Tag Archive | compassion

Walk Your Talk

micah-6-8I’ve been in turmoil this week, as I know many others have, with what’s been going on in the world and in our own backyard. Criticism, hate, anger, vitriol. We’ve had it in spades. The message of tolerance and love and kindness and compassion don’t seem to be making a difference.

And we all seem to have so many questions.

What’s the difference between a protestor and a demonstrator? How can we keep our country safe and still have compassion on displaced people looking for shelter? Why are so many people looking for the worst in others?

I don’t have answers to these questions except a knowledge that the world needs Jesus. In the Bible, we are told that the prophet Micah wrote,”He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy,
 and to walk humbly with your God?”

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.

A friend of mine just asked the question, “I wonder how many of those protesting at the airports would welcome a refugee in their home to stay for a year until they get on their feet.”

Do you know any refugees personally? Have you sat with them and cried and listened to their heartbreaking stories? Have you bought them groceries and helped them navigate a new city and find a place to live? Have you been their friend?

Have you prayed for them?

If you can’t answer yes to even one of those questions, then I have my doubts about your sincerity when it comes to really caring about them. All of a sudden these people matter just because the current president did something he thought (whether wisely or not) would be a step in protecting our nation? Do you know all the facts? Have you checked every side? Why is this being called a ban on Muslim immigrants when Muslims from other nations are allowed entry? The rhetoric doesn’t make sense.

Those who use their very public soapboxes to decry the treatment of people they didn’t care two bits about in the past are showing their hypocrisy.  This crisis has been going on long before Trump took over. Where were their voices then?

It’s like taking your family to serve a meal at the homeless shelter on Christmas morning and then never stepping foot in the place until the next Christmas comes. Sure, it makes you feel better, like you’ve done something, but it’s more like a pat on your back than a hand up for the hurting of your city.

My prayer is that you will take what you don’t like going on and start getting involved, like, always. Not just when it’s a trending topic. Love mercy.

There are always 2 sides to a story. But Trump haters are more than willing to believe only one: whichever casts him in the worst light. Do justice. That means fact checking before sharing what you believe to be “news.” Take off your slanted shoes and walk humbly with God.

Seek to be informed yourself; don’t take the word of others, especially those with an agenda. Get involved with groups that are actually aiding refugees who are already here. Give to a reputable agency that helps people in country. Volunteer at your local homeless shelter on a regular basis, not just once a year.

Get out there.

And stop, just stop with the hateful words.

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We The People, part 1

There’s a burneIMG_6773d-out house on a quiet street where I often ride my bike. It’s been empty for months, with just plywood over windows and a dumpster in the driveway. What caught my attention was the American flag still flying by the front door. The house is going to need major overhauling, but the flag still flies.

It reminds me of our country. The mess becomes more and more evident during an election year.
But patriotism is still evident. Americans still love their country. Sometimes they just don’t know how to express that.

I am a registered Independent. I am a compassionate conservative. I am an American. But most importantly—and this is what should make all the difference—I am a follower of Jesus.

I am not in favor of big government. I think it has come about because the church has failed to do its job of helping the poor and loving the downtrodden. I think this big government has created a state of dependency and has not encouraged hard work.

In order to come to some sort of conclusion about what I believe and for whom I will cast my vote in November, I began to ask myself what the role of government is. I took a look at the preamble to our Constitution:

“We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.”

I tried to define what each of those meant and how that looks today. I am not a Constitutional lawyer. I am not even a Constitutional historian. But I’d like to share what I came up with in a two-part post.

In order to form a more perfect union, a government must

Establish justice: A country must have laws. We’ve seen what happens when lawlessness reigns. Businesses are vandalized, property is demolished, barbarism comes out of the depths of dark hearts. But people need to be able to trust the system. Man’s justice will never be perfect, and there will be those who are corrupt, no doubt about it. But even man’s imperfect justice has got to be given a chance. In order for people to trust the justice system, everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or affluence, must be held to the same standard. Corruption in our court system must not be tolerated.IMG_6772

Insure domestic tranquility:  I see the need for the rule of law in order to insure domestic tranquility. But I also see a need for compassion and caring. I see a need for the underprivileged to be given a voice and an opportunity to improve their circumstances with dignity. But I don’t think that’s the government’s job. It’s the job of the neighborhood church. Government is impersonal. It’s people who need to fill this need. There are so many non-profit agencies right now devoted to helping those in need. Instead of disallowing and discouraging faith-based organizations from pursuing such endeavors by enacting laws against them or threatening lawsuits if they don’t comply with restrictive guidelines, the government should embrace those who are trying to help insure that domestic tranquility. Laws only insure domestic tranquility if they are helping the people be more content and happy. Laws that are enacted to stifle anyone’s voice, be they faith-based or not, are an over reach of the rule of law. If the marginalized are heard, peace is much more possible.

