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Show them your Bible


During the 1980’s, Northern Ireland was heavily militarised, due to the constant threat from terrorism. Security checks on travellers in cars became a part of everyday life, and we waited patiently in long lines of traffic, while the soldiers and police searched the cars, looking for arms and explosives and other paramilitary equipment. Sometimes the queues caused serious traffic disruption, and people were kept late for appointments and late for work.

Sometimes there were moments of humour. On one occasion a soldier asked me to open my boot so that he could check for explosives, and recoiled back in shock when he saw that I was carrying the dead carcasses of two hens! (the two offending birds had just been slaughtered by a relative who was a farmer, and were intended for plucking, gutting and soup making).

It’s another one of those occasions that I’m thinking about today. It was the mid 80’s and were travelling in the car along a rural road in the direction of the the Co Down village of Donaghcloney, when we came upon the inevitable queue of traffic. An army road check was ahead, and about four or five cars were ahead of us. As we waited our turn to be questioned and searched, I frantically looked for some form of identification. A driver’s licence would usually do, but I had left my wallet at home, and the licence was with it. Realising the hassle that this would cause, I expressed my annoyance. Sitting in the back of the car were my two children, and Tim, my son, who was about six at the time, ha the answer to the problem. ‘Don’t worry Daddy,’ he said, ‘just show them your Bible, that’ll do!’

Now I don’t really remember what happened when we got to the soldiers, although I can testify that we weren’t delayed very long at the check point, but Tim had raised a serious issue, in his own childlike way. He had imagined that as soon as the soldiers realised that we were Christians, they would be satisfied with our identity, would understand that we were unlikely to be terrorists, and let us pass. A man who carried a Bible, surely could never be a murderer, or a bomber or a terrorist.

Of course that is true. If we have known God’s grace in our lives and if we are submitting ourselves to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit – if our lives are being regulated by reading and reflection uoon God’s Word, we will surely live lives that are pleasing to Him, and which will reflect His divine character. After all, the Psalmist wrote, I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV)

God’s Word changes our lives. It changes them inwardly, but what is happening inwardly should be outwardly recognisable.

From → Editorial

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