The godly are a rare breed in our day. Even so, many people do what they can to avoid them – at least, to avoid those who will speak to them about the things that matter. The arts do not portray them adequately.
Rather like references to sin and Sabbath, the conversation of the godly reminds them of God and eternity, which they do not like.
Whereas it is their choice to do so, it is a poor choice. They need to reflect upon why they would rather not speak about God and eternity. Why should this be so?
There will be many reasons given. There may be truth in each of these reasons, but do these reasons address why they are unwilling to discuss fundamental matters about man’s being? Denial is a well-known human reaction to unpleasant facts. Rather than face up to the facts, they ignore them and pretend to themselves that they do not exist.
Many have had a bad experience of institutional religion, with which one can only sympathise, and their way of coping with bad memories is to ignore the subject and close down debate. The godly agree with their criticism of false religion and possibly have an even stronger passion against it. This is why the godly speak about the things that matter. They know about false religion and correct it with godly religion rather than misfire with irreligion. Jesus Christ criticised the institutional religion of His day and was crucified for it.
Some accuse the godly of hypocrisy because ‘they do not practice what they preach’. This accuses the godly of being unable to live up to the high standards of the Word of God. The problem with the charge of hypocrisy is that the godly do not preach that they can or do live up to these standards. They are aspirations – the godly are the first to admit that they are sinners, a word that the ungodly do not like and therefore use as a joke. Besides, if they think the conversation of the godly is preaching, they should learn what preaching really is.
Many people do not think about God because they are aware that they will need to change their lives, and they do not want ‘to become religious’ with all the consequences thereof. They want to be independent and in control of their lives, although every sensible consideration of their circumstances should lead them to the conclusion that they are dependent beings, neither independent nor in control. ‘Take back control’ is a current slogan, suggesting we are not in control, and ‘no man is an island’ has been around for a long time.
So why can they not simply address conversations about God, origins, destiny, etc., in a sensible and calm manner to everyone’s benefit? Many people do, who are not ‘religious’ by their own admission. Is it because their conscience troubles them? The thought of God troubles them.
Let us begin with the good news. The Gospel is designed to bring peace to troubled consciences.
‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ Rom 5:1.
The bad news for those who ignore this is they cannot get away from their own conscience. Christ calls it ‘the worm that does not die’, that will gnaw continually throughout eternity.
So, the next time you meet the godly who will address the important things in life, engage with them and ask them a few intelligent questions and who can say how fruitful you will discover it to be? ‘But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life’ Rom 6:22.