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April 23, 1996


A Treatise on the Christian Life


being a Christian is the hardest task

assailed within and without

by temptations both bold and delightful

(seldom will the tempter set

a snare with repulsive deeds

to lure us from our golden hope)

that must constantly be quelled

a tiresome task at best

yet our desire holds us strong

for the hope of meeting Christ

and living for Him to die

is often greater than our need for fame

but even if it weren't

our hope of self-eternal prevents us

for to say "I desire 'this'"

is to realize that 'this' is sin

to sin is death

and death is what we wish to avoid

so self-preservation prevents us from dying

by our very fear of death

as our desire to live with God

secures us from that He hates


some tasks are harder than resistance

of which forgiveness is one

in forgiving we are not

as some would have it

forgetting a wrong once done

we are unable to forget

the past

(and often cherish it far beyond its worth)

when a Christian forgives a wrong

the pain of that wrong remains

resting upon the one forgiving

who in innocence forgives

he who has the wrong

if we have been wronged

retribution is what we are raised to take

yet God commands us to forgive

to accept the person wronging

if not the wrong itself

for no cause other than our love for Him

and our love for him

the pain remains and must be borne

beneath the gentle hand of God

who knows from heaven

far more than mere human minds assert


A Treatise on the Christian Life
A poem by Peter Rhebergen

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