The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Friday, August 17, 2012

God is not pleased!

God is not pleased can be heard echoing through the rooms of my home. I've been quoted this line more than once by my son when he felt that I was behaving contrary to what God expects of me. You just got to love the innocence of children. I thank God for the Catholic education that my children receive, as well as for the Religious Knowledge teacher of St. Thomas More School "Mrs. Ingraham" who instills this into her students on a regular basis.

We can truly learn a thing or two from our children today. There's an old Bahamian song that speaks about bending the tree while it's young; well we must reach the hearts of our children while they are still fresh and eager to do what is right so they can impart the simple tasks that God asks of each of us: To love Him and to love others as He loves us. Well that's easy right? Actually if we stopped for a moment and ask one simple question; and that is: Do I truly love God with my whole being? You may be surprised by the answer if you searched deep within yourself.

As Jesus told us when speaking with His disciples: "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Mt 18:3. You're probably thinking that that should be easy for lots of men as they behave like children in their own special way, but I do not believe Jesus was referring to being silly and goofy like a child. Children, at a very young age, do not worry themselves about the color of another child's face. They do not care how much money the other child's parents have. If they are raised in a Christian home all they know is love until the world begins to influence them negatively.

Sin today is not thought of as much as it should, just as hell is not the topic of discussion around the dinner table. Nonchalantly we hear people say: "everyone sins" as if it is not a big deal, but there is a price to be paid for our sins. We sin with not much thought about what happens to our relationship with God when we do. I am of the assumption that many have fallen into the belief that if they haven't murdered or is guilty of infidelity, then they have not committed any grave sin. "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Jn 8:7

Our Lady of Fatima says that most people go to hell because of sins of the flesh. I can't go against Our Lady, but I have to wonder the number of people who find themselves in the lake of fire for the sin of gossip and slander? Again, we tend to see this as a harmless practice because we do it so often that it comes as second nature to us. However, Jesus warns us in Mt 12:36 that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. I have spoken about gossiping in a similar article that outlines the various types of gossiping, with which some forms can lead to mortal sin.

The old folk used to say that if you can't say something good about others, don't say anything at all." So why then do we sit around idly indulging in small talk about someone who is not there to defend themselves? In many cases the person who is receiving the information goes back to the other person being talked about and inform them of the conversation. Likewise, if someone is sharing news with you about someone else, he/she may also be gossiping about you to someone else. The circle of gossip continues at that point, with negative, controversial and sensational talks.

Gossiping is nothing new to the world of evil practices for it was most likely satan who first initiated gossip by spreading slander to the fallen angels when he wanted to overthrow God. Avoid small talk with someone who wants to engage in small talk about someone, especially if the person just left the room (that's certainly a true sign of someone who has poor intentions). This individual can also try to trap you into entertaining him/her by repeating the same line over and over again, like a fisherman throwing his line out repeatedly until he hooks a catch.

How can we say we love God when we engage in idle chit chat  about others, with words that are less than favorable? There are many scripture verses that speak against gossip and slander. In Roman 1:32 Paul indicates that those who gossiped and bad-mouthed others were worthy of the death sentence just as the murderers, the sexual perverts, and those who hate God. "Gossip is as sinful as murder and will suffer the same consequences unless there is repentance (Rom. 1:32)."

Let's take a look at what scripture says about gossiping and loosely speaking:
  • And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. (Rom. 1:28-30).
  • Scoundrels, villains, are they who deal in crooked talk. Shifty of eye, feet ever moving, pointing with fingers, They have perversity in their hearts, always plotting evil, sowing discord. (Prov. 6:12-14).
  • No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear. (Eph. 4:29).
  • I said, “I will watch my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth.” (Psalms 39:2).
  • One who slanders reveals secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence. (Prov. 11:13).
  • Perverse speech sows discord, and talebearing separates bosom friends. (Prov. 16:28).
  • A slanderer reveals secrets; so have nothing to do with a babbler! (Prov. 20:19).
  • Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers, but temperate and faithful in everything. (1 Tim. 3:11). 

To be like a child once again to enter the Kingdom of God requires only that we put aside our evil ways and think and act as when we were children. Our children today learn by example, so it is important that we display love for our neighbors regardless of color, creed and political ties. Children are more inclined to develop relationships rather than tear them apart so there is indeed a lesson to be learnt in Jesus' words to suffer the little children to come unto Him. If ever you feel that you are about to engage in idle talk about someone or if someone may begin small talk about the same, then remember those simple words "God is not pleased," as a reminder of our duty.

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