Will We Accept Hatred or Will We Build Love?

Standard

Our country is once more facing the sorrow of mass murder at the hands of a hateful, angry man. His hate has been expanded beyond the boundary of the church to discussions and conjectures from every corner of the nation.

One hateful, bigoted man has blown bigotry out of proportion, yet again. It was horrifying for a man to murder others in the midst of a prayer meeting, especially in the historic AME church.

It offers every politician a means to make a comment, a statement of disgust, return small donations from one who has been accused of racial hatred. Even President Obama has offered his opinion.

No, bias has not been eliminated, from any of the so-called races. Hatred and bias against others is a means of division, a way to encourage strife and war. Such bias has existed from near the beginning of time, since Cain slew Abel. Satan has used the weapon of bias and bigotry since then as a way to divide the children of Adam and Eve. It has become a favorite weapon in his arsenal.

Causing strife and hatred, leading to arguments and war, is one thing Satan pulls from his quiver frequently—much more often lately.  There has been war of some kind, somewhere for more than one hundred years. Even a small battle, the murder of nine people in a church, has a similar effect, especially in our day of immediate media and immediate reaction, resulting in agitation, unrest, and hate. It draws our hearts and minds from our love of others and our God down to hatred and despair.

We should abhor the murder of nine in prayer meeting. We should be aggrieved by the hateful actions of the murderer. However, our horror at his actions is no reason to further the hatred, increase the bias, or provide photo ops and sound bytes for politicians.

What is happening in the world beyond the furor over the Confederate flag? Surely there is something happening in the world beyond this current battle.

The media is so focused on one event, other larger, more despicable occurrences of hatred happen elsewhere, unmentioned by the press, unknown to the population of our country. How many were murdered in other countries today because they believe in Christ? Have others been lifted by the actions of others? Were there forces of nature affecting the lives of others beyond our borders? Who knows? The eyes of cameras focus on the Confederate flag controversy, or the latest killing of someone by the police. All horrid, unspeakable acts, to be true, but all sharing in the act of drawing Satan’s bow and directing pain and hatred into the population.

We are loved. There is much good in the world today. Much that can be shared to battle for right and beauty. Take a walk and enjoy nature. Sit in a park and watch little children at play. Drive in the country or the mountains. Enjoy the beauties of the world given to us by God.

What else can you do to move from hatred to joy and love? What ideas can you offer?

Advertisements

Show Kindness and Love

Standard

In towns and cities across the United States, people are attacked, their businesses damaged and destroyed because they have admitted to homosexuality. Some people think it is necessary to show their disapproval for another person’s behavior in an open, violent manner. This is not right!

In all things Christ tells us to show love for others. He didn’t accept sin: he overturned the money changing tables in the temples. Still, he loved the sinner. He did not throw stones at the woman found in adultery, rather, offering the woman an opportunity to repent.

We aren’t required to support or participate in sin. We are required to accept the person and show kindness and love. Other actions are specifically not supported by the Savior or the Bible.

We have friends who participate in alternate life styles. Some of my friends find nothing wrong with an evening glass of wine, or an aperitif; others enjoy a cigarette or cigar; some friends participate in homosexual activities; while another may believe extramarital affairs are fine; and others may choose to drink coffee. I, personally, choose to avoid each of those activities. Not all are “sins,” but I choose not to engage in them. My friends have the right to participate if they choose. And, I maintain my friendship regardless of their choices.

I believe in the right of choice. All men and women have the right to choose actions, behaviors, and beliefs. Each can freely choose. However, with each choice comes unchangeable consequences, both positive and negative. The choice may be freely made, but the consequences cannot be changed. Hence, if I smoke, I can expect problems with my lungs.

At one time, laws entered administering consequences for behaviors contrary to those approved of by society. No longer. Standards have been lowered, behaviors once shunned are accepted.

I am certain Eve faced children who made choices she would rather they didn’t. She would want to force them to choose as Jehovah would want, but she knew that would draw her far from God’s plan. She allowed them to choose and face the consequences.

