Last night for the second time, I watched the movie, “Life is Beautiful.” This powerful, tragic, and funny movie came out in 1998. Based in pre-war Italy, it heralds the beginning of the rise of Nazism and follows a man and his family to the end of the war. After seeing the movie last night and watching the morning news this morning, my thoughts turned to the idea of prejudice. The word means what it says, to pre-judge or make a decision without all the facts. The Random House College Dictionary defines it as “An unfavorable opinion or feeling made beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.” I asked myself, How Do You Judge Your Neighbors? By neighbors, I mean other people in the world.
How do I and others judge people? Starbuck’s idea of “Race Together” and talking about racial prejudice during your morning coffee isn’t popular with many people, including me. That doesn’t keep me from looking deeper. My first thought, God made all of us, so we are each valuable people – a surface thought, but I believe it. What does it boil down to? In the movie, a rich woman talked about how much it costs to take care of the sick and elderly. To her, those people were just a nuisance. Theoretically, she forgot she may someday be elderly and possibly sick. Another scene showed a group of school children being told they are a superior race. The movie showed severe prejudice toward Jewish people. That prejudice seems to be raising it’s head again. Different areas of the world have different prejudices. In my opinion, all are wrong.
Let’s look at the reasons different races or even different people behave differently. First, we have to consider genetics. Some are born with the ability to learn quickly. Others have talent in sports or art or music. That is true of all races. Others, like the woman in the movie, look at socio-economic status. What people see as poor in America may seem rich in some parts of the world. I could bore you will all the variables, but I won’t. I believe there are two variables that are often over-looked in judging others, love and opportunity. Those who have grown up in a loving family, whether in a home or tent or even on the street, seem to handle life better. Also, those who have opportunity to follow their dreams seem to become more productive citizens. Maybe it isn’t race at all. Maybe we do need to look at each person as an individual.
In the Bible, 1 Samuel 16:6-7, Samuel sought God’s directions in anointing the chosen man as king, He saw David’s older brother, Eliab, and said, “‘Surely the Lord’s anointing is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'”
Let’s start the conversation – with or without coffee. What are your thoughts about prejudice and judging our neighbors, near and far? What are your ideas of ways we can all live together in peace?
This blog reminds us. We are a Christian nation.
As we look at today’s America, sometimes it’s almost impossible to recognize the country we once knew so well. Contrary to what many would have us believe, we were founded on Christian principles. Today some would call those of us living by those principles terrorists. Instead of living by God’s standards of right and wrong, people are encouraged to do their own thing. Decide for themselves what’s right for them. Our Constitution is considered outdated. Courts are ruling against Christians who make a stand for their within their own businesses. Marriage has been redefined. And on and on . . .
So what can we as Christians do? It’s easy to point fingers. At the politicians. At the ones condemning us for our faith. But God tells us to look inward first.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face…
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What an amazing testimony of God’s love and grace. It’s worth the 5 minutes.
Can the end of time be near? I am not a scientist or a prophet, but I read the Bible and books on prophesy. I heard that during both World Wars people expected Jesus to return at any moment. I would have thought so, too, if I knew the Nazis murdered eleven million Jews. Do you understand how significant that event became? Many times through-out history, Jewish people have been the target of hate and murder, but they still exist. What does that tell you? It tells me God loves them, and even though most didn’t accept His Son, He still loves them and has a plan for them. That’s the kind of God He is. He is a God of love.
Why do I believe the end is coming soon? If global warming is true, then why has Boston had record-breaking snowfalls? Is that global warming? Maybe it is. Maybe the weather changes are part of the birth pangs recorded in the Bible. Why have there been many more storms through-out the world lately. What about the increase in earthquakes and floods? Why have mountains blown their tops, so to speak. Birth pangs? A thought worth considering. A century ago people rarely traveled more that about fifty miles from their homes. Now a trip across the world takes less time than it might have taken our ancestors to travel fifty miles. Birth pangs of the end of time as we know it? It could be. At least think about it. Consider the present times and then consider what the Bible says:
Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pangs.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time, many will turn against the faith and betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to the nations, and then the end will come…For then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened….
“At that time the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other.”
I believe Jesus Christ came to earth in the body of a man and the spirit of God. As promised throughout the Old Testament, Jesus signified the perfect Lamb, the only one who could sacrifice for the sins of believers. If a friend gave you a gift card for your favorite restaurant, wouldn’t you spend it? The death of Jesus became your gift card for eternal life. You can accept that truth, ask his forgiveness, and join his spiritual family or you can choose not to. For your sake, I ask that you read the Gospel of John so you will understand the truth. You can’t work your way to heaven. If you could, Jesus would not have been sacrificed on the cross. Your faith in his gift saves you, not works.
Is this true? Will you be ready? Are you willing to take the risk? What stops you?
If this blog has brought you closer to a decision to become a member of God’s family or if you have any questions, please comment.
Children think differently from adults. Their stories and great imaginations keep us laughing, but their misunderstandings can cause them painful memories that haunt them for a lifetime. Professionals call it “Magical Thinking.” Children believe the world revolves around them. It seems like a good thing. When they hear and believe positive, it is. Since they believe the world revolves around them, they also believe they are responsible for bad things that happen. When there is a loss, such as divorce or the death of someone close to them or a tragic event such as abuse, they may believe it is their fault. That leads to feelings of guilt and shame. Sometimes even simple things can cause those feelings if someone gets angry or blames them.
What can we do? I would love to give you a magic bullet to destroy your child’s negative magical thinking, but no magic bullet exists. I do have an easy way to find out what your child thinks. Ask, but ask with sensitivity. Questions such as: “Who do you believe caused the divorce or death or whatever happened?” Wait for an answer. Then do your best to correct their misconceptions.
What not to say. Never blame another person, especially your child’s other parent. Your child needs the freedom to love their other parent, even if you don’t. In that case, the answer would be “divorce is a grown-up problem.” Also, don’t shame a child for a wrong answer. Just listen.
What About Adults? Adults may still hold on to magical thinking, such as, “I’m going to wash the car, then I know it will rain.” Humorous, but who hasn’t said things like that? Asa counselor, I have heard many sad stories from adults that still blame themselves for things that happened in their youth. Think back to your childhood. Do you remember an event that shaped the way you see yourself and the world? Please share it to help others.
Follow this link to find out how you or your church can minister to small groups of children who don’t live with both biological parents. http://store.livingfree.org/Small-Group-Curriculums_c_51.htm
If you have ever lost a loved one, read this.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard…
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“I would go crazy if I were you.”
“I couldn’t survive losing my child,” not to mention the comments many say quietly to themselves, secretly thankful it wasn’t their child. Let’s be honest. I know many of you suffering through grief have heard similar things and more. Hearing these words makes a grieving soul cringe with pain.
We didn’t choose this life, yet what are we supposed to do when we are face to face with our worst nightmare?
No matter what your grief is let me tell you, yes you can survive. And no, it’s not all sunshine and roses, it’s a dark, lonely, road less taken, but believe it or not, it is possible to come out on the other side.
So how did I survive all these years? At the time, overcome…
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