It is unbelievable to see many Christians and even your so-called friends engaging in dubious acts in order to make fast money. The world is so polarized that one doesn’t know who to believe or trust but living alone is not the answer. Our first parents abused the free will God gave them. In fact, they disobeyed God and distorted His plans for them. The book of Genesis speaks of how they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden with an angel barring their return. This signaled man’s separation and alienation from God. Aside from other consequence of man’s disobedience, alienation from God remains the primary consequence of sin. So don’t let sin destroy you. The wages of sin is death. Adam and Eve, including their offspring became subject to suffering, deprivation and death, and today their sin still haunts us. We work hard to earn our living, and this is not an easy task. We experience great pains doing our work. If we do not work hard and plan our lives well, we experience more pains, and poverty knocks at our doors. The consequences of sin are many; women bring forth their children in great pains. Some even die in the labour room.
Sometimes the child survives and the mother dies. The order and harmony of nature and other things created were distorted by humanity’s rebellion against God- Romans 8:10-22. One may thus ask why a loving God permits all these.God gave man and the angels in heaven the gift of free will. But in his justice God allowed His angel and man to bear the consequences of their choice. A great poet, John Milton described Satan’s attitude thus: better to reign in Hell than to serve in Paradise’. But God in His justice gave him what he wished, in Justice God allowed our first parents by extension the human race to experience the consequences of sin and rebellion against Him. For humanity, this justice wasn’t God’s last word. God realized man’s weakness and limited understanding and so gave him a second chance and hope of reconciliation with Him. From Bible history, the reconciliation of God with man is an ongoing process. Initially God sent His prophets, finally God sent His Son, Jesus Christ.
The coming of His son marked the summit of reconciliation. Jesus came, inaugurated his public ministry and trained ministers for the work of God’s kingdom. These ministers were called His apostles. God reconciled us with Himself through His beloved Son Jesus. Jesus emphasized God’s democratic governance. God gave man free will to obey and live or to disobey and die. To obey God is to live out the gospel values. To die is to ignore God by overlooking His commands. The world offers man so much sugar – coated pleasure that entraps him every day. His inability to trace his spiritual origin many a time makes him fall prey to sin. We know that nobody is perfect, but man’s constant disobedience of God’s law negates man’s claim to originate from God. In many societies, there is disharmony and conflicts of all kinds and it is not uncommon to find neighbours who are not in good terms with one another. Even in Christian communities, there is disharmony accompanied with violence and bitterness. In spite of all that God has done for man, man still disobeys Him. Man does his own thing, preferring to pitch camp with Satan. Man does lots of things that show that he is in Satan’s camp.
Many Christians today do things that contradict their claim to Christianity. They forget easily that Jesus suffered and died so that they may have life. Christians now live like pagans. Some Christians today do not want to suffer. The Christians of today want easy way to prosperity, this is why Satan gets us so cheaply by offering us empty promises that will not last long. The devil has inaugurated the war between children of light and children of darkness. He is still waging war in the world today. He uses us to wage war against our fellow human beings. There is war against our need to be together. If we still trust God, we will obey Him. If we know that disobedience is sin we will obey Him. Sin breeds conflict, disobedience and rebellion. It entails not listening to God and those in authority. We must do our best to cooperate with God so we can bring peace to God’s community and not be vendors of false values. Christians should know that sin does not only injure, but also disfigures us because it offends our good and all loving father.
The horror and stupidity of sin is that instead of accepting God’s love and favour, we turn our backs on Him, thereby cutting ourselves off from the source of life and salvation. Sin is a slap on the face of Jesus and a renewal of the wounds inflicted on Him on the cross. Christians must flee from sin, realizing what sin is, and what it does to us. Unforgiveness is sin. Harbouring grudges for many years and blaming others of being responsible for our fall is not acceptable. Sin is living outside God’s laws. Sin is not going to confession for many months, yet receiving Holy Communion. When sin weighs us down, we are no longer ourselves. It is a sin to buy many items at Harvest and refusing to pay for them. This is why many parishes today look for other means to do their Harvest to avoid those who buy without payments. At harvest time, the hardened heart who don’t have interest for the progress of the church would buy many harvest items and would not bulge to pay any kobo but when the parish lacks money, he suggests to the parish priest to organize a programme so that people from outside can bring in money into the Parish. This is a way of shifting responsibilities to others. The parish belongs to you, you must build it.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.