In the past two essays, I studied the Gospels to answer this question: How do I become a good minister and friend? In “Tell No One” I learned to focus on comfort rather than conversion; I tell no one the particulars of my faith, my personal covenant with God (the Father), because I need to focus on their faith, not mine. And in “Spread the Word” I learned to be a shepherd one moment, and sheep the next, just as Jesus (the Son of man) was.

The one missing piece of the Trinity is the Holy Ghost. It’s first mentioned in the opening verses of Matthew.

“…[Mary] was found with child of the Holy Ghost. //…for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”—Matthew 1:18, 20.

Childbirth is the first clue to understanding this concept in the Gospels.

“…[John the Baptist] shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.”—Luke 1:15.

It links parent and child, Father and Son, completes them. This is the purpose of the Holy Ghost as well: thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”—John 14:20.

There is a bond between father and son. They are connected by a love that goes all the way down to their blood. This connection is the synthesis. Father and Son would exist apart, if not for the Holy Ghost. It equates them, joins them. Without their bond, they are just two people. But with it, any two people can love each other as much.

Of Jesus, John the Baptist said, “…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”—Matthew 3:11.

An important thing to keep in mind is that Jesus is an example.

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”—John 13:15.

Since he baptized with the Holy Ghost, we do too.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”—Matthew 28:19.

Baptism represents a friendship going to a new level. No longer just acquaintances, we grow closer, brought together by faith and compassion. But we also baptize with fire. We take the friendship to yet another level, at which we could become enemies.

All it takes is a heated moment, a fiery discussion, and eating from the one apple tree that we shouldn’t.

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. / And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”—Matthew 12:31-32.

This is the one unforgivable sin, according to Jesus: blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Otherwise, the Gospels teach absolute forgiveness.

When Peter asked how many times he should forgive his neighbor, and suggested maybe seven times, Jesus answered, “…I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”—Matthew 18:22.

Toward the end of the Last Supper, John’s gospel has a “deleted scene” that’s not in any of the other books. Judas had just left. Everyone felt betrayed, and Peter was worried that he would deny his faith before morning. To calm everyone, Jesus told them about the Comforter.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”—John 14:26.

The Comforter is the Holy Ghost. So everything we’ve learned so far applies now to him. He will bring a bond as strong as family. Further, he will be the connection that we call love and friendship.

When a heated exchange erupts between two friends, they should remember why they care for each other. Everything Jesus taught by example will be applied when the Comforter comes.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”—John 15:26.

Since John referred to the Comforter in the masculine, I will too. It’s important to note that the Holy Ghost didn’t have a gender before this. What was divine has become human. The connection he offers is personified through us. When we approach an argument with love, we become the Comforter. The same love that Jesus has for us, we share with each other.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”—John 14:34.

That’s how we testify. When our ministry or friendship is interrupted by us crossing the line, committing that one unforgivable sin, we should remember why we love each other; our bond is sacred, holy. But, to do so, we both have to accept the truth.

“And I pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; / Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. / I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”—John 14:16-18.

I don’t always see the truth, though I always think I do. But sometimes I can’t, because I’m blinded by anger, jealousy, pride, or any number of sins. But the truth is always with me. I just have to accept it, so that it dwells within me.

The problem is that it takes two to tango, always. When there’s a disagreement, there are two people fighting and in need of comfort. To get past the baptism of fire, we both need to see the truth.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”—John 14:6.

If God is love, then Jesus is forgiveness. And since we should follow his example, as he forgave all sins, then so should we—even the unforgivable one.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”—John 16:7.

He calmed the apostles at the Last Supper by telling them that he had to die, so that we can forgive each other. With his example, we know that it’s possible. We can overcome our sins, if we love and forgive our neighbors as if they were our family, because they are.

“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”—Matthew 12:50.

However, to deny that forgiveness, as Peter denied his faith in times of hardship, is to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost.

“But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”—Mark 3:29.

If we don’t allow ourselves to forgive someone, no matter what they’ve done, then we will have that on our conscience. We may justify it as a reaction to their blasphemy, but we each choose what we do, how we react. It’s our responsibility. By not forgiving, we risk tainting our souls forever.

Friendship and ministry begin with a miracle, as two people come together in this world of sin. After performing his miracles, Jesus told those he healed that they should tell no one. The miracle was that the blind could see (and the deaf could hear) the truth.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”—Luke 4:18.

That was his purpose, as he stated it there in Nazareth: to be an example to us for how we can use the Holy Ghost to survive the fire.

Perhaps the Bible isn’t meant to be a rule book. Rather, it tells us that we will mess up, and, when we do, here’s how we can fix things.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. / He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”—John 16:13-14.

Remember, the Spirit of truth is another name for the Comforter, who is also the Holy Ghost. Within one Trinity is another.

Jesus often referred to the importance of not speaking of himself.

“He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.”—John 7:18.

This is another way of saying tell no one. It’s a warning as to what can cause disagreements. A sin is unforgivable because the person was thinking only of themselves. In a relationship, there are, of course, two people; one cannot be ignored in favor of the other, since both are one.

“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. / But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.”—John 10:37-38.

Father and Son are one. We are one: the synthesis of opposites. We hurt ourselves when we speak only of ourselves. We blaspheme against the miracle that brought us together.

It is at that moment that the Comforter comes. He is the peacemaker within, the better angel of our nature.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”—Matthew 5:9.

He reveals the truth, which is this: All of us are part of the same whole. When you add everything together—all the rocks, vegetation, people, animals, earth, and sky—every component becomes crucial, no matter how small. Ministers and friends are those who speak with this truth.

“…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; / And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—John 8:31-32.

When we speak the truth, it’s because we hear the Holy Ghost. During an argument with my friend, if I listen to the Comforter that dwells within me, then I will speak not with my words, but his.

“But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”—Mark 13:11.

Our relationship can survive the fire. Faith allows me to see a better tomorrow, a prophecy of how the friendship can be saved. But it won’t happen through my will alone. I’ve already messed things up. Only through a combined will can we hope to survive Judgment Day.

This is how we glorify God.

“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”—John 1:3.

God is all things, the sum, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the alpha and omega. So when I let go of my selfishness, and if I let myself hear the Comforter, and speak with the words he gives me, I am doing God’s will.

At that moment, I receive his wisdom, since mine obviously wasn’t cutting it.

“…With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”—Matthew 19:26.

Since the miracle of us coming together as friends (to minister to each other) was possible, so is another miracle: the saving of our friendship during crisis. But the only way to reach the kingdom of heaven within is for us both to accept the will of that which is without.

This is the third thing I’ve learned about ministry and friendship: We reach heaven together or not at all.

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