Live up to what you have believed
The Apostle Paul said that sometimes we may think differently than other believers. He says, “Ok, accept that; let that be for now.” He gives the charge to balance and reflow the spiritual energies back to God, however. He does this by saying, “Live up to what you have already believed.”
John the Apostle does a bit of the same thing using different words. These Christ followers learned from John and others like him. They came to certain conclusions about the origins, the life, the death, the resurrection of Christ. Jesus was God from eternity past. He came down at the first Christmas in the flesh for the purpose of all purposes: redemption.
“You drew conclusions when you joined with us. You still believe this. Rest there. You have overcome the evil one. Don’t rethink and rethink this. Live up to what you have believed.”
Before we pick up verse 5 let me take you into the operating room. Don’t worry, no gross details (I hope). So we had this fellow with what is called a pterygium on his eye. That is a little bump that grows from the white part of the eye onto the clear part. Most can be ignored, but some grow to the point where they may cause a person to lose vision. We had such a fellow recently in the operating room.
Often these folks are of South American descent and speak Spanish as their first language. The person on whom we were doing surgery this week was Latino, but he could speak English with enough facility that we did not need to call for a translator. As it turned out the resident operating with me that day was not only Latino by his parentage, but was actually born in South America with Spanish as his first language. So after the patient, my resident, and I had met covering final questions before the surgery…in English…I walked away. My resident, however, remained at the bedside and branched into Spanish. A similar thing happened at the end of the surgery with post-operative instruction. My resident began in English, but something clicked, and they shifted to Spanish, rapid-fire Spanish. Do you know what? The tentative and seemingly quiet patient feeling more comfortable in his native tongue became talkative and engaged. It was satisfying to hear their interaction.
I observed the same thing when doing mission work in Kenya, but with a different language set. Many patients there could not speak English but could speak Swahili. Most of these patients had a different first language or mother-tongue as it was called, like Kikuyu, Luhya, or Luo. Since I could not speak Swahili Kenyan nursing students would work alongside me and translate. Often they would stop translating, begin looking around for another nursing student who could speak the mother-tongue and while looking say to me, “It seems this person does not want to speak Swahili.” When it came to matters of the Kenyan patient’s health they wanted their mother-tongue. Discussion about health matters seemed to work much better for these people in their mother-tongue just like my patient.