Nature of an Army, Part 4: A Sword to Slice Through Sin
I was strolling along one hot summer day –together with a hundred or so other tourists– when I noticed a little group of people on a small rise ahead of me. A man clothed in black stood in the centre of this group; the people gathered around were obviously in serious conversation with him.
Curious, I chugged up the little rise and arrived just in time to hear the man in black say, pointing his finger at a young man, “If you know that something is wrong and you continue to do it, you are LIVING IN SIN.”
My jaw dropped. I think a lot of us were startled at the nerve of this man. By now I had identified the speaker as Governor William Bradbury himself. (Well, in theory. He seemed very real at that moment.)
He must have seemed very real to the tourist he was pointing at, too. Forgetting this was just a museum and that the man before him was an actor playing a role, the young man gasped and sputtered, then blurted out rather angrily, “How do YOU know YOU’RE right?”
(Do I ever wish I could have heard the beginning of this conversation!)
Governor Bradbury answered, “Well, I believe I’ve had an experience with the Lord.”
My mind froze on that one. I knew this was a museum and this man was only acting a role. SURELY he couldn’t make such a statement if it wasn’t true. Even if he was getting paid for playing this part, surely he wouldn’t –couldn’t– tell a lie of that caliber before God and man. That would be like inviting a thunderbolt from the blue. Whoever he was in real life, this man HAD to be telling the truth!
I found out later I was right. One of our tenth cousins a few times removed also worked at this museum; she told us later that this man, in his regular clothes, was an evangelical pastor in a local church. I heaved a sigh of relief for his sake. Some things you should never lie about.
This incident happened back in 1988 when the Goodenows, Goodnows, Goodenos. Goodnos, Goodenoughs, Goodnoughs, etc., held the clan’s 350th Anniversary of coming to America. They came on the Confidence and landed in Boston Bay, going on to found the town of Sudbury. The Reunion was held at a hotel in Marlborough so we could tour the area.
While there, Bob and I took this little side trip to Plymouth and toured the “living museum” called Plimouth Plantation. On entering we travelled back in time to observe the Puritan colony as it was in 1628; everything has been recreated as perfectly as possible, including the religious convictions of those people. And they were not at all shy in expression them.
What I heard that day left a deep impression on me. This actor was using Bible truth skilfully (“the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:17.) He was ready and able to slice through human reasoning and excuses, not sparing the carnal flesh.
If this man could be so bold as part of an act, what about me? I believe this exact same thing. Would I have the courage to say those words? Am I familiar with the sword? Have I trained in how and when to use it?
Or am I too afraid of nicking someone, perhaps drawing a bit of blood – and hostility? Would I rather leave people to find their own way to Heaven–or go lost? I”m afraid I’ve been too much influenced by our society nowadays, that wants everything soft-pedalled.
Tolerance is IN.
“To each his own” is IN
“Different strokes for different folks” is IN.
“It takes all kinds to make a world” is IN
“Everyone has their own convictions” is IN.
“God loves us all” is IN.
“Wrong” is OUT.
Calling sin SIN is OUT.
Saying there is an absolute, eternal Truth is OUT
What Governor Bradford said that day is VERY OUT.
It’s not kind or useful to go around slicing everyone we see. We’ll wear ourselves out if we try to stab every wrong we come across. But a soldier who’s ashamed of, or unwilling to use, his sword won’t get very far in the battle before the enemy slices him.