Mt 18:21-19:1 Making God Evident
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times...”
The “absence of evidence” should not be confused as “evidence of absence”. When someone says that God is not very evident it does not mean he is absent. It means they should continue asking, seeking and knocking. If I can’t see God, the reason may very well be because He stands behind me. It doesn’t mean he is absent from me.
If I have never had a steak, it doesn’t mean that steaks do not exist. If I have never been married, it doesn’t mean that marriage is overrated. If I have been stuck in a lousy marriage, it doesn’t mean that marriage is lousy. If I rarely ever experienced the warmth of my father or the love of my mother, it does not mean that God does not exist. If anything, it means that sin exists.
There have been far too many individuals who lacked normalcy and made up for it with atrocity. I recently finished reading a book by Paul Johnson entitled, “Intellectuals”. It’s an interesting little book that describes in detail (at times disgusting detail) the dysfunctional, immoral, and egocentric lives of some of the greatest “intellectuals” of recent memory. But what is even more shocking is the tremendous influence these perverted, twisted and confused individuals had on human thought and behavior? I personally think we point to them because we can use them in justifying our own addictive personalities, lifestyles, sexual promiscuities, etc. After all, why love Christ who tells me I’m wrong when I can love Marx who tells me I’m right?
It is amazing just how a few individuals could cause an exuberant amount of pain, misery and confusion on the rest of humanity.
Now if I were to surmise what drove all of them to great sadness or madness and to advocate great evil, I would have to say it was based on the following evidence: an absence of evidence.
Evil is the absence of good.
In other words, since these individuals never experienced a healthy family life, a solid Christian education, love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion, then, based on the evidence (or lack of), they concluded that such things do not really exist.
God is love. And the problem with God being love (if there is a problem with that), is that love is evident yet mysterious. Love is like the sun. The sun helps us to see clearly everything around us, except the sun! We can’t stare at it, unless it is clouded over; and then, we can’t see it clearly – as it truly is.
Forgiveness and giving is evidence of love. If we love, then we forgive and give. If we do not love, then it remains absent.
The Lord told Peter, “You must forgive, always.” The problem with intellectuals is that if there is nothing to forgive, then there is nothing to give. This only makes the world’s problems even worse.
How often must I forgive? Always. And this will keep God evident in our world.
This is how they will know you belong to me (cf. Jn 13:35).