It wasn’t easy for her, it isn’t easy for us now. Even though she allowed them to make choices she would not have preferred, she continued to love her children and show them kindness. She didn’t join them in their bad choices, but that didn’t stop her from being kind and loving them.
Anger, violence, and hatred are not ways to show our disagreement with another’s choices. We, like Eve, need to find ways to stand for our standards and beliefs while still showing kindness and love. Certainly, ransacking a place of business or assaulting people who don’t fit our standards does not reveal the love and kindness required by those committed to obedience to God’s law.

Unfair Dress Codes

Standard

Life isn’t fair, never was, never will be. People who told you that lied to you. But, sometimes there should be a line drawn.

We saw an older man walking down the street with his shirt stripped off and negligently tucked in a back pocket. I looked at my husband and asked, “Why do men think they can walk around with their shirts off?” His comment, almost concurrent to mine, “I don’t want to see his ‘tits’.” Neither did I.

Men have some audacity, thinking it is fine that they run around half naked, and expect that nothing be said or done. Yet, if a woman were to take off the clothing from her upper body, even in the privacy of her own home, she would be considered a tramp, and loose.

Worse, women who dress in the fashion of the day are targets for men who think they have a right to whistle, touch, feel, or rape them. Why should what a woman wears be an excuse for a man’s bad behavior?

Many times, the only clothing available, usually made by men, is tight fitting with low necks revealing more than anyone really wants to see. Try to find a modest, mid-rising neckline, covering your chest. It isn’t possible. They do not make them. The only way to get modesty in dress is to sew for yourself. I have done that for my dresses, but I don’t want to sew tees, or casual blouses. That costs too much money and too much time.

So, men control what we wear, as “fashion designers,” then they gawk and oogle when we wear what is available to buy. They walk around town, all but naked, and we are enticing them? Probably, because we don’t want to look at their skinny, scrawny bodies, or the rolls hanging over the belt. Even if they are in shape, why should we be forced to see them in such a state of undress?

Women rarely rape men and blame it on the man’s state of dress, or undress. Men should offer women the same courtesy, and allow us to dress as well as we can. Do not blame your rude, crude, and lewd behavior on what we wear. Control yourselves. Women, be fair, and control yourselves, as well.

Eve, First Matriarch coming soon

Do We Remember and Honor Our Past?

Standard

Living with a historian is different from living with men of other professions. My historian studies many eras and times, much of it entered into because of genealogical interest, but often focuses on World War II and its implications in our lives today. Any date of interest in that time period is accompanied by movies memorializing the efforts of men fighting for freedom.
Among his studies of the time is what some consider to be a fascination with the Jewish genocide. His claim is his interest is not so much a fascination, but a struggle to understand how people could behave as those men, and women, did—closing their eyes to the horrors inflicted on others, or participating, willingly or not. How could they?
This is a time to memorialize and remember those who gave their lives that we might be free, in all the wars men and women have fought. For many of us, these men and women are our fathers, grandfathers, and uncles, our ancestors. They held on to a belief that freedom of thought and enterprise encompasses great enough value to give a portion of their life, or their death to achieve. These men and women fought with words and weapons to provide that freedom for us, their descendants, and those who came to this beautiful country to find the peace this freedom brings.
As we remember those who gave their all, let us honor their sacrifice. Our lives honor them by doing all we can to maintain the freedom they gave us. Many today do not honor those efforts, those lives. Instead, they blithely give away our freedom to others who would destroy us. For what? Power? Wealth?
There is a faction in the world who desire to destroy us, fearful or jealous of our liberty, our opportunities, our abilities to choose our path. Some have not chosen wisely or well, giving away rights for safety.
Safety is not everything expected. It is good to want relief from danger. Yet, it is in the desire for safety that civilizations give away freedoms and rights. It is in the desire for safe prosperity that gives way to inhuman acts such as occurred in Germany during the second World War.
Have a care. Consider the desirability of the safety offered. Is it really something leading to a better world for all, or just a better world for a few. Too often, when all is said and done, when the effects of the act are truly made visible, laws made for safety and security have done more to destroy our independence and freedom than overt war.
What do you think? Share your opinions.

