合桃殼 Walnut Shells
作者/英譯﹕ 盧國禮 (Written and Translation in English by Francis Loo)
我相信大家對合桃並不默生﹐很多人都喜歡食合桃﹔屬硬殼果仁﹐含有豐富維生素(維他命)和奧美加3(Omega 3), 是有益的血脂。但是﹐它有一硬的外皮﹐把合桃肉保護著﹐不受外蟲侵擾。若想吃甘味可口的合桃肉﹐或與朋友品茗清茶﹐分享合桃肉﹐作為小食﹐不是懂得響受的生活藝術(哲學)嗎﹖
又想到人的本性 (personality)﹐深藏在人心深處。我們的身體﹐也好像合桃的硬外殼﹐因為許多時候與人相處往來,手肘撐開﹐過於自保﹐失去了人際關係的和諧﹔ 下意識裏﹐我們不能夠表現出自己的真我; 這不是我們的本性﹐而是戴上了面具﹐假裝的本人特性; 我們一切的表現都是個人特殊的個性 (individuality) ﹐ 不可能是個人的本來性格 (personality)。
人類本是照 神的形像造的 (創世記)﹐所以我們本有 神的屬性﹔我們的本性應有 神的真﹑善﹑美﹐和公義 。可是﹐純正的真﹑善﹑美﹐若是只靠修身﹑修道﹑或面壁﹐去完成個人的品格﹐是不完全的。聖經說﹕世上“沒有義人﹐連一個也沒有﹔沒有明白的﹐沒有尋求 神的﹔都是偏離正路﹐…沒有行善的﹐連一個也沒有。(羅馬書﹐三﹕10 – 12﹐ 和合 本)。”因為世人都犯了罪﹐虧缺了 神的榮耀﹕……“(羅馬書﹐三﹕23﹐ 和合本)。
“神設立耶穌作挽回祭﹐是憑著耶穌的血﹐藉著人的信﹐要顯明 神的義﹔因為祂用忍耐的心寬容人先時所犯的罪﹐……” (羅馬書﹐三﹕25﹐ 和合本) 因此﹐肯痛悔﹐並認自己的罪的人﹐接受了耶穌基督為生命的主的人﹐便能白白稱義。有一個法利賽人﹐名尼哥底母 (猶太人的官)﹐夜裏來問耶穌﹔耶穌回答說﹕“… 人若不重生﹐就不能見 神的國。” (約翰福音﹐三﹕3﹐和合本。) 又說﹕“… 人若不是從水和聖靈生的﹐就不能進 神的國。……‘你們必須重生’,……” (約翰福音﹐三﹕5﹐7﹐和合本。)
“神國”或稱為 “神的國度”﹐是甚麼意思呢﹖就是純真﹑善﹑美和公義的國﹐在 神主權裏的國﹐我們因著信能成為祂的國民﹐也是 神的兒女﹐在主耶穌裏與 神同行﹐走上成聖的生活﹐有永恆的盼望。
綱才說了﹐人若不把捆綁著自我特性的外殼打破﹐就無能力將自己的本性活出來﹔若要能將自己的本性活出來﹐就必先重生得救﹐在主耶穌基督裏與 神建立和好的關係。所以…“耶 穌 對 門 徒 說 ﹐ 若 有 人 要 跟 從 我 ﹐ 就 當 捨 己 (…let himself deny himself….) ﹐ 背 起 他 的 十 字 架 ﹐ 來 跟 從 我。(馬 太 福 音﹐16:24﹐和合本) 。 捨己就是把自己的舊我﹐即是自己獨特的性情捨了﹐ 然後活出天父創造人類時恩賜的屬性。這樣的基督徒﹐實實在在忠心事奉﹐愛 神﹐愛人如己﹐乃是有信德的門徒﹐合乎 神心意的真正基督徒。
上﹐有早晨﹐是第六日。” (創世記 1﹕31a)
二 我們要學習分享 神的心事﹕“耶和華在山上﹐從火中﹐面對面與你們說話。
火﹐沒有上山。) 說﹕我是耶和華你的 神﹐曾將你從埃及地為奴之家領出來。”
憫﹑不輕易發怒﹑有豐盛慈愛的神﹐並不丟棄他們。” (尼希米記 9﹕16-17)
試寫下五位曾得罪過自己的人﹐和有關的事情﹐藉著祈禱﹐求神給你一個寬恕別人的心。若不能饒恕得罪自己的人﹐我們也不能得 神的饒恕﹐因為惱怒是罪﹐帶罪的人﹐不能與 神同在。
音和我的懇求。他既向我側耳﹐我一生要求告他。” (詩篇 116﹕1-2)
扶持你。” (以賽亞書 41﹕10)
如果我們實實在在的踏出第一步﹐把上五項﹕[欣賞別人﹑分享心事﹑嘗試饒恕別人﹑聆聽別人心聲﹑盡力幫助他人] 作為操練﹐我們必有從基督而來的恩典﹐打破自我的“合桃殼”活出豐盛的屬靈生命﹐建立真﹑善﹑美 ﹑公義的人際關係。神的國度便在我們的心裏﹐也在世界裏。
Walnut Shells (Written/Translation in English by Francis Loo)
I think we all are not unfamiliar with walnuts. Many people like to eat walnuts—kernels inside a hard husk–rich in vitamins and Omega3, the good fatty acid. But the hard shell is protecting the kernels from external invasion of insects. If you wish to taste the scrumptious walnut kernels, or enjoy it over a cup of tea as a snack—is it not the art or philosophy of life?
