions, switching places as the war of words waxes and wanes. No information is exchanged. No minds are changed. The heart remains inert, shielded in a fog of make-believe.

We are often struck by the relatively short statements of Christ. “Follow me,” and a man leaves his fishing nets and becomes a disciple. I have often wondered if the gospels simply give us a brief summary of a longer conversation. As years have worn on, I think not.

One of the longest conversations recorded in the gospels takes place between Christ and the woman at the well (John 4). Every word of Christ is addressed to the heart. The woman initially responds from the ego.

Jesus says, “Give Me a drink.” She responds (defensively), “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” Jesus speaks again to her heart, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” Christ continues and speaks about living water. Her first response from the heart says, “Sir, give me this water….”

Christ goes deeper into her heart, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” Her response, “I have no husband,” is a confession, spoken from the depths of her heart. There is no explanation no prevarication. In the final moments of the conversation the ego offers a last defense – one last argument of Samaritans versus Jews. Christ responds with the word of the coming Messiah, and reveals Himself to her. In the coming of the Christ, all space between Jew and Samaritan is bridged. The one common hope of the heart destroys the imagined pain of the false self. The words of Christ, spoken consistently to the heart, reveal a woman whose life is a story of broken relationships (five husbands and a live-in friend) to be a saint. The woman at the well, known to the Church as St. Photini, later dies a martyr’s death, having drunk to the full the living water given her that day.

Our own conversations, both when speaking and listening, do well to be grounded in the heart.

Here are some tools to use to remain in the heart:

Use fewer words – be silent if possible. (Eccles. 3:3)

Only speak the truth, though it is not necessary to be unkind. (Eph. 4:15)

Resist the effort to defend yourself. (Matt. 10:19)

It is not important to be right. (Proverbs 26:21)

Do not argue. Your effect on someone else’s ego will come to nothing. (Hos. 4:4)

Tell your anxieties that everything will be ok. (Phil. 4:6)

Don’t be in a hurry to speak. Let someone else finish their thought. (Proverbs 29:20).

Breathe.

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Voting My Religion: The Hypocrisy of the “Christian Right”

David J. Dunn, PhD
Orthodox lay theologian

The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, but the fight for healthcare is not over. The GOP now has a rallying cry to drive its base to the polls. Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics make up a large portion of the Republican base. As a Christian political theologian, I cannot help but see their opposition to “Obamacare” as an act of hypocrisy.

Maybe that is putting it too strongly. For the record, I think this hypocrisy is accidental. It is usually a kind of self-deception. Williams James is alleged to have said that when most people say they are thinking they are really just rearranging their prejudices (not me, of course). My point is that the Christian Right’s opposition to “Obamacare” is inconsistent with the rest of its politics.

Let me explain what I mean by telling a brief story. I was recently interviewed by Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Today, a call-in radio program with a large following in the Orthodox Church (I am Eastern Orthodox). The topic was about gay marriage and Christian politics. My view is that what the state chooses to call a contractual relationship between two people of any sex should be of no concern to churches that consider marriage to be a sacrament. Sacraments are holy things, and the state has no power to sanctify.

Near the end of the interview I was asked if the church could oppose anything it considered immoral in society, such as when it came to the abortion debate. In other words, if the church can oppose abortion, why can’t it oppose gay marriage? This question reveals the basic presupposition at the heart of the politics of the Christian Right. It is the view that Christians should vote their values, and this means we should legislate moral evils into oblivion. Thus if we believe life begins at conception, we should vote against abortion! If we believe marriage is between one woman and one man, we should vote against gay marriage! And if we believe in caring for the sick and the poor, we should vote against “Obamacare!” … Wait a minute!

Do you see the political hypocrisy? The Christian Right votes for candidates who are anti-abortion and anti-gay (at least on paper) because it believes we must pass laws to protect marriage and protect life (at least embryonic life), but it is unwilling to apply the same principle to “Obamacare.” Infants in the womb have a right to life, but apparently adults do not have a right to life-saving medical care.

