Friday, October 12, 2012

Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Dear friends,
Further along in this blog you will find a page of statistics.  Between here and there are several of my attempts to reach out to people in their own language, languages clearly unfamiliar to me.  It was quickly apparent that, despite my good intentions, translations are a tricky business, susceptible to misinterpretation. Around the world, our cultures, languages and societies have subtle differences, and unintended offenses are a very real concern. It’s not my intention to offend or insult anyone.  My purpose here is simply a peaceful outreach to the brotherhood of man.
It’s probably safe to say; the two biggest obstacles to peaceful coexistence today, in our homes, our communities, and around the world, are politics and religion. Both are comprised of myriad, diverse and irreconcilable factions. The solution, to the extent that there is a solution, is tolerance and charity. I am a person of faith.  My faith is about sharing the good news that we can find hope, peace, joy and tremendous satisfaction through a life of faithful service to a loving and merciful God. My faith is summed up in two Bible verses:
#1 Micah 6:8 New King James Version (NKJV) He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

#2 Matthew 7:3-5 New International Version (NIV) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Many well meaning people, who passionately devout their lives to the study of their own faith and scriptures, could also benefit from just ten minutes of study in Webster’s dictionary. The dictionary defines BIGOTRY as: Stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from your own. And INTOLERANCE as: lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races, backgrounds, etc.

As is clearly supported by the preceding scriptures and definitions, despite what you may be told by some misguided people, and sadly, from many pulpits, there is absolutely nothing just, merciful, humble, or in any way Christ like, about bigotry and intolerance. If you consider yourself a Christian, I’d like to share one additional scrap of scripture.  Mathew 10:16 says: 16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

If your faith requires you to ridicule, insult and slander the lives, choices, and faith of others, you are almost certainly misinterpreting and misapplying it. If your faith is displayed in belligerence, hatred, contempt and violence, you’re almost certainly misrepresenting your God.  If your example inspires hope, peace, and empathy in others, and represents a positive, peaceful outreach, then by all means practice it. If your faith instills in you, something that others recognize as something they could benefit from in their own lives, by all means promote it.  But do so with a humble, merciful and compassionate heart, and with all due respect for the faith, cultures, and choices of others. If you are unable or unwilling to do that, then with all due respect, this world and your God are probably best served if you don’t share your faith at all.  SC

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