Warning: Long Winds Ahead
I have had an epiphany that has gotten me here. I am not a psychologist, sociologist, or bible scholar. The realization of the one fleeting life I have, has provoked me enough to crawl out from under my rock and have a voice.
I have been living in extreme fear. Fear of life. Fear of people. Fear of failure. When I turn on the news… it’s scary. I walk out the door… same. People stick their finger in my face… terrifying.
I don’t have a list of accomplishments to boast of. I am socially awkward. I am not brilliant by today’s standards. I’m not that much to look at per Hollywood. What haven’t I done wrong? I just keep trying. I suppose if I try enough, I’m bound to get something right. I say that I’m crazy until something works…Then I‘m a genius.
Enough about me…
I am going to talk about a passion I have had lately. It will not leave my waking mind.
I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God. I have been hiding. A closet Christian I suppose? Well until now. Now, I just want to live. I will not wait until I am perfect to do so.
Christians: I think we are doing it wrong. The balancing of love, life and religion that is. With all of my experience, I think I am the perfect candidate to know when something is failing.
Christianity: We are doing it wrong. /duck
I’m going to share some scriptures from my point of view. Now before you start screaming because I pick and chose scriptures that I like; I want you to know that I’m working on a formula that will allow me to use my vocal cords to utter over 31,000 scriptures at the same time…
In the trial run Bob sounded strikingly similar to a dolphin…
The bible is:
Books, letters, and poems
From different time periods
From various locations
Under different cultural norms
To various audiences
From several authors
Some word translations do not give full justice to the original meaning. These are all things I hope one considers when reading the bible. I don’t read a cookbook that says shake vigorously and go shake my junk for my boss.
IMHO the bible is pretty neat. This is a book where there are monsters, dragons, a virgin birth, a talking donkey, zombies and an epic battle between good and evil. There is also this Guy with brass feet that shoots fire out of his eyes. Almost sounds like World of Warcraft.
Who does God love?
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I think some of us miss the part that says: For God so loved the world…
See to me, it seems simple enough. I really think we make this way more difficult than it needs to be. I think we chose the wrong battles. Let’s keep it simple.
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth. (Wikipedia Definition…Yep)
Ultimately my point is this: Please think long and hard about who lives in the world. These are the people that God loves. These are the people that we should love.
Every single race and nationality
Okay, I hope I painted the picture clearly.
He gave his only son. Do I know why it was a son and not a daughter…? I sure don’t. Am I talking about the folks that give up their kids for some smokes and a six pack…? Let’s try not to go there today.
So let’s say Jesus was real and he sacrificed his life for you and me.
Jesus took my bullet. He really is my homeboy.
Is there anyone in the world that you would give your life for?
When you look in the eyes of people you don’t like. People you don’t understand. When you look at “sinners”. When you look at gays. I want you to try to remember that that person is so unbelievably precious to God that He gave his life for them. They are that valuable. If we are honest with ourselves, do we love them that much?
I’m not going to say that I am always a peach. I could even say I curse them that cut me off in traffic. I am conscious of this though and believe that I need to challenge myself to grow. That’s what we do as humans, right? We learn and we grow. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t come out of the womb with all of the answers.
What is Love (Baby Don’t Hurt Me)?
1 Corinthians 13:4–8 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
This says a LOT. I like when people treat me like this. It’s good.
Good=Love your neighbor
Bad=Punch a baby
I am not saying be a doormat.
I have also heard people say that Christians can and cannot do this or that.
Hint: isn’t it annoying to be judged?
What about Religion?
In this chapter in the bible it also states:
1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
If we’ve ever had questions about the right: church, denomination, prayers, communion, gifts or whatever. I think this pretty much sums it up: All the religious hoo-ha that we go through, doesn’t count for jack if we don’t have love for others.
Love Your Neighbor
Mark 12:30-31 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
There is no commandment greater than these…
Do you keep the Ten Commandments?
I have a hard time finding matching socks sometimes. So…
So, love. When we look at others, do we love them the same way we love ourselves? Do we value them as much as we value ourself? I know it isn’t easy however I think it is a good challenge for everyone.
What is God Like?
John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Need I say more?
Ever wonder what God was like?
God is love. That means that everything He does is motivated by love.
What is the definition of love?
Look, I know there are some tough questions floating around out there. If God is love why this? Why that? Is Jesus White? Is pizza scriptural?
Why are there children starving and dying? There can’t be a God!
If I know that something is wrong and I don’t do anything to fix it, does that make it your fault?
If all we ever do is point fingers at each other, will the problems fix themselves? I don’t know about you, but I am only responsible for myself. I am not responsible for what others do with their time or their money. We each can do something. We each play a part. None of us can do everything. What will still be important in 300 years?
Chose your battles.
Just a thought.
Hate the Sin
Hopefully we can go full circle here.
Now in my personal opinion…
I think us Christians are falling short on showcasing God’s love. The love that gives food to the hungry. That hugs someone that is broken hearted. The love that builds people up and gives them hope, not tears them down.
We hate the sin but love the sinner.
I have heard several unrelated people say this one.
I don’t see where WE do that.
IMO Stop! Seriously! Let’s just skip the hate part altogether and try for the love part till we master that one.
Do Unto Others
I know there is a fine line between observing something and forming an opinion or “judging” someone.
