It is February 2012. Joana has brought her son Vinnie to Boots in Ipswich for a routine eye test. The Optometrist on the day is Honey Rose. She looks at Vinnie’s eyes and gives Vinnie a clean bill of health. Fast forward five months to July 2012. Vinnie is admitted to the hospital, and dies shortly aged 8, due to fluid building up on his brain.
It turns out that when Honey examined Vinnie she failed to spot obvious abnormalities in both of his eyes. In fact, had she even checked the photographs taken by another staff showing the back of Vinnie’s eye, she would have spotted that Vinnie suffered from a serious condition in which optic discs at the back of each eye become swollen because of raised pressure within the skull.
As the QC said during the trial, Honey missed something that any competent optometrist" and would have seen! The failure to properly diagnose Vinnie’s condition led to his tragic death. Honey was rightly sentenced for gross negligence manslaughter.
The tragic death of Vinnie is a reminder to all of us of the high price of poorly diagnosing our physical condition. And yet as tragic as Vinnie’s death is, there is even something more tragic – failing to properly diagnosis your spiritual condition. What is the true state of your faith? How do you know you are truly trusting in God in accordance with the Bible?
The apostle John in his first letter gives various tests of what true faith looks. And among those tests is that a true child of God loves the Fater and His family: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3).
Two things are always are true when babies are born. First, every baby is born into some family. The family not be functional or loving, but that child is born into a family. Second, the baby has certain physical characteristics of his or her parents. He may have the eyes of his mother or a nose like his father. Newborns have characteristics of their parents that becomes more recognisable as time passes.
The christian life is like that. When are born again, we are not orphans, God is now our Father and we have siblings. Because God is love, all children of God bear his resemblance of love. We love God and we love His children. This is a redline for God. You are not a true child of God if you do not love God and His children. In fact loving God and his family are the essence of the commandments given by the Lord Jesus.
Now some people may say, that is just impossible. The bar of love is too high! But John says it is not a burden at all because we have been born of God. Jesus did not come to die on a bloody cross to make us nicer people. Jesus has come to radically and eternally transform us. Jesus does this by giving us a new spiritual DNA that now relates to God as our Father and to other believers as genuine children of God.
Every country has laws that places responsibilities on parents to take care and protect their children (not to neglect them). Is it a burden for parents to obey such laws to care for their children? Do parents obey the laws out of fear of prison? No! They obey the law out of love!
This is the same with all true children of God. It is not a burden to obey God to love Him and His children because we are truly His children! Not just children, but children who have the very love of God in us. Where there is true love it lightens the burden of obedience. Jacob had to work for 7 years to win the woman he loved, but Bible says they seemed just a like a few days because of the love he had for her.
Some people treat the church of God as a burden to them. They see God and His people as a burden they must overcome to get to the Heavenly City. But such people are not true followers of Jesus. Because true love from God produces joyful obedience.
Such people are lost and do not realise that our life with God is a loving family relationship. We live for God out of love for our Father. And God gives us his commands in the first place because he loves us. All who are true children of God have genuine evidence of love for God and His people in your life. If you do, then you are truly born of God! The third mark of true faith is persevering faith..
Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2017