Christians have always believed in caring for the poor. Jesus began his first sermon with the words, “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20), and compassion toward the poor was a hallmark of the early church (Galatians 2:10). Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics are extremely philanthropic. Many of them give generously to charity, and many of them devote time throughout the year to be among and care for the poor themselves. I do not doubt the sincerity of the faith or values of the Christian Right, just the consistency of their politics.

Opponents of the individual mandate argue that the state cannot force citizens to buy health insurance. That is a violation of our individual rights. But conservative Christians are willing to consider subjecting women to transvaginal ultrasounds before undergoing an abortion. Taxing people without insurance is intrusive, but apparently shoving something up one’s body is not.

The idea that we have inalienable rights probably owes something to the Christian belief that all human beings have dignity because they are made in God’s image, but in the Bible freedom is not freedom from but freedom for. We believe we are freed from the power of sin, but we are not freed from our obligations toward others (see 1 Cor. 8). That is why Paul advised Christians to settle their disagreements in the church rather than public courts, even if that meant my “rights” get violated. “Why do you not rather accept wrong?,” Paul asks, “Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?” (1 Cor. 6:7)

Christians who make up the GOP base believe in voting their values into law (as the following, rather silly, video illustrates   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9vQt6IXXaM ), but apparently not all of their values. When it comes to health care, individual rights trump life.

I am not saying I accept the legal argument of those who oppose the “Affordable Care Act.” I don’t. Nor do I share the politics of the Christian Right. My opinion is that Christians in this country often get their values on the wrong side of legislation. Rather than attempting to outlaw behaviors of which we disapprove, I think we should focus more on the outcomes of our laws. We should ask ourselves if a particular piece of legislation (as the economist Amartya Sen would put it) gives people the ability to live lives they value and have reason to value. Or, in a Christian idiom, Does this law help make the world ready to receive the peace and justice of God’s kingdom?

In the Bible, Cain grew jealous of his brother Abel and killed him. This was the first murder. When God asked Cain where Abel was, he feigned ignorance and replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9). Christians who oppose the Affordable Care Act are not murdering Abel, but they are willing to let him die, lest the taxes of others be raised! Apparently Abel must suffer to death so that our individual rights are preserved.

Like I said, I disagree with the way the Christian Right applies its values to its politics, but if conservative Christians are going to vote their values, then they should vote all of their values. Christians who oppose abortion and gay marriage should be more consistent. They should support “Obamacare.” Even if opponents of “Obamacare” are correct that the state has no authority to tax citizens who make the rest of us pay for their medical care (through higher bills and insurance premiums) – even if the “individual mandate” does violate our individual rights – Christians should go ahead and let themselves be “cheated,” because when we are asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” the answer is always, “Yes.”
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Read and study the Gospel and act accordingly

{ Matthew 22:36-40 }

“This is the first and greatest commandment:  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’
The second most important is similar:   ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’
All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them.  Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.”

{Matthew 25:31-46}

“When I, the Messiah, shall come in glory, and all the angels with me, then I shall sit upon my throne of glory.  And all the nations shall be gathered before me.  And I will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and place the sheep at my right hand, and the goats at my left.
Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, “Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.   For I was hungry and you fed me;  I was thirsty and you gave me water;   I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes;   naked and you clothed me;   sick and in prison, and you visited me.”
Then these righteous ones will reply,  “Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?  Or thirsty and give you anything to drink?  Or a stranger, and help you?  Or naked, and clothe you?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?”  And I, the King, will tell them,  “When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!”
Then I will turn to those on my left and say,   “Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.  For I was hungry and you wouldn’t feed me;   thirsty, and you wouldn’t give me anything to drink;   a stranger, and you refused me hospitality;   naked, and you wouldn’t clothe me;   sick, and in prison,  and you didn’t visit me.”
Then they will reply,  “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison,  and not help you?”
And I will answer,  “When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.”  And they shall go away into eternal punishment;   but the righteous into everlasting life.”

