Its surprising how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit
"Our World is Rapidly Worsening"
Every day the events of each day provide evidence that advances the story of cultural corruption. I know-"I see the glass half empty. You see it half full." Frankly, I am not sure there is a glass to see. What I do see seems to demonstrate that standards of honesty, reason, and self-discipline do not come naturally to people anymore and that these virtues are in constant battle against the entropy of our fallen and disordered nature.
But today, like any other day, is a good day if we know what to do with it. Jesus told us what to do on any day. Love one another! They will know you are My disciples if you love one another. Perfect love casts out fear. I'm sure all of these verses sound familiar. But mark it well, we are not commanded by God to like who they are or to approve what they do, but to love who and what they are.
Let's get specific on who "they" are; Muslim extremists and the crazed assassin of the 20 innocent young people at a church in Texas and others like him. Let's remember "who" God says they are: People made in the image and likeness of God. Let's get specific on "what" we are to do; "love them." (That does not necessarily mean give them a hug.) A pastor friend, Dr. John Mitchell, gave me a definition of love -- He said; "Love is sincerely wishing God's very best for someone else and doing what you can to see it come about." What does God say they need?
I remember Dionne Warwick singing, "What the world needs now is love sweet love, that's the only thing that there is just too little of." But the love that the world needs today or any day is to know the one true God, who is love. They need to know, as Jesus said, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
In looking at the story of the Good Samaritan, Martin Luther King, Jr. observed; "The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"
Today and every day, until the day Jesus comes for us, we are ambassadors for Him. We bring the message of eternal life. It is not about me or them. It is all about Him.
"I'm just a nobody who wants to tell everybody about Somebody who can save anybody."
Serving Him with you
Until He comes for us,
My goodness, I am so very confused by this post. I read "we are not commanded by God to like who they are or to approve what they do, but to love who and what they are." First it says we are NOT commanded to like who they are and then it says we have to love who they are. Is there a big difference between like and love? Oh, my, did I totally miss the point? Then it says "Muslim extremists and the crazed assassin of the 20 innocent young people at a church in Texas and others like him." I am certain that the man who killed 26 people and wounded 20 more was not muslim and the people were of all ages from a baby to 70+ years old. Am I thinking of the wrong thing?
Other than that confusing part, at least to me, I love the story of the Good Samaritan. We can all be good Samaritans if we choose. But I would so love to see us behave in a more lovable way. Oh, wouldn't that be lovely.
Fred is challenging us to see our fellow man as God sees us. Every man and woman is created in the image of God. All have sinned and fallen short. He sent His Son to die for all men. His atonement covered all sin of mankind.
He is stretching us to see our fellow man from God's point of view. I remember a few years ago the story of the tragic death of a young Amish girl at the hands of an outsider. Their entire Amish community modeled a Christlike heart and attitude with their behavior, as they soon after the incident forgave and embraced the young outsider who committed her murder. I can't say that I could have done the same, but their modeling brought me to tears at their perfect humility and absolute trust that Jesus has it all covered.
Hope that helps.
Yes, yes, Mr. O'Connor. I do know all you said. I do see a conflict in the sentence: First it says "we are NOT commanded to like who they are" and then it says "we have to love who they are." You see, it says we are NOT commanded to like who they are and then it says we have to love who they are. That is quite quite contradictory. Is that a mis-type? It is so confusing to be told don't do this but do this.
Liking and loving are two very different things.
On occasion we may not like a family member for a behavior in which they chose to behave, but nonetheless, we love them in spite of their poor choosing.
I was always taught to love the sinner and hate the sin, in doing so we can look past the sin and share the gospel with them with the hope they'll to see the sinful nature repent of it and accept Christ as Savior and experience being Born Again, without the empowerment of doing so we'd fall short and not be able to share with them. God Bless You; Clair VAN Steenwyk
It might have been better if Dr. Fred had underlined in the last sentence of the second paragraphs the words 'like' and 'love' rather than the words 'who' and 'what'. That would have explained the difference between natural, human anger at a senseless crime and our and God's forgiveness, at least according to my developing understanding of the concept of forgiveness.
Here is where grace is required of us. Your observation is valid, but his article got me to think, and as a seminary professor that is his job.
I was just responding to Jan F-S's apparent and understandable confusion which I think is sourced to an unintended misdirection of word emphasis. I agree that his article is thought-provoking, although I do still struggle on why we have to forgive, other than for our own mental peace.
You have answered wisely in that it is for our benefit that we forgive. Not forgiving causes us to carry a bigger burden than we were created to carry.
Remember that the conflicts that arise in our lives is not about "us" ... it's about Him. It's about his Grace and Mercy freely given by His love on the Cross. Jesus was temped by Satan on the mountain but he refused, just as we can refuse as well, but due to our flesh we continue to be tempted by evil and it doesn't go away unless we stand with the righteousness of Christ. The purpose of Satan is to discredit God's grace and love. For evil has no color, it has preferences of the human desires, it has a purpose ... to defeat God's grace and our Liberty to choose Him. For a debate on the semantics of terminology gives way to the demeaning of why the blood of Jesus was shed ... to forgive ALL our sins for all time, but it doesn't mean we can keep on sinning. We should know this:
"When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." - James 1:13-15. That "gives birth to death" means that we die to the righteous Christ.
Are we supposed to see Jesus in everyone? We are created in his image we are told, and so are we to look at everyone and assume they're good, and don't have ulterior motives?? I know everyone has goodness inside but when they act viciously and kill everyone who does not believe like they do, then what are we supposed to do? As far as I know, Jesus never killed anyone, nor did he torture anyone because that person did not accept his message. If we were to let terrorists do their killing, let them torture those who will not accept their faith etc..I don't think that too far off into the future, there would be no Christians left, nor Jews, nor atheists, nor any other person of a different faith, and culture. History continues and the same cruelty, conflicts, wars etc..repeats itself. It's one thing to love everyone. It's another thing to let people kill, pillage, and torture innocents who only want to be left alone to live their lives in peace and some semblance of prosperity. The Crusades were sent out to stop the spread of Islam throughout Europe. The killing and the cruelty. of those wars were horrendous and left their mark for centuries. Now are we in the same position as then?? I read another quote:" Do not worry about tomorrow because I Jesus, am already there". So our other option I guess is to pray and pray and do whatever is necessary to keep our faith and culture.
You have asked much within your comments above. Allow me to share what I know to be true.
1. We are NOT to see Jesus in everyone.
2.Genesis tells us that God created us in His image, male and female He created us.
3. Not one has "goodness" in us, we have ALL sinned and fallen short of Gods design for us.
4, We each have the freedom to chose whether we obey God or to walk after the "flesh" (i.e. our ego wants)
5. From Gods point of view sin is sin; all sin separates us from a relationship with God our Creator.
6. Scripture informs us that there will always be wars and rumors of war. All a consequence of our sin nature.
7. My hope comes from Gods promise in Scripture that He works ALL things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
8. Jesus promised that He will always be with us until the end of the age.