It seems like everywhere I look this week there are racially charged stories. One would have to have been on a desert island to think that racism does not exist. However, one story I read said that before our current political administration there was no racism. Obviously that person has been on said desert island.
Here is what I do not get, what difference does skin color actually make? No, I am not on the desert island now, I realize there is discrimination. However, if we are honest with ourselves most of us are not pure anything. Our heritage has taken various ethnic paths to get us where we are.
Why then can’t we all appreciate the differences between us. It is the differences between us that makes this world so wonderful. Imagine if all our food tasted the same. Can you say boring? History should teach us that every race and culture has added and enriched our world.
Those of us who call ourselves Christians really need to take this to heart. Heaven will be filled with souls from every ethnic background imaginable, not that it will matter then. And if you have not really thought about it Jesus is from the Middle East, do you really think he has blond hair? John says if you love God then you should love your brother. If we are truly in Christ then our brother is not the one who looks like us, but the one who acts like Christ.
15 years ago I came home from working the night shift. The day was just starting for most people but for me it was just ending. I was carrying out my normal routine without a clue of the events taking place. That all came to a mind numbing change when I turned on the morning news. The first of the two towers was in flames and just as I dropped onto the bed the second plane struck the second tower.
15 years and I still cannot think about those events without tears coming to my eyes. I relive every emotion of that day all over. Unless you were alive you cannot imagine what it felt like to see such a terrible act of hatred carried out on our country. I can only imagine that I felt the same things as my grandparents the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.
15 years has made me realize something, hatred fighting hatred breeds hatred. That is exactly what we are seeing in our world today. It seems like every group imaginable is finding a reason to hate the other groups. The very thing we started out fighting 15 years ago has become the way of life.
Nearly 2000 years ago Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (Lk 6:27). The Roman Empire was the most powerful empire in the world in Jesus’ day. History teaches that the persecution they dealt Christians was not overcome with vast armies or gorilla warfare. Instead, Christians acting like Christ eventually won the favor of the Emperors.
So yes, let us never forget that hatred and bigotry only work to divide. Love on the other hand, can work to overcome the hatred.
The old saying goes, “Good fences makes good neighbors.” However, I am pretty sure the person who first uttered these words never considered bulldozers.
According to Matthew, when Jesus was asked what the greatest command was He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matthew 22:37–40 KJV) The idea here is you cannot do one or the other and be right with God, you must do both.
Ever since man has started laying claim to parcels of ground, fences have helped to keep the peace. By keeping all your people animals and possessions on your side of the fence you keep your neighbor happy.
It would seem that two men from Tipton County, Tennessee failed to realize the importance of good fences. Neighbor one allegedly thought it would be entertaining to randomly allow his family to run out of the woods onto his neighbor’s property. When this happened neighbor two allegedly shot into the woods landing himself in jail. It gets worse though. While neighbor two was in jail neighbor one allegedly decided to use his bulldozer to level neighbor two’s house, landing neighbor one in jail. There was no indication if they ended up sharing the same jail cell.
It is unfortunate that neither of these two men practiced what Jesus said about loving their neighbor. Their arrest record would be smaller and their wallets thicker. When God gives us commands they are for our own good. As my dad would say, “God didn’t talk to hear his own voice.”
The attacks on September 11, 2001 was actually an inside job. Those long clouds that come off of airplane wings are actually chemicals the government is spraying in the air to control our minds. HIV was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans. What do all of these have in common? They have absolutely no basis in reality.
It seems that People want to flock to the most elaborate scheme they hear. The more outlandish it is, the more they cling to the idea as truth. Sadly, it is easier to get people to believe some off the wall story than it is for them to believe the truth.
When it comes to the Bible, people are no different. There are tens of thousands of different divisions among religious groups. Each of these groups all have different beliefs which causes major trouble for unbelievers. In my humble opinion, it is the human desire to have things fit into their own preconceived idea of the way things are that causes this problem. People that believe the conspiracy theories do so because that is how they believe the world works. Likewise, all the false teachings about the Bible are accepted as fact because that is the way people want religion to work.
However, when it comes to any false theory, at some point we are forced to see the truth. Once enough proof is submitted it is then up to us to either accept the truth or reject it. It does not matter if you accept it or not; the truth will always be the truth. It is not subject to our idea of what it should be. It is indeed the truth simply because it is the truth.
The Olympic games are a wonderful event where people from all walks of life put down their differences and compete in the spirit of friendly competition, or do they? Friday during the Judo competition we were sadly reminded that there remains hostility between nations.
Shehaby from Egypt was competing against Sasson from Israel. According to Maria Cheng and Maggie Michael, Shehaby was under pressure not to participate in the match. To Shehaby’s credit he decided that he would face Sasson in the ring. However, after the match was over Shehaby refused to shake the hand of Sasson and abruptly departed the ring without so much as bowing. Only after being summoned back to the ring did Shehaby concede and gave a quick nod before leaving again.
From everything I could gather these men did not know each other. Other than Sasson beating Shehaby there was no personal reason for the obviously hostile gesture by Shehaby. The reason can only be placed on the fact that one man was from Israel and the other was from Egypt. It is sad that because of this one thing these men could not even shake hands.
I cannot help but to wonder, if these men were born right next door to each other would they get along? What if they were brothers, Could they sit at the same table together? In truth we are all related, no matter how you believe. If you prescribe to evolution, the primordial ooze is our origin. Or if you believe the Bible, then Adam is dad to all of us. No matter how you look at it we are all part of one big family.
Let us remember that if it is our goal to make it to heaven, then we must learn to love while we are here.
As part of my journey I have been challenged to start blogging again. I am in the process of finishing my education at the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies. I invite everyone to follow these posts. I ask that you also invite your friends and family to follow also. It is my goal to encourage and inspire you through my words.
I do not consider myself a picky eater. If you know me you can tell by my rather large stomach that I will eat almost much anything that is set before me. There is only a rather short list of items though that I cannot bring myself to eat. The items on the cannot eat list are; balut, insects, and cooked bananas. As I said it is a rather short list. Two of these items I have never tried to eat, balut and insects. Just the thought of eating an insect or balut is not appealing at all. I am sure if I were hungry enough I would try them but I have never been that hungry. Cooked bananas are a different story. I have tried repeatedly to eat them. Even in my favorite desert banana pudding, but I just cannot get past the texture of a cooked banana. That all changed this past week.
Being raised in the United States I only knew of one type of banana. Now I am in the Philippines and I have learned that there are different types of bananas. There are types of bananas that do not get that gross mushy yet firm texture to them. I was invited to a dinner the other day and on the menu was a couple types of sweat potatoes, dried fish, and cooked bananas. When I was handed my plate much to my anguish there lay two cooked bananas still in their skins. Being their guest I felt obliged to at least try to choke them down. When I finally built up the nerve to peel and eat one of the bananas I found much to my surprise that I actually liked them.
Many times we approach people with much the same attitude as I did the cooked banana. We go by our experiences with what looks to be the same thing and some times pass on approaching them. We are afraid that our prior negative experiences will be repeated. What we need to remember though is that every person is different just like the bananas. They may look the same on the outside but you have no idea what you will find on the inside when you in a matter of speaking peel off the outer layers.
2Pet. 3:9 tells us “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” It is not for us to judge people but to try to reach them. That is all that we can do because as Paul said in 1Cor.. 3:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” It is our job to plant or water what is planted. Because only God knows what will grow.