God Forgives, and Renewing the “C” in YMCA
By Lanny Neel
Hawaii Region Service Director for Christian Emphasis
Living in the Upper Midwest for 22 years gives one ample time to know what cold means. But does cold really exist? A physicist would say “No”. Cold is simply the absence of heat. It is the motion of the molecules and atoms of a substance that determines how warm that substance is. If all of the molecules of a substance were completely still (something that actually cannot happen), then its temperature would equal absolute zero. An air temperature of about 79 degrees F is about 299 degrees on the Kelvin scale, and 25.5 on the Celsius scale. Molten lava by comparison is around 2,500 F or about 1,400 C. Something feels warm to us if there is more molecular motion in that substance than there is in our body/hand, and feels cool or cold if there is less molecular motion in that substance than in our body/hand.
Similar thinking leads to the conclusion that “dark” does not exist, but is simply the absence of light. Light does exist, and consists of infinitesimally small packets of energy, called photons.
One of the biblical concepts of God (John 1:1-9) is that he is like the light that dispels the darkness. In the beginning God said, “Let there be light”. In other words, He created light, not darkness. God created all things, and upon finishing His work, declared that it was good (Genesis, Chapter1). Therefore it follows that God did not create “Evil”, because God is inherently good. Thus we can define “Evil” as the absence of good, or absence of God.
It is written (Romans 8:28) that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. (Love God—Why??—see Romans 5:8). God loves us so much that He sent Christ to die for our sins while we (humanity) were still unforgivable sinners and very much wants us to accept His forgiveness for our wrong-doings (sin) by accepting the atoning work of Christ on the Cross as payment for that sin. We know that Christ died on a cross and was buried, and we have the wonderful news that He rose from the dead and is alive in heaven with God today and forever. We recently celebrated the fact of His resurrection with the observance of Easter, and we do so every year.) We get into problems with “things” when we CHOOSE to use them in ways that are not good (= harmful). This can be equated to sin.
Unfortunately it is human nature to misuse things and to thereby separate ourselves from goodness (God), and so all of us are guilty of sin at one time or another in our lives. Fortunately we can (and need to) ask God to forgive us our sins, in the name of Christ.
The YMCA was founded on the belief that people need to hear and learn about the work of Christ. The C in our name is what distinguishes us from a physical fitness club, or a child care agency or just another social organization (not to mention that it also helps to give us protected tax status).
Unfortunately our nation has become obsessed with being politically correct to the point that we are being forced to publicly deny the basic Judeo-Christian beliefs upon which our forefathers founded this nation, and we consequently are losing our national sense of morality.
It is up to people and organizations like us to see to it that the C is not forgotten, despite the fact that the national YMCA Board of Directors has chosen to drop that from our own official name.
We can still teach those values through our example, and we need to not be ashamed of letting people know from Whom those values originate. We can spread God’s light into the darkness and let it lead our nation back towards the light. Remember, we have been endowed BY OUR CREATOR with certain inalienable rights, and these are not from the government, despite what our politicians might want us to believe!
Because humans have chosen to rebel (sin) against God, the perfect world that He created became imperfect, and therefore subject to all kinds of natural disasters. God does not will that these things should happen, but they are, none the less, the consequence of our human condition in an imperfect world. God does want us to help all of those in need—even our enemies. (I make this point, because North Korea is now in the grips of a terrible famine and has asked us for food.) The recent record earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the very recent rash of violent tornadoes in the US serve to remind us of just how helpless we are in the face of natural disasters, and how we need God’s love. These also lead us—as believers in God’s love for us all—to want to reach out in love, and offer with our prayers and our aid, help to all of those in our human family.