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Practice what you preach

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By Pr Isaiah White

A story is told of a woman who waited in a long line with her son to see Mahatma Ghandi. When she finally got her audience, she asked him to speak to her son.

You see, Gandhi was known to emphasize dietary discipline and her son’s health was deteriorating due to the amounts of sweets and sugar he was eating.

“Mahatma, would you please tell my son to stop eating sugar.”

Gandhi looked at her with sympathy and compassion, looked upon the boy as well, and then shook his head and said, “I will not.”

The woman protested and began to ask Gandhi again, but he raised his hand interrupting her saying: “Please, come back in two months and ask me again.” Disappointed, the woman left.

Two months later, she returned with her son and made her plea again.

“Mahatma, please tell my son to stop eating sugar.” This time, Gandhi got up from where he was seated.

He reached out his hand, touched the boy on his shoulder, and said, “My son, you must stop eating sugar.”

The boy was obviously affected by the great Gandhi touching and speaking to him. His mother was overjoyed and profusely thanked Gandhi before turning to leave.

After making a few steps, she stopped, turned around, and said, “Great Mahatma, I am so thankful, but confused. Why didn’t you just tell my son to stop eating sugar two months ago?”

Gandhi looked at her kindly and said, “Because I was eating sugar two months ago”.

Mahatma Ghandi refused to preach what he was not practicing. (Source/India Today)

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Romans 2:21-24: “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?

“You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

“You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

In Romans 1 and 2, Paul is dealing with two particular categories of sociology after he introduces the Gospel.
The first is the Jews who represent believers, therefore the moral side.

The second is Gentiles who largely represent non-believers, representing the immoral side.

The image that Apostle Paul paints is twofold: first, he reminds his readers that the believer ought not to conduct themselves as non-believers do.

Secondly, he reminds moral teachers that the best way to teach is to live a lifestyle that practically exhibits their belief values.

Failure to put faith in action is a misrepresentation, not just of the faith we confess, but also of the object of that faith, which is God Himself.

Too guilty to preach
In the moral story that we started with, Ghandi did not want to teach about what he struggled with himself.

The point is not that only those who have perfected themselves in a particular moral area have the exclusive right to teach others on the same.

Even those who are struggling with an addiction, but don’t like it, can always tell others how bad it is.

Someone who is HIV positive has the moral authority to warn those who are negative about the pain.

The idea of faith in action, however, is to ensure that Christians take the responsibility of not just being guinea pigs in the lab of God, but the real fruits of lives impacted by the Holy Spirit.

When Ghandi was introduced to the fight between a mother and her son about sugar, he acted as an honest man who was struck by guilt.

He must have asked himself; how could I be still eating sugar?

With that in his mind, he knew he could not contribute to that private failure with the hypocrisy of publicly preaching against sugar.

The question to all of us is: how much are we putting our faith into action? When are we going to attempt to act on what we believe?

The writer is a life coach and pastor.
Contact: +256 775 822 833
whitemwine@gmail.com

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