By GF Herrin
I have marveled recently at the media slander that U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson has endured. Carson, a humble, intelligent and godly man who thinks before he speaks, has written in his autobiography of how he had a violent temper when he was a teenager before he committed his life to the Lord. Skeptical that such a humble man could ever have a violent streak in his past, numerous media outlets have cast doubt on his story and raised the possibility that Carson made the whole thing up.
The toughest thing for any unbeliever to admit is that God actually exists, is active in the world today, and can make a difference in our personal behavior. Many anti-supernatural skeptics paint anyone who professes belief in a personal God as a freak or fanatic. In most cases, however, the unbeliever’s decision to not believe in a righteous, holy God is not an intellectual decision, but instead is one that comes from emotion. The unbeliever may have had an encounter or experience with someone who professed belief in God, but treated him or her badly or unfairly. Or maybe the person experienced tremendous pain or hardship in his life as a result of the loss of a loved one and blames God for the event. Often, the unbeliever just cannot admit that God exists because it will force him to make a lifestyle change upon admitting that God’s will is more important than his own.
The Bible is clear that in order to have a personal relationship with God, a change must take place. This lifestyle change is the result of being born again.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:3-8).
The reason that the world (including Donald Trump) has a problem in understanding how a man like Ben Carson could change from an angry and violent man into a thoughtful, wise, intelligent, peaceful surgeon, is that they do not understand what it is to be born of the Spirit. The world continually fails to believe that Christians are of one family all united by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. His indwelling is the reason that I can talk to a Japanese merchant, a seminary student from the Congo, or a Hispanic refugee from hurricane Katrina and know that they are all my brothers. From their personal relationship with Jesus Christ comes a common way of approaching life. It is a bond that goes beyond race or nationality.
Then His (Jesus’) brothers and His mother came, and standing outside they sent to Him, calling Him. And a multitude was sitting around Him; and they said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are outside seeking You.” But He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
Being born again into the family of God makes irrelevant the world’s classifications, biases, limitations and discriminations. A Christian may not be free from the world’s judgments or biases against his belief in Christ as the Way, but he is truly free from being burdened by them.
Have you been freed today?