Thinking again about the philosophy of life, I associate my thought to the function of the walnut shell. The Creator provides the walnut a hard shell to protect it and when it is broken up it will supply delectable, tasty, nourishing kernels as food everyone loves. And all the more it is an ingredient for making different kinds of delicious foods such as, pastries, cookies, porridge and so on. . . .
Further thinking about personality, which deeply seated in the human hearts, our physical bodies are similar to the hard walnut shells. Oftentimes when we interact with people, we jostle too much for self-protection—losing harmony in human relationship. Subconsciously we cannot express the true self. This is not our personality. Thus it’s the self under the cover of a mask, pretending to be the true self. All that which we express is our individuality—not the individual personality.
Human being was made in the image of God (Genesis). So we all would have the disposition of God. We ought to have God’s truth, excellence, beauty and righteousness.
But, the real truth, excellence, beauty only dependent on self-cultivation, religious practice, or meditating in a cave cannot be fully achieved by the individuals. The Bible says: “There is no righteous. Not even one; there is no one who understand, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, there is no one who does good” (Romans 3:10-12, NIV). “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. . .” (Romans 3:23, NIV).
“God presented himself as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. . . ” (Romans 3:25, NIV). Therefore, one who repents his/her sins and has received Jesus Christ as Lord will be unconditionally saved. There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and asked about him. Jesus replied: “. . . [N]o one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. | (John 3:3). Jesus also said: “. . . [N]o one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. . . ‘You must be born again’. . . (John 3:5, 7).
What is the meaning of the “kingdom of God”? It is the kingdom of real truth, excellence, beauty and righteousness, in the sovereignty of God. Because in faith we’ve become His citizens; also, His children in Christ Jesu, and we walk with God to progress in the holy life with hope in eternity.
How do we walk in the way of life Christ would wish us to live?
I have said that none of us can live out our individual personality without breaking through our shell, which enslaves our personality. If we would like to live out our individual personality, we must be born again by salvation. In our Lord Jesus Christ we’ve reconciled with God. Therefore, “. . . Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ ” (Matthew 16:24, NIV).
Growing up in life needs grooming and actions. Rev. Pastor Peter gave a sermon last week in our church. The subject is “Love in Flames” He succinctly reminded us and taught us good ways to practice. Briefly I wish to share with you as follows:
1. God is pleased with us. We must learn to be mutually pleased. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31a).
Try to write down the names of five persons with things you’re pleased with. Then in opportune circumstances or times tell them the things you’re pleased. We must learn to see others’ good things, be pleased with them, and say honest encouraging words.
2. We should learn to share the will of God. “The Lord spoke to you face to face out of the fire on the mountain. (At that time I stood between the Lord and you to declare to you the word of the Lord, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’ ” (Deuteronomy 5:4-6, NIV).
Try to write down the names of five people with whom you wish to share your thoughts. Mutual sharing establishes good relationship with buddies, and gives them encouragement. Nevertheless we must be prudent and respect privacy.
3 .As God forgives our sins; we ought to endeavor to forgive others. “But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a loving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them . . .” (Nehemiah 9:16-17, NIV).
Try to write down the names of five people who have offended you in matters of concern. In your prayers ask God to give you a forgiving heart. If we do not forgive those who have offended us, we will not be forgiven by God for anger is sin. As a result we cannot be with God.
4. .As God is listening to us., we ought to listen to others. “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live” (Psalms 116:1-2)..
Try to write down the names of five people who will pour out their hearts to you. Listen attentively in his/her presence. Let him/her pour out passionately—do not interrupt with unnecessary words—comfort him/her in silence is the best medicine. Keep conversations confidential.
As God’s hand is helping us, we must earnestly help others. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
Try to write down the names of five people who need your help. Give thoughts to what they need. Pay him or her a visit, extend your assistance or supplicate to God. All these are truly joyful acts.
If we’re truly taking the first step for the above-mentioned five actions (i.e., being pleased with others, heart-to-heart sharing, try to forgive others, attentive listening to others, and help others in earnest) we definitely will have grace from God for us to break through the “self-walnut shell” and live an abundant spiritual life—building up true, excellent, beautiful and righteous human relationships. Then the kingdom of God is within our hearts. And in the world.