June 30, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. - 1 Corinthians 13:4.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:30-32.
But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. - Luke 6:27-31.
Ronald Michalowicz, who was only 54 years old at the time, developed cancer of the tongue, which was thought would rapidly lead to his death. However, some friends in the town of Bedford Park, Illinois decided to raise the money necessary for him to receive treatment. After receiving chemotherapy, the disease is in remission and it appears that Ronald will survive.
Ronald worked as a fire inspector for Bedford Park, which has a rule against solicitation of charitable contributions. In Ronald’s situation, the rule was waived by an official of the town and the solicitation was not done by Ronald himself. Now that he has returned to work, other town officials have enforced the no-solicitation rule by firing Ronald even though he was just one year short of retirement.
Personally, I think the town ought to be ashamed! They should be ashamed in the first place for not providing sufficient insurance to meet the needs of their employees. Second, they ought to be ashamed that it was not the town but others that sought to raise the funds necessary for his treatment. The fact that they have resisted those efforts and that they discharged a man who survived in spite of their poor treatment of him is despicable. It appears likely that the town will profit by being able to avoid the payment of Ronald’s retirement benefits.
It is a fact of life that some people are givers and some are takers. Some people are kind and some people are mean. Some people care about others and some people could care less about anyone but themselves. You could say in a figurative way that some people have a heart and some do not have a heart. It basically comes down to the spiritual condition of a person as to how they treat others.
What is the solution for a bad spiritual heart condition? The treatment requires a heart transplant. Our heart must be replaced with the heart of Jesus. His nature must be implanted into us. It is a radical treatment, but it is the only way to cure a mean, cold-hearted person of their selfish, uncaring nature. The good news is that the treatment can be almost instantaneous and often occurs simply by someone seeing clearly how much their God loves them through Jesus.
I like the way that the apostle Paul describes this transformation in his letter to Titus, "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men (Titus 3:3-8)."