Provide for the common defense: I believe in a strong military, which I think aids in providing for the common defense. I believe it is the government’s job to protect its people from its enemies, foreign and domestic. Some people call that being nationalistic. I think it’s called being the government. A quote that has been ascribed to several different people including Donald Rumsfeld, Vladimir Putin and Bobby Jindal is, “Weakness is provocative.” In order for a government to protect its citizens and its union, it must be strong. The weakest in the pack is the one that gets eaten.

My next post will cover the last two points: Promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty. Hope you’ll stick with me!

 

We The People, part 2

img_6772I rode by that burned out house yesterday that I mentioned in Part 1, (read that here before you continue: We The People, Part 1) and there were workmen there and they had the front of the house torn down to the studs. The word that came to mind when I saw that was “rebuild.” Seems apropos.

As promised, here is the second part of my examination of the Preamble to our Constitution. Previously we looked at establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility and providing for the common defense. Use the link above to read that post.

Promote the general welfare: To me, this is one of the biggest issues. I see the need for compassion in order to promote the general welfare, but not entitlement and dependence.  Allowing for the killing of unborn children,  attacking the traditional family, legislating parenting rather than encouraging faith-based organizations to help teach good techniques doesn’t promote the general welfare. Promoting the general welfare means doing what’s best for everybody. I think the role of government is to ensure that everybody has the ability to prosper.

Making sure quality education is available to everyone helps promote the general welfare. Giving handouts does not. Arresting parents who let their kids play in the park a block from their home does not. Policing in such a way that people of color are afraid to have an encounter of any kind with law enforcement does not. Encouraging anger when those angered don’t know what to do with that emotion does not.

But again, if man is sinful and separated from God, and people’s views of what is best differ, then hearts need to be changed before the general welfare is going to be achieved.

Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Liberty. Freedom. We have a Bill of Rights. I think the role of government is to ensure that those rights are upheld. Once those rights start being revoked, the blessings of liberty fall by the wayside. I fear that our bent toward not offending those who are utterly too offendable is trampling on those rights. When we have freedom, we actually look out for each other better. Or at least that’s how it should be. The Bible says, “Don’t use your freedom as license to sin.” Oh man, those are good words. There is no blessing in a “me-first” attitude.

People need to be heard and they need to believe that they are cared about, and they need IMG_6771to be taught to stand on their own two feet. That’s a part of the government’s job. But that’s also the church’s job. The two entities absolutely must work together instead of being poles apart. People have so misrepresented the idea of the separation of church and state that the church has become a shell of what it was intended to be: a force for good in society. The separation of church and state was enacted so that the state didn’t take over the church. That’s why the Pilgrims left. The free exercise of religion is essential. If only the government would see the good that the church could do, and not be so afraid of it. If only the church was bolder and less concerned about popularity and more concerned about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Nothing short of a revival is going to heal our land. I don’t think our nation can be great again without it. The question is, which leader is more likely to lead us in that direction? And who is willing to give the church a kick in its collective butt to do what it’s called to do?

Rebuilding. That’s what we need in our country.

And revival in our own hearts.

God bless America.

I’m open to civil discussion on any of these matters. Feel free to comment, but keep it civil.

Always Keep Looking At Jesus

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This morning, the day before we celebrate Thanksgiving in America, I was reading a devotional by Pastor Ed Young. His last words to me today were these: Always keep looking at Jesus, and tell others what you see.

With so much controversy, meanness and downright hate we hear from everyone from the press to the people on the street these days, these words are brilliant. Always keep looking at Jesus, and tell others what you see.

Oh, if only everyone, even those who don’t follow Him, would do that, how much different would things be? When I look at Jesus, I see obedience. He always and only did what His Father told Him to do. He obeyed his earthly parents. The result of that was a perfect life, lived always at the center of the Father’s will. How did He do that? Well, being fully God Himself helped, but He listened. He often went off to a quiet place to pray. His food was to do the will of the One who sent Him.

When I look at Jesus, I see compassion. He healed those who came around Him—and even some who had to have someone come in their stead. He spoke kindly. He had life in His words for those who were dying. The only time he spoke roughly, it wasn’t to sinners, it was to those who thought they were godly, but were “whitewashed sepulchers.” They might look good on the outside, but inside, they held only death. Hypocrites. He had no tolerance for them. The lost He lead to life. I don’t know who said it, but I love this quote: Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He came to make dead people live. Jesus’ words brought life to those who heard Him.

When I look at Jesus, I see unconditional love. He knew people all around Him were bound for hell, and He loved them. He spent time with them—yes, sinners! He taught them. And then, in the act of ultimate love, He died for them. The Scriptures say that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. Without forgiveness, people perish. Ultimate love, ultimate compassion, ultimate obedience.

When people see me, hear me, read what I write, can they tell I’ve been looking at Jesus?

When you look at Jesus, what do you see?

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