In a recent meeting, a friend remarked that I talk like a father. Upon asking him what he meant by that expression, he told me that so often I talk about my children and I view the world through the lens of how situations are going to affect the lives of children. He concluded his explanation that under no circumstances, can I hide or deny that I am a father.
His explanation made me think of a passage that Paul writes to Timothy when he says, If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot deny himself (2 Tim. 2:13).” In His essence, God has certain characteristics that identify who the Holy Trinity is. God is truth and he cannot be falseho0d, God is light and he cannot be darkness, God is love and he cannot be hate, God is life and he cannot be death.
In my life, there are certain characteristics or realities that I am, which I cannot deny. I am a committed husband to my wife until death do us part and I cannot pretend that I am a single guy. I am a father of four wonderful children and I like to be known as their father. I am a European, a Western thinking man and no matter how hard I try to be an internationalist, I have a great appreciation of the culture and heritage that I have received. I am a Trinitarian Christian and no matter how many other religions I study and appreciate, I always come back to the fact that I have committed my life to Christ and I cannot deny that His presence in my life has shaped me in so many ways.
A couple of weeks ago, in a conversation with James Foley’s parents, Pope Francis remarked that Foley’s death was martyrdom. The substantiation for this statement was that James Foley was given an opportunity to deny his commitment to Christianity and live, but decided instead to remain strong in his faith. He could not deny who he was – he was a Christian, he was a journalist seeking the truth, he was a Christian who could not deny Him who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he dies, he shall live.”
In the time of Jesus, we encounter Judas who betrayed Him and Peter who denied Him. In the passing of history, other people took their place. They betrayed and denied – sometimes for large sums of money and sometimes by a simple questioning look from a regular, non-threatening person.
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The Christ-likeness that God produces in us make us steady, firm, and willing to count the cost and then continue our life’s journey representing God who cannot deny Himself.