I spent 8 years working as a volunteer police chaplain and one of the experiences I had points up this problem you've introduced with great clarity. One of the officers at our police department came to me one day and was obviously very upset. He is a person of faith and he had had the duty the previous day of arresting abortion protestors for stepping beyond their boundaries at a local abortion clinic. He said the protestors hurled words at him like, "You will burn in hell for what you doing." What was upsetting to him was his struggle with doing his duty while wondering, "Will God condemn me for what I'm doing?" My words to him on that day were God's knows your heart. You are a minister for good as a police officer as Romans clearly outlines that duty."I also worked for a high school at that time as a school chaplain and from time to time would have the opportunity to counsel teens and their families about abortion. I thought as I was seeking to help these families what a blessing it would be if some of those protestors would expend their energy to get involved in our local schools or in some volunteer effort to help teens so that the witness of Christ could be with power instead of with shame and blame as this officer experienced it.What I found out in my efforts to get involved in this real way was that God used my own experience with adoption (We have two adopteddaughters) to minister to these families. Our daughters are a different ethnicity than we are. When those families saw those pictures, the response was almost always the same. What a beautiful family! Maybe I could be a part of something like that.Peace to you in Dallas.Steve Puckett
But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10:14Preaching the gospel (words are implied) is absolutely necessary to spread the message of Christ. Words are necessary. I don't know for sure, but I doubt St. Francis was saying not to preach the good news of Christ. I think he was probably trying to make the point of the old saying "actions speak louder than words." Don't practice what you preach, but preach what you practice.But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2:18
As I continue my journey I'm learning more and more the phrase my Grandfather used to tell my dad and his siblings. He was a man of few words who came to this country from West Africa just before the depression, he died without completing 3rd grade. I understand he had a lot of wisdom. I’m sorry he died long before I was born however his words still ring loud and clear with me:"There's a reason why God gave you two ears and one mouth"Sometimes 'preaching' and 'ministering' involves way too much freaking talkin'. I feel St. Francis, going to people where they are is the best way to reach them. Often times that involves shutting our mouths and opening our ears.. and hearts.
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