Bible Relevance

The Bible has been described as a book that speaks to every situation. We can certainly attest that from our experience through a protracted civil war in Sri Lanka. After a terrible riot had engulfed our land and triggered the war, I was struck by the fact that the Bible records that when the first Christians encountered persecution, their initial reaction was to reflect on the sovereignty of God over history. Even when situations seemed hopeless and deeply saddening, I could never get away from this message that the Bible presents: though human history may be moving in depressing directions the Lord of the universe has not abandoned this world. He is working out his purposes. If so, our biggest challenge is to align ourselves with his will without getting discouraged and losing hope. This enables us to be agents of hope and healing among wounded people.

But how about the people deeply wounded by the violence in the land. Is what the Bible says true, that it is possible and necessary to forgive enemies and that God sovereignly works through their pain to achieve something good for them? That too I have seen. People who have every reason to be consumed by bitterness and depression have instead become examples of joy and love resulting in some remarkably anomalous situations. A Christian worker held for fifteen months in prison on suspicion of being a terrorist but without charges ends up caring for and counselling a prison official who is discouraged over the situation in his home. Two widows whose husbands were martyred refuse to leave their field of ministry and continue to share the love of Christ with the people there. When I went to console a Christian friend who had lost all his belongings after his house was set on fire by people of my race, I find him consoling me because of my sorrow over what had happened.

Everyone accepts the fact that righteousness and love are the answer to our fractured world. But few believe it is possible to practice this way. The Bible not only prescribes this way of living; experience has proved that it is indeed possible to follow this way.