Ancient Matriarchs: Eve, First Matriarch coming soon.

Will Your Children Be Responsible Adults?

Standard

A basic law of physics states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you push on a something, it will move, or push back. A ball will roll; a wall will push back and hold you up.

The same law applies to interpersonal actions. If you do something, there will always be a response, maybe not something you expected, but there will be a reaction. No action occurs in a vacuum.

When dealing with people, our actions can sometimes be misread, with others feeling everything from humor to anger. It would be easy to suggest that we have no responsibility for the  reactions of others to our actions, but this is not so.

If you smile, you will often receive a smile back, but not always. Sometimes the person you smile at will frown at you or growl. Usually, though, you can expect a smile.

If you hit someone, you can expect two or three things to happen. The person who was hit may cry or curse or be startled. He may fall or wobble. Most likely, he will hit you back.

From the beginning of time, Adam and Eve were given the right to make choices, to act as they chose. They were also held responsible. They chose to eat the forbidden fruit and were not allowed to continue to live in Eden. Their lives were changed for themselves and all their posterity.

It has continued to be the same since then. People make choices and must be responsible for the consequences of those actions. Focus on seeking wealth at the expense of family will distance them until the love and closeness is gone. A choice to be honest in your actions and pay your bills allows one to have good credit and trust from others.

Children must be taught responsibility for their behaviors. Children who do not receive this instruction become difficult to live with. They believe the world owes them a living. Nothing is their responsibility, the fault belongs to others.

Children have a right to learn to be decent adults. Though difficult, parents are expected to ensure their children have opportunities to learn responsibility. If they are not taught, society will suffer from more adults who blame others and expect special attention. For some it is too late. Some may learn. Please teach your children.

No Forgiveness in the Law, No Recognition of Repentance

Standard

A young person I know has recently turned his life completely around. He struggled with addictions to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine, anything that would help him forget his pain. His pain is not unlike many young men, he struggled to discover friendship, to hold onto love, to find his place in an unforgiving, unrelenting world.

This young man ended up on the street, feeling compelled to shoplift in order to eat, sold drugs for money, found himself in dangerous situations and the women with him in more danger, and drove under the influence of alcohol more than once, and was caught by the police driving under the influence. He struggled to find himself and often considered ending his life, seeing no way out of his problems. He is reminded of the struggles of his life by the tattoos and piercings covering much of his body.

He has cleaned up his life, no longer addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or drugs. He is happily married with children. He is back in school, receiving excellent grades in his classes. He is considering moving forward, hoping to attain a law degree. The tattoos and piercings will be expensive to remove, some are not easily hidden. For him, it is not the tattoos or piercings that will prevent his ability to overcome his past. It is his DUI arrest. It seems people interested in the law are not allowed to have problems in their youth, especially problems with drinking and driving.

I do not condone drinking and driving, or driving in an impaired manner. It is dangerous, and people are killed much too often by drunk drivers. However, it is the politicians, the police, the lawyers, and often judges who drive drunk and get away with it. Why is a young man or woman unable to study and take the tests enabling them to practice law because of one DUI? It seems hypocritical to me. “Don’t drink and drive; at least don’t get caught, before you become part of the law. After, it is perfectly fine.”

The law is never blind, regardless of the pictures of justice blinded. It seldom forgives. Men who do cruel, mean, and awful things should never be totally forgiven, I don’t want a rapist or a murderer living next door to me or my family. However, many of our neighbors have driven under the influence and been caught by the police. We don’t fear them or use it against them when they seek employment or education. We continue to be their friends, we cheer when them on in their efforts.

