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Written by R.W.Cothern   

The Banner of Love--January 1, 1953

Experience is a great teacher. Sometimes we stumble onto sad occasions that cause us to think-I hope-more clearly of just what is our duty to our fellow man.

Dropping in today to see an old fellow who has been sick a long time, and given up by the doctor, and just waiting to die; who has been frustrated by some preachers asking him to do different things to be saved, one of which was to be baptized, etc., the old fellow feels that he is completely devoid of any righteousness, utterly unworthy of any claim to be a child of God; feels that he is just in the way, helpless, and an unnecessary burden on his family and friends. He broods over his dark and sinful past, and although he has a little hope that, he will be carried home to heaven at death, as far as life now is concerned, he feels lonely, poor, and helpless.

I talked to him awhile, about current events, the weather, etc. but he soon asked me if I would get the Bible and read some to him, which I did, selecting the 13th chapter of Cor., which begins, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity--" and concluded with "For now we see as through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even also as I am known." And the old fellow reached out, took hold of my hand, and broke down in violent weeping.

I tried to tell him about the great sacrifice that Jesus had made for him; a sacrifice that God was "pleased with," and with which He was "satisfied." God does not look on our sins or lack of righteousness, but looks on what Jesus did for us, and we are completely acquitted of all sin, and stand redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Washed and made pure; "tho our sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." Then have great reason to rejoice, and should not continue to weep over things in the unholy past, but should look up with joy in our hearts because of that love, and glorious sacrifice of blessed Jesus. I told him that we all knew these things, in a way, but we know them "in part," and see them only as "through a glass darkly," because we still live in this sinful body and have this great "treasure" hidden in an old "earthly vessel." So we, like John, need to be "shown AGAIN how the lame are made to walk, and the blind made to see." We need someone to help us put these truths together so they may more forcefully revive our faith, then joy bursts out like a blaze of sunshine from behind the dark clouds of doubt, and we exclaim, "My Lord and My God!" Oh how MUCH we do need each other's help, comfort, and love, more especially when we are sick, weak, and disturbed by conflicting theologies.

How highly the apostle emphasized the great lesson in this chapter about this "charity." People who possess it will not feel like saying, "Oh, well the old man is suffering for the way he has lived," but will feel willing to administer with loving hands to his comfort and needs, and will be far move impressed with his bitter tears of penitence than with the misspent life. This Charity "vaunteth not itself" don't feel so high and mighty that they find it hard or embarrassing or humiliating to forgive an old wrecked life, even tho it now betrays a contrite and broken heart. Did you ever see people who pressed, would "forgive"(?) but do it grudgingly? Is it false pride, or hypocritical spirit that make some seem to want to do their forgiving at a distance-a very LONG distance? Whatever it is, it doesn't look like this Charity. Some even say, "I can forgive, but I can't forget" Is that the way the Lord forgave you your sins? If you feel a haughty and uppity spirit toward a penitent soul begging for forgiveness, it COULD be that such a spirit is as black in the eyes of the Lord as the sins of the penitent one at your feet! A truly good heart--one with this Charity--does not feel belittled to stoop down and forgive, but is GLAD to. "Be ye therefore kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God has, for Christ's sake, forgiven you." If Christ was here, He would not feel soiled or belittled to drag alt old drunk in out of the snow, and extend the kindness he feels for humanity, or divide his lunch with a hungry tramp, and throw in a little food for the soul.

Charity! It is so high and pure; it "thinketh no evil" "beareth all things" "endureth all things!" It takes an awfully good man to live above sin. And when he DOES slip, he has to be a BETTER man to come crawling on his knees and say, "I have sinned and I want you to forgive." And when he does, it takes a STILL BETTER MAN to say with dignity, "I'm not only willing to forgive, but HAPPY to do so," and mean it from the bottom of his heart.

R. W. Cothern

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.