Just under sixteen hundred years ago, a young boy was taken as a slave. He was made to live in filth and horrid conditions. He was mistreated and exploited. He, of all the people in history, had a right to be filled with hatred. His name is known as Patrick.
He could surely have sought to use his freedom and families wealth to retaliate and get “justice.” Instead, Patrick longed for something else entirely. Patrick knew that those who had mistreated and exploited him were themselves, slaves.
Romans 6:16-20 reads
16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin [a]resulting in death, or of obedience [b]resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that [c]though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, [d]resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, [e]resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
His heart and his God would not allow him to forget those people who mistreated him. But rather than being consumed with hate, Patrick recognized his own unworthiness. He knew that like himself, the Irish people needed Christ. For without Christ no man is righteous.
This is important for us today for this very reason. As we look at our country today, there are many temptations to hate and seek our own brand of justice. Whether it is blacks against whites over slavery or citizens against illegals because they are stealing wealth; many seek the world’s justice.
But, if we are going to see peace in our land, we like Patrick must seek the release of others from this brand of justice. We must strive to see them reconciled to Christ.
As Patrick said
If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.
May we have this spirit of humble love this St. Patrick’s Day.