Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8 – NIV)
In a Mafalda cartoon, Felipe is seen walking through a park where he meets Miguelito. As she passes near him she sees that he bends down, runs a finger across the floor, picks it up dirty and exclaims loudly:
“Mafalda is right, this planet in which we live is fading.”.
Then Felipe walks away in surprise as he thinks:
“The bad thing about always having your ears to the ground is that you are exposed to hear things like this”.
And you don’t have to go very far to see how true this statement is. You only have to open a newspaper or listen to a news program to see it.
Politicians, of one ideology or another, who affirm one day the opposite of what they affirmed the day before. People who disqualify the adversary for doing the same thing they boasted about in the past.
Anyone who thinks differently is an enemy to be defeated, or better yet, to be swept away and eliminated from public life.
That is why, among other things, the church is persecuted when it presents the message of salvation.
Especially when it warns the world that, no matter how hard he tries, it will not be his actions that will bring life, peace and true freedom to mankind, but only pain, confrontation and anguish.
Because those, life, peace and freedom can only come from Christ, when from repentance we accept his sacrifice and lordship.
The bad thing about this state of tension in which we live is that the church is not being influential. Respect and temperance in dealing with others is not being promoted. On the contrary, it is falling into the same trap of contention and confrontation.
It is very common to find a great number of publications in social networks, in defense of doctrinal positions that have nothing to do with the essential principles of Salvation.
And, curiously, they are the ones that generate the most bitter debates, in which they disqualify each other in aggressive ways. Debates devoid of all sense of respect and consideration that, as children of God, we owe each other.
After all, the Lord Jesus himself left us some words with a very strong message:
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.Matthew 5:22
Of course we may disagree, and of course we may be wrong. But being wrong is no justification for disqualifying or being personally disqualified.
I hope this is not what they intend to do. But the image conveyed by those who do so is that they are more concerned with maintaining a presumed status of spiritual superiority than with transmitting to the world the life, peace and freedom of which we boast so much.
With the aggravating factor that, in time, this attitude of being against everything and everyone will fill their hearts with bitterness.
And the world sees these things. And with this we are giving him more arguments to deny God.
The church at Philippi ran the risk of falling into the same trap. Therefore, the apostle Paul writes to this church and exhorts them to seek unity. They had to be willing to support one another generously, to turn away from murmuring and to receive trials with joy.
So it is not surprising that, in the farewell of the letter to the Philippians, Paul addresses these words to them:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8
Christians are not called to stir up the garbage or ungodliness in which those who rebel against God live.
It is true that we must highlight injustice and work to eliminate it. But let us remember that Jesus sent us all over the world to preach the Gospel, not a pretended spiritual superiority.
Nor even less to judge other Christians according to our criteria or our calling; as if a specific calling makes us better than others, or our criteria are always correct.
Therefore, Paul exhorts the Philippians to occupy their minds with everything that promotes unity and respect among believers. And, by extension, to put ourselves in the right attitude to fulfill our duty: to be God’s ambassadors.
Let us think about the things that are true. Let us forget the fables and tales of this world that, with its follies, seeks only to divide us and generate confusion.
Let’s think about the honest things. And let us think honestly, without excusing our wrong behaviors.
Let us think about what is just and what is pure. Let us not put into the mouths of others what they have not said, nor presuppose intentions that have not been expressed.
Let us think of all that is kind, all that is of good name. And let us act in this way with those around us, fleeing from murmuring and arrogance.
And let us think of virtuous things, of things worthy of praise. Let us recognize the value of God’s things, as well as the effort and work of those around us.
For only in this way will our mind be filled with gratitude to God, humility and joy.
And because only in this way can we make the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:45 come true: …that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
God bless you.
Photo by John Price on Unsplash