Jesus Christ often reminded his followers, of whom many of us are, of the importance of forgiveness:

 “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive and ye shall be forgiven”[1]

“Take heed to ourselves; if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”[2]

“. . .He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. . .”[3]

Those who make rules forget the great command to forgive, to understand that all men can change. Men and women have the ability to change, to improve, and become better, as the young man I know has changed. His repentance, his complete change should be recognized, should be understood, and given the opportunity to make himself into a valuable member of society.

It’s too bad the law doesn’t recognize repentance.

[1] KJV: Matt. 5:7

[2] KJV: Luke 17: 3-4

[3] KJV: John 8:

Fear of Offense

Standard

Something weird is happening to America. We have accepted people of all nations and religions, eventually with joy. We have been called a “melting pot” and a “stew of nations.” In the early years people emigrating from a new location, such as Ireland and Italy, were met with dismay and suspicion. Never, however, did Americans bow down to a new group of people in fear of offense.

Let me say upfront that the tenants of my religion include:

“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

In the history of my religious belief, men and women faced angry mobs intent on killing or ejecting them from their state many times. Even today we face a lack of respect and suspicion.

When I see Facebook memes suggesting Muslims should be forced to give up their sacred women’s clothing, or forced to give up something sacred to them, I cringe and remind my friends this has happened to us. We must be fair, kind, and loving, not fearful.

However, why should we be so condescending to remove all of the things we love that may offend a Muslim? We have had Muslims in our midst for many years, and have not had problems. They have not demanded we take the cleansing packets from Kentucky Fried Chicken, and why should they? If they don’t want it, they don’t have to take it! Yet, some stores are fearful of offense.

In one state, a store helped a city pay for upgrades to a street, earning the right to put up a sign. It included the word “bacon”. I don’t remember who complained, but they had to remove the offensive word. It offended Muslims. This practice continues throughout our country. We fearfully suggest they be ejected, or we do silly things to avoid offense.

Purposely offending others occurs all the time by “comedians” who purposely give offense to everyone as though it is funny. It is not. There is nothing funny about offense. Friends will tease and say hurtful things in jest, and hurt a friendship. Nothing good ever comes from purposeful offense.

Nothing good comes from fearfully attempting to not give offense, either. We have gone too far in this. We live here in this country, too. We have rights, and I am offended by the fear that drives commercial establishments to remove items for that reason!

Most heinous is that communities are denying citizens the right to fly the American flag, as it may “offend” some part of a community! The flag is a symbol of each citizen’s rights to freedom, fought and paid for by our soldier’s blood. We allow others to fly the flags of the country from which they came, but we don’t allow our flag to fly? Ridiculous!!!!

People move expecting certain rights and opportunities in the city, state, or country. The Statue of Liberty and our flag suggest welcoming them, and allowing newcomers to enjoy our freedoms. They come for our culture, our freedom, our opportunities, and then complain about the culture that provides the very freedom and opportunity they crave. I have seen this happen in cities and states. Now it is happening in our beautiful country. People arrive and take advantage of the benefits provided by our culture; the freedoms earned by the protection of our flag, and are offended by them?

I hate to say it, but the airplane, the road, or the boat that brought them here travels in the reverse direction. Those who are offended by our culture, our bacon, our clean wipes, our flag, can suck it up and be decent human beings, or they can go home!

Without the culture we have developed over the past two centuries, there would be no United States for others to flee to for safety, no place of opportunity so freely available. Because of our culture, we have accepted immigrants whether they arrive legally or not. That, too, is part of our culture. Early settlers came to this country seeking freedoms not available in their home countries. Those freedoms have been earned and rights have been given. No newcomer has the right to disrespect the freedoms and rights won for them by others. No newcomer has the right to receive the benefits of our culture and our willingness to accept them and reject the flag and laws that made the available.

Citizens of this great United States need to get a grip and stop fearing others. We should not purposely give offense, but we should continue to have the right to be free Americans, and enjoy our culture, especially the right to fly the flag of our country, freely.