Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | February 3, 2015

February 3, 2015 “Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking”

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Good Morning Everyone!

It would seem that “the ghost of Christmas past” still haunts me a bit. As I reflected back a month or so on the enjoyments of that glorious season, I realized that through all the festivities and the seemingly endless sentimental offings of various and sundry Christmas themed movies, I had not watched one of my favorites…”A Christmas Carol” featuring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. I got it in my head to watch it, but not owning a copy of it, I ordered it online and enjoyed it just the other day. One of the most memorable scenes in the film features a dubious Scrooge conversing with the ghost of his departed business partner Jacob Marley, who has come with the ominous message that the flummoxed Mr Scrooge is going to be visited by three more spirits. This disquieting declaration leads Scrooge to implore the spirit of Marley with the words: “Speak comfort to me Jacob!”. Unmoved by this pitiful request, Marley replies,“Comfort? I have none to give.”

Though it was comfort he sought, it was not comfort that Marley brought nor comfort that Scrooge needed at the time. What Scrooge needed was truth…the truth that was going to be provided by the visitation of the spirits that would be visiting him…the realities of the consequences of his past choices, their impact on the present day, and their ultimate fulfillment if unaltered by a changed life. What Scrooge was offered was an opportunity for redemption. These spirits were messengers from God, disquieting beings, but truth-bearers nonetheless. Truth is revealing and it is liberating…ultimately comforting to those who embrace it and live by it. Jesus told his followers, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth of which Jesus spoke was to be found in Him and in His teachings. God, said Paul, is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Christian author C.S. Lewis wrote,

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”    

Looking for truth means seeking for God, and Jesus’ promise is “seek and ye shall find.” And as we find the Truth embodied in Christ, we also find “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” Then we have the ability, as did Scrooge at the end of that great story, to be a comfort ourselves for others in distress. What was it that Dickens said of Scrooge after he came to know the truth? He wrote, “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.” Don’t settle for soft soap and wishful thinking. They lead only to despair. Come to know the liberating, comforting power of the truth. Come to know Christ. Let’s pray!

Precious Lord; in my life, may I be a truth-seeker rather than a comfort-seeker, for in discovering it, I gain both, for it is in You that both dwell in all richness. Move in my heart that I may be a comforter to those around me as well. This I pray in Jesus’ Great Name! Amen!

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