An article written by my father, the Rev. C. Thomas Paige, as it appeared in the Tri-State Defender on the date shown.
Continuing our general theme, “Greatest Questions in the Bible,” this week our concern is found in Genesis 4:9 – “Where is Abel, thy brother?”
This question takes on new importance today because in all areas of life, we find people in all conditions. Here in city, we have the friend-less, the food-less and the Savior-less. On the other side of the ledger, there are people who are enjoying the fullest of all things.
We wonder why such things could be but they are, nevertheless. Somewhere in this vast horde of people are those who are kin to all of us – you and me. We wonder how did they get that way only because, somewhere down the line, we have failed to live up to our fullest expectations. Here we find a man who has recently slain his brother and when being questioned, the first thing that popped in his mind was an untruth. “I don’t know!” Each of us knows where our brother is the same way that Cain knew where Abel was.
Today there are people – our brothers – who are physically, morally, economically and spiritually dead because we made them so. Only a few days ago, I was surprised to learn some of the things that were being said about a certain person of our city.
The things were of such distressing nature that I found myself praying fervently that these things would never fall on the ears of the person because I knew that they would do much to upset him. In the next breath, I found myself asking God to give him strength to hear all of these horrible things. There are thousands and thousands of people where they are today because of our malicious tongues and evil wills.
There are people who are unchurched today because of some of us. There are people who have lost all desire to live because there are those of us who have talked so much that they have no further urge to be anybody. There are people today who are homeless and friendless because some of us have taken upon ourselves to spread unfavorable gossip that has all but killed them. There are people who are prostrate upon the ground, lifeless and hopeless, because some of us, who proclaim to be so righteous and holy, have laid down our righteousness and holiness long enough to stand on the corners and stab our brother in the back with unwarranted words and phrases.
I have often said that there are people in this world who would not dare kill a person with a razor, knife or gun, but these same people will use their tongues over the telephones and on the street corners to kill people. The unfortunate part of this whole program is that there are many people who are not physically dead but who have lost all desire to be anybody or anything. According to my way of thinking, when evil forces work upon a man to the extent that he loses all desire to be something, that man is dead – just as dead as he will ever be.
A few Sundays ago I listened to a minister’s wife giving some very sound advice to a young man. This young man was – and still is – in the throngs of bitter distress. He occupies an important place in God’s program and as I passed by, I heard this minister’s wife say to him:
Young man, you don’t know what God has in store for you. Maybe there are souls assigned to you tat only you will be able to lead to God. Don’t let bitterness, hatred, anguish and gossip keep you from doing God’s will.
These words did more for me than anyone will ever be able to realize. I know that in the midst of hatred, meanness, envy, and heartaches we are inclined to become bitter. But God cannot use a man whose heart is filled with bitterness and hatred. In the midst of all of this, we must gird ourselves up and let God soften our hearts to those who are hard to us.
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