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二○一九年十一月二日/十一月三日                                                                                   Click here for English version

試驗

蕭壽華牧師

現今社會局勢動盪,香港教會也面對一種前所未有的衝擊。信徒不單對事態的立場分歧,個人情感上也受到傷害。不少人因此避開聯繫、失去事奉動力,甚至另覓教會。社會上不同政見人士對基督教會的批評有增無減,基督徒面對朋友的質詢、取笑,以致內心不快;有些信徒容易接受外間的看法,對自己教會或某些教會領袖深感不滿。香港教牧領袖普遍表示,近期面對各方信徒的批評和壓力是前所未見之大。另外,網絡上也流傳不少批評教會的視頻,指斥教會的不是,甚或抹黑教會(例如 10 月初流傳教會照片,禮堂長椅上睡了多人,被指是「庇護暴徒」,其後發現這照片是攝於 2009 年一所收容無家者的溫哥華教堂內。)

聖經預言在末世的日子,「民要攻打民,國要攻打國」,教會要面對各種的內憂外患(太二十四 7-13)。但為甚麼神要容許這些事發生在香港、在教會?原因是——神要教會經歷「試驗」:「叫你們的信心既被試驗,就比那被火試驗仍然能壞的金子更顯寶貴,可以在耶穌基督顯現的時候得著稱讚、榮耀、尊貴。」(彼前一 7)金礦要經高溫才能煉出純金,教會要經患難才能得以煉淨、純潔。

在這些日子,我們往往會一方面宣認無論是「猶太人、希臘人、自主的、為奴的……在基督裡都成為一」,但另一方面卻因弟兄是黃營、藍營,就不再包容他、愛護他。我們知道末世有許多迷惑人的事,但當看到與自己立場配合的文宣,卻會輕易接受,並據此指斥相識多年的弟兄,強逼別人表態。有基督徒相信是神立王、廢王,也知道自己要在地上行公義、為公義發聲,但當發現自己所作的努力「沒果效」,就不相信神仍在掌權,並且不再是分享、勉勵別人同行,而是認為「沒果效」是沒發聲、沒行動的人的責任,因而輕蔑醜化別人,而自己也落入要以「更有效」的暴力手法達到目的的試探。

在這些試驗中我們要轉向神,承認我們的信心是多麼易受環境影響,我們對真理的委身是多麼薄弱,懇求神加力量,叫我們醒悟為善,去向自己曾傷害過的人尋求寬恕,去愛護那些在這段日子中經歷傷痛的人。此際香港正需要這種真誠寬容與愛的見證,使社會得治療,復元過來。或許,這就是神要透過今次社會艱困所要成全的美意。




Pastor's Sharing
When Faith is Tested
Rev Gordon Siu

The prevailing turbulence in Hong Kong society has wrought an unprecedented impact on our churches. Believers are divided on current issues, and their feelings are hurt. Many try not to connect with others and they lose steam in their ministries. Some even seek another church. Social criticisms of the Christian church are on the rise. Some Christians are upset as they are targeted for queries or become a laughing stock among friends. Some believers who readily accept popular views express resentment against their church or some church leaders. Pastoral leaders in Hong Kong at large have shared that the current criticisms and pressure from believers are unprecedented. Meanwhile, videos and messages criticizing the church are being circulated in the social media. These either point a finger at, or smear, the church. An example is a picture circulated in early October showing a church with many people sleeping on the pews being described as "rioters' shelter" but which was later found to be a picture taken in 2009 of a Vancouver church that houses the homeless.

The Bible has prophesied that in the last days, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom," and the church community will face troubles from within and outside the church (Matthew 24:7-13). But why does God allow these things to happen to His people? It is because God wants to test His church so that "the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:7). Gold ore has to be treated with high temperature in order to produce pure gold. Likewise, the church needs to go through affliction in order to be tempered and purified.

In these days, we are inclined to proclaim on the one hand that "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free…for you are all one in Christ Jesus," but on the other hand, stop accommodating and caring for a brother just because he aligns with the yellow or blue camp. We know that in the last days, many will be deceived, but we readily accept any publicity materials that are in line with our stance, and even use them to rebuke a brother whom we have known for many years, forcing him to state his stance. There are Christians who believe that God establishes kings and removes kings. They also know that they are to act righteously on earth and to voice their concerns for justice. But when they find their efforts "futile", they no longer believe God reigns. They no longer share their insights or encourage others to join them in acting righteously. On the contrary, they think that those who do not speak up or take action are to blame for the ineffectiveness. They therefore despise those who do not join them. And they themselves fall into the trial of achieving their objective through "more effective" violent means.

In all these tests, we must turn to God. We must admit that our faith is vulnerable to the impact from the environment. We must admit that we are not sufficiently committed to the truth. Let us ask God for strength and come back to our senses as we ought. Let us seek forgiveness from those we have hurt. Let us care for those who have suffered in these recent days. Such testimony of genuine accommodation and love is exactly what Hong Kong needs at this time. It will promote healing and recovery for the city.