THE EDITOR, Sir:
People have always been quick to criticise the Church whenever immorality raises its ugly head, as if the Church were simply some regulatory body of individuals who must be blamed for everything which goes wrong, because it is their responsibility to ensure that things run smoothly.
Nevertheless, if we analyse the Church’s mandate from a biblical perspective, especially in the New Testament, we will recognise that it has been called to speak out against injustice and sinful lifestyles, while calling men and women to repent of their sinful deeds and turn to God for salvation. This, nonetheless, is not done through the use of force, but by free will.
Sad to say, many people only recognise the presence and foci of the Church whenever their safety and well-being are threatened by crime, violence, and other traumatic occurrences. Nevertheless, whenever the Church calls people to live godly lives, by denouncing the sinful practices of the world, such as smoking, drinking, partying, womanising, gambling, and such other sins, many feel as if their freedom to pleasure is being violated.
What most do not understand, however, is that God has promised to bless people based on their obedience to His entire will (see Deuteronomy 28). As such, the nation of Israel, for example, prospered significantly when the people obeyed the commands of God. However, when they walked contrarily, they were tormented by heathen nations and taken into captivity by their enemies. That is why Solomon writes in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
We cannot, therefore, expect the full blessings of God upon our nation with regard to crime and violence and other nuisances, while blatantly disregarding God’s biblical instructions. 1 John 2:15-17 indicates, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father, but from the world.”
So for Jamaica to be a better and a safer place, the society must not only look to the Church when things go wrong, but must also look to it constantly and heed its teachings on God’s Word, so that the Almighty might bless our nation and make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
JERMAINE F. JOHNSON
Ministerial Student, NCU