It matters how we live our lives on this earth
Fidel Castro, one of the most brutal dictators in modern history has died. Writing in the Washington Post, Carlos Eire, Professor of history and Religious Studies at Yale University wrote,
“If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro’s tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points — a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.” Here are some of the bullet points he lists:
● Castro was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon
● He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators.
● He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
● He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
● He never apologised for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.
I am reminded here of the Advent message where our attention is focused on the Second Advent of Christ, when he will return as judge and establish the kingdom of God.
“Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left,” said Jesus in Matthew 24:41.
The Bible makes no sense at all without the notion of judgement. Like it, or not, there will be an accounting, because it matters how we live our lives on this earth.
However, this should not necessarily strike us as a fearful message. On the contrary, we should be more afraid of a God who doesn’t care how we treat one another. We should be more afraid of a God who doesn’t care how we live our lives on this earth.
Although we cannot know the day and hour when we will be judged, we have been told all we need to know. We have Jesus as our model and we have the Scriptures to guide us.
For instance, in Matthew Chapter 25, we are given some pretty good advice – feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, welcome the stranger, give water to the thirsty and take care of the sick.
Jesus did give us some explicit guidance about the conduct God demands of us human beings. Unfortunately, some disregard those demands, but ultimately, we will be held to account for our actions.