Me: Nice yellow shirt.
Bob: The correct term is Sun Dusted, Don’t judge me!
I then give up the ghost.
When we address someone as a sinner, we are talking down to them. And we aren’t a sinner also? I don’t think the human condition is a great mystery. We are telling them that they are flawed. That their choices are wrong. That we know better than they do. It is confrontational. You know why? It is annoying having someone that is flawed tell you that you are flawed. Especially when not asked. Hello Captain Obvious! I mean is there a solution, or just a problem? It comes off as rude and presumptuous. I think they get it! Their life has problems. They make mistakes. I mean, do we have good news for them or not?
John 3:17 – For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the World; but that the World through him might be saved.
Condemn: : to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation : to pronounce guilty. (Merriam-Webster)
If God’s purpose wasn’t a moral beat-down, then what in the world do we think we are doing?
When we tell people that they are going to hell, we are judging them. Do we know what they believe from one glance at their face? Do we know their past? Do we know what their future holds? Do we know when their life will end and what will happen at that time? Can we bet our lives on that? If we don’t, then we shouldn’t tell them our opinion. I am just talking about one extreme here. If we tell someone they ARE going to hell; we are saying that we know everything that there is to know about this person and that in our opinion, they ultimately fail. However, when they die and they are judged, it will not be by us. THANK GOD.
Is there a scripture that says:
Go ye into all the world and tell everyone that they are terrible sinners without hope?
I haven’t found that one. Or…
Go ye into the great witch hunt? NOPE.
I think we focus way too much on sin. If we say it means to miss the mark, then everyone is guilty. I don’t think it is meant to be something we sniff out and scream about once we think we have found it. It isn’t something tangible held by those that should be ostracized or beat down. Did God call us to be the great sin detectives? Methinks not. We are not called to be the judge. God is.
A Beautiful Heart
1 Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Love is not rude.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to follow Mother Theresa’s lead and leave a good impression on all of those that I meet. At least I can try… If I fail, I can try again.
Have you ever had a terrible day and someone yelled at you or pointed out a flaw and then you felt crushed?
Have you ever had a terrible day and one person smiled for just a second or encouraged you and the weight was lifted?
Sort of like that.
When interacting with folks, we have no idea where they come from, or what exactly they could be going through. I say if we don’t have anything good to say in passing, that we don’t say anything at all. Remember the golden rule? Or how about just the love your neighbor part? Love being the key word here.
1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Galatians 6:1 – Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Please can we stop with the point and pass?
I mean point out a fault and be on your merry way. I grew up in the church. I also grew far, far away from it.
Sometimes I have admired someone I met at church. I would have liked to befriend them. Sometimes the feeling wasn’t mutual. That is okay, BUT…Some people that have made me feel the smallest in the world, have been from the church. After they critique my obvious shortcomings, they go off to a group buffet that I would need a special invite for. It hurt folks.
I’m not saying every experience that I’ve ever had was terrible. I think those ones are easier to remember.
My tire goes flat.
Stranger: Um, did you know your tire is flat? Or are you just on the side of the road because you are a sinner?? Well, God bless!! /drives off
Me: /shake fist and wish for random large meteorite
I say let’s encourage people, not discourage. Let’s give them good news not bad news. Let’s love them and be a part of their life (when invited). Let’s give to them: love, time, or money if need be. Let’s serve them and make their day better. Let’s leave a good impression and not a negative one. Love them being the point.
Life does a pretty good job of beating people down without our help.
Let’s Love them!
Our Christian Example Jesus did.
He wasn’t too good to wash feet
He fed people
He hung out with folks that religious people wouldn’t
I sleep in on Sundays now…
Luke 6:31 – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do you like it when:
you are struggling with something, and someone sticks it in your face instead of trying to help?
people call you names?
people judge you?
people take credit for their skin color or gender, when you know that there isn’t a person alive today that has had any say in that?
other adults tell you how to live your life (without being asked)?
Or worse they get mad because you didn’t accept their “help”?
What if a person came into your home and told you that everything you were doing was wrong (your home, family or culture)?
I mean does Friday vs. Wednesday Pizza night really matter?
Do you like getting kicked while you are down?
Folks, we cannot force anyone to believe anything. We cannot force them to live the way we think they need to live. We are only responsible for our own choices. We are responsible for how we love others. We are not the experts on their lives.
I would do quite the opposite of what I’m told, if there was a foreign finger in my nose. If someone is respectful and loving to me, I am usually more receptive to their opinions. Bounce some ideas back and forth. You know, if they show they care. Not just someone that accosts me with their commandments for my life, that are based off of their opinions of my face. Just a thought.
How we Perceive
People are unique. No two people are ever going to have all the same two opinions on everything. Not one person is going to have all of the answers to life’s questions. People see and perceive life differently. People see and perceive the scriptures differently. People learn differently. Even in the same denomination. It is just the way our minds work. It’s like fingerprints or snowflakes. I guess that is what makes us all really special. That is why I think we should build each other up, not tear each other down. I think this is why we should all try harder at love.
Remember: The bible does NOT say Love your neighbor as yourself UNLESS they are… (Insert anyone different than yourself here).
Let’s try it! I doubt it will make God fall off of His throne.
That’s my take on it. ❤