The Way Out of This Mess Is Through the Holy Spirit
Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
Watch the news and what do you see? Riots. People yelling at each other with hatred and malice. People disrespecting police officers and not obeying their legal orders. Police officers shooting people. People shooting police officers. There may be no formal declaration of war, but clearly, it is a war zone out there.
For years, we, as a country, have been getting deeper and deeper into this rut, and for years, we have been failing to work our way out of it. In fact, things have gotten worse. Our solutions have come from the ideas of man. They have been the opinions of our policy "experts", economists, and politicians. And where has it gotten us?
Yesterday, I was going over the words of the "Twelve Days of Christmas." That catchy, iconic Christmas tune, it is said, was actually a code for through which oppressed Catholics in England could remember Christian dogma. For example, the twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of the Apostles Creed; the eleven pipers piping are the eleven apostles minus Judas Iscariot; and the ten lords a leaping represent the Ten Commandments.
The nine ladies dancing are particularly applicable to today's agitations. They represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, as opposed to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are represented by the seven swans a swimming. The gifts of the Holy Spirit, as the name implies, are given to man freely, as a present. As such, they are graces given to us through the Holy Spirit. These gifts are wisdom (sapienta), understanding (intellectus), counsel (consilium), fortitude (fortitudo), knowledge (congitō), piety (pietas), and fear of the Lord (timor Domini). (parentheses in Latin)
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are different. They represent not free gifts given to man, but rather the fruits that we harvest through our faith and our allegiance to God. They come from Chapter 5 of St. Paul's letter to the Galatians. They are nine: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-restraint. Even more fascinating is the direct applicability of the words written by St. Paul in this capacity: "For freedom Christ set us free, so stand firm and do not again submit to the yoke of slavery . . . For you were called for freedom, brothers, but do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you go biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by each other."
And isn't this exactly what we are doing, biting and devouring each other? With our hatred and our rhetoric aimed not at solving problems but at injuring those about whom we speak, are we not consuming each other with our hatred and our bitterness?
It is simply remarkable that a man writing nearly two thousand years ago could be so detailed and accurate in describing the state of our collective existence. Not only are we living out the very reality against which he warned us, we are consumed by the works that Paul said go against the Spirit. Tell me if any of this describes what you're seeing in the news today: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, and orgies. If they do, then take a moment to marvel at Paul's foresight because they are exactly the improprieties he listed in Chapter 5 verses 19 through 21.
The essence of our inherent failure is that we have been trying to solve problems stemming from moral apathy and the rejection of God with policies and laws. No legal corpus will ever solve defects so central to our existence as our agnosticism. Only through a return to a life by the Spirit can we rectify the desperate condition in which we find ourselves. If we did, then we would approach our worldly challenges through the fruits we would have harvested from the Holy Spirit. Specifically, we would be solving the problems that afflict us using love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-restraint
Today, it is not enough that we make a solemn pledge for each of us to "live by the Sprit." Rather we must demand that our schools, our markets, our courts, and our legislatures follow the Spirit as well. It would be a radical departure from the techniques employed by twentieth and twenty-first century man. But doesn't the approach pointed out to us by Paul and offered by the Spirit promise to be much better than the ones we're employing now?
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Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.