{ Luke 10 : 25-37 }

“One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?”  Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?”  “It says,” he replied, “that you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind.   And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.”  “Right!” Jesus told him.  “Do this and you shall live!”
But, wanting to justify himself, the man asked, “Which neighbors must I love?”   And Jesus replied with an illustration:
“A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits.  They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road.  By chance a priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.  A temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.

But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity.  Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them.  Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night.  The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins and told him to take care of the man.  “If his bill runs higher than that,”  he said,  “I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.”
“Now which of these three,” Jesus asked, “would you say was a neighbor to the bandit’s victim?”   The man replied, “The one who showed him some pity.”   Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

{ Luke 16:13-15}

” No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and wealth.”  The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him.  So he said to them,  “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.

{Luke 12:15-21}

And he said to them,   “Take care!   Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”   Then he told them a parable:   “The land of a rich man produced abundantly.  And he thought to himself,  ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’   Then he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul,  ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
But God said to him,  ‘You fool!  This very night your life is being demanded of you.   And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’   So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”  “Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven.  Sell what you have and give to those in need.  This will fatten your purses in heaven!   And the purses of heaven have no rips or holes in them.  Your treasures there will never disappear; no thief can steal them; no moth can destroy them.  Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.”

{ James 1:27 – 2:9 }

“The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who takes care of orphans and widows in their distress, and who remains true to the Lord – not soiled and dirtied by his contacts with the world.  Dear brothers, how can you claim that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory,  if you show favoritism to rich people and look down on poor people?  If a man comes into your church dressed in expensive clothes and with valuable gold rings on his fingers, and at the same moment another man comes in who is poor and dressed in thread-bare clothes, and you make a lot of fuss over the rich man and give him the best seat in the house and say to the poor man,  “You can stand over there if you like or else sit on the floor”  –  well,  judging a man by his wealth shows that you are guided by wrong motives.
Listen to me, dear brothers: God has chosen poor people to be rich in faith, and the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs,  for that is the gift God has promised to all those who love him.  And yet, of the two strangers, you have despised the poor man.  Don’t you realize that it is usually the rich men who pick on you and drag you into court?  And all too often they are the ones who laugh at Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear.  Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord’s command, “You must love and help your neighbors just as much as you love and take care of yourself.”  But you are breaking this law of our Lord’s when you favor the rich and fawn over them; it is sin.”

{ James 2:12-21 & 26}

“You will be judged on whether or not you are doing what Christ wants you to.  So watch what you do and what you think; for there will be no mercy to those who have shown no mercy.   But if you have been merciful, then God’s mercy toward you will win out over his judgment against you.  Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others?  Will that kind of faith save anyone?
If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him,  “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,” and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do?  So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith.  You must also do good to prove that you have it.
Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all  –  it is dead and useless.  But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing;  well, I say that good works are important too, for without works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.”  Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough?  Believing in one God?  Well, remember that the demons believe this too – so strongly that they tremble in terror!  Fool!  When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to?  Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.  Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds.”

{ James 5:1-7 }

“Look here, you rich men, now is the time to cry and groan with anguished grief because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you.  Your wealth is even now rotting away, and your fine clothes are becoming mere moth-eaten rags.  The value of your gold and silver is dropping fast, yet it will stand as evidence against you and eat your flesh like fire.  That is what you have stored up for yourselves to receive on that coming day of judgment.  For listen!  Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay.   Their cries have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts.  You have spent your years here on earth having fun, satisfying your every whim, and now your fat hearts are ready for the slaughter.  You have condemned and killed good men who had no power to defend themselves against you.”

{ 1 John 3:17-29 }

“If someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need and won’t help him – how can God’s love be within him?  Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.  Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
But if we have bad consciences and feel that we have done wrong, the Lord will surely feel it even more, for he knows everything we do.  But, dearly loved friends, if our consciences are clear, we can come to the Lord with perfect assurance and trust, and get whatever we ask for because we are obeying him and doing the things that please him.  And this is what God says we must do: Believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who do what God says – they are living with God and he with them.  We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tells us so.”

http://www.liberalslikechrist.org

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