"Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you." —John 5:14
Being sick for thirty-eight years is certainly a terrible suffering. To stay sick for most of one's life is a tragedy. However, after healing this man, Jesus told him: "Remember, now, you have been cured. Give up your sins so that something worse may not overtake you" (Jn 5:14). What could be worse than being sick for thirty-eight years? Being separated from the Lord, refusing to accept His love, and being in hell forever would be worse.
We must never become so burdened with the bad as to forget the worst. Likewise, we should not become so preoccupied with the good as to forget the best. For instance, when the apostles were rejoicing in their victory over demons, Jesus told them: "Do not rejoice so much in the fact that the devils are subject to you as that your names are inscribed in heaven" (Lk 10:20). Likewise, Paul proclaimed: "I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us" (Rm 8:18).
Although we maximize rather than minimize the significance of our present sufferings and blessings, we are to be "intent on things above rather than on things of earth" (Col 3:2). Our present is overshadowed by Christ's future and final coming. Our earthly life is a stepping stone into eternal happiness. Our time will give way to the timeless, the eternal. "God has put the timeless into [our] hearts" (Eccl 3:12), so think often of eternity. There is more — much more. We haven't seen the worst or the best. There is life after death, heaven and hell, and eternity.
Prayer: Father, may this Lent be a time when I see everything in the right perspective.
Promise: "Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary." —Ez 47:12
Praise: Terry repented of the sin of committing homosexual acts.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Living in Reality, or our four-tape audio series starting with AV 38-1 or two-tape video series starting with V-38.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 30, 2013
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