The Three Stooges
Published 10:36 am Saturday, June 16, 2018
by Darnell Whitfield
1st John chapter 4 (NIV)
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen, 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Why isn’t the church today as effective as in the times of the Apostle Paul, Peter or John? I can go one step further and ask why isn’t the church as effective as it was 50 years ago?
The answer lies within the title of this article and that is the Three Stooges are at work in today’s Christian life.
Who are the Three Stooges? Well, they are not Moe, Larry and Curly. Simply, they are FEAR, IGNORANCE and HATE, or the opposites of LOVE!
I remember getting the Engineering Department at Cox Communications and on my first day several gentlemen came to me stating that a particular individual was racist and did not like blacks in particular, and my response on that day was “REALLY?”
Even though I have had racial incidents in my life such as being chased by a group of Caucasian males while walking home from school, being accosted several times by police officers in Newport News, called racial slurs while walking past Newport News High School, during an interview for a job at Montgomery Ward in Hampton I was told by the interviewer that my drawing portfolio was very good, but “we don’t hire you people for this position.” Or while at Sears Roebuck and Company while waiting to pick up an order, a Caucasian woman says, “We would accept you people better if you would smile more.”
I think you understand that I have been a recipient of racism much of my life, however I have never allowed racism to mold me into a person of hate.
To hate those who hate me is to lower the standards that my mother and many elders instilled in me, and that is to counter hatred with love and pray for my enemies.
I have always had a deep-rooted belief that the greatest revenge to our enemies is not to take up a weapon and annihilate your enemy, but to pray God’s will over their lives that they may become what we who of God are, a Christian.
People fear what they do not understand, and that person that they have never known become s the target of hurtful words, denied access to the same blessing that God has bestowed upon all of mankind and they sometimes are attacked because of the ignorance of their accusers, and when that thought is mingled with hatred we find that deadly, and sometimes fatal, decisions are made.
When it comes to Christians, we are to be an example of God’s love, as found in our reading today in 1st John chapter 4 (NIV):
20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen, 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Remember when I was told on my first day at work, “that man is a racist and he especially don’t like blacks”? Well, I am happy to say that man became one of my best friends, and when I left Cox Communications he insisted that I keep in touch with him.
And while I’m at it, even though I had to face a lot of racism in my life, I have to say that many people from diverse backgrounds, religions and cultures have become an integral part of my life, from high school to this present day. You are probably asking, how could I love people while being attacked? The answer is simple. I extended a friendly hand, a smile and I have always done my best to represent Jesus Christ in my dealings with everyone I came in contact with.
I live by Colossians chapter 3:
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 … And always be thankful.
When we love and show it, we transfer from the three stooges to the example of the triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit!
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, (June 17.)
Live your life in truth, because the truth shall set you free!
May God richly bless you, by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ!
DARNELL WHITFIELD is senior pastor of Diamond Grove Baptist Church in Franklin. Contact him at 742-1343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.