Back from a week off, having been cruising around the Caribbean with Donna. We celebrate our anniversary this way, with the special day being finished with a fancy dinner, in a fancy restaurant, on a big ship somewhere in the Caribbean. It used to be we went there from a frozen and snowy Philadelphia, and there was always the concern if we could get back home, and then how much snow would I have to shovel after hours of plane and airport “fun” just to get the car in the garage? However, it is definitely better to just get off the ship, walk over to the parking lot and get in the car, then drive home in a few hours. Living in Florida does have it’s advantages.
It was on the cruise that I discovered, anew, my dislike of most people. Yes, that’s right- I really can’t stand being around a lot of people because they are so rude and inconsiderate. I can certainly understand why God has had so many issues with us. And that is exactly why it is so important for us to teach everyone we meet, especially our children, about God.
When we read the Bible we are told how people should treat each other, but God is such a “second-class person” in today’s world that His rules and commandments are more like nice ideas than necessary ways to be. People push and shove, cut you off in line, and children run around screaming and disturbing the people around them (while the parents totally ignore them.) And if you were to say something, no matter how politely, you get an earful from them about how intolerant you are, or how they are just children (yes, that’s exactly what they are: children, and as their parents you are supposed to teach them the proper way to behave in public!) and to mind your own business.
God tells us that we are not supposed to look out for ourselves only, but that we should treat others as we want to be treated. Indeed, love others as we love ourselves. Hey, wait a minute! Maybe that’s the answer right there…maybe these people are loving others as they love themselves, and the problem is that they don’t really love themselves? Without a godly perspective, without understanding how much God loves us, and without really feeling and “owning” the pain that Yeshua went through to save our souls, then we can’t really feel love, for anyone, including ourselves. That would explain a lot of it, wouldn’t it? People are self-absorbed, ego-centric and unconcerned with anyone else because, deep down, they don’t know the love of God and the Messiah. They have nothing to go on but what they were given as a child, and the only dysfunctional family left in the world (I think) is the one that isn’t dysfunctional. I mean, just about everyone has some skeleton in the closet, just about everyone has wanted someone else’s mother or father to be their own at one time or another, and just about everyone wishes their life could have been different in some way.
I have reflected on my life plenty of times, and wish that I had been less of an ass many, many times. However, now I know the Messiah and I know the love of God, and I have a wonderful loving relationship with Donna (with whom after 17 years of marriage it still feels like we just started dating) so I really don’t want anything in my past to change, because then my present would be different, too.
I just can’t help believing that the more people know about God and His ways, the history and the truth of His Word, the more they will recognize that there is more to life than what we have. It is the belief that this is all there is that sucks the hope out of everything we do, and makes us so self-centered that we are impolite and unconcerned about anyone else. Even, to some degree, those we love. If this is all there is, then it makes sense that people would want all they can get now. Even something as little as trying to shove onto a crowded elevator when you are on a ship in the middle of the ocean…where the heck are you going to go? It’s a ship…in the middle of the ocean…and you’re rushing so much you need to crowd onto an elevator? Then they end up going up or down one level! What? Your legs are broken? There’s no crutch, or wheelchair, you are standing up fine, but you need to crush in on everyone, even before the people on the elevator try to get off, so you can go down one flight of stairs?
Okay, okay…yes, this is getting a little personal, I confess, but the point is valid, is it not? People don’t care about others because they don’t know how much God cares about them. Do you agree? People who have been brought up well show their love by properly disciplining their children ( read proverbs- it doesn’t say that sparing the rod spoils the child, it says that sparing the rod condemns the child to death! And read also how the Bible tells us a father who loves his children will discipline them, just as God disciplines us because of His love for us.) Today we are too concerned about being friends with our children instead of being parents to them. We are all victims, and we surround ourselves and our children with this teflon coating that says we aren’t responsible for ourselves, or our words, or our actions- it’s all someone else’s fault. I shot someone but it’s because my parents beat me, or I stole because society hasn’t given me a chance, or I didn’t go to school because there was a bully there, or whatever because of anything. There is always an excuse why it isn’t their fault when they do something wrong.
Yet still, before the Lord, they are guilty. I don’t like people, but I like even less the idea of the shock and terror they will have to go through when they face God. It’s because of His spirit within me that I feel I need to try to help those poor souls before they face that terrible truth.
We need to bring God back into society. We, who are Believers and understand why this is so important, need to show the faith and courage God demands of us and be anti-political by bringing up God in every way and opportunity we have. At work, yes, at work, and at play, and at social events. Do it properly, don’t do it in a way that compromises your job or friendships. After all, if we are so strong about discussing a topic most people don’t want to hear, then we will end up not being invited anywhere or having anyone talk to us. Then we can’t do what we need to, which is instruct people about God. Talking to the wall isn’t good, and we already have a “saint” who preached to the birds, so we don’t need another one of those. We need to bring God into the discussion in a non-threatening way; just a mention of His rules and ways. For instance, instead of saying something like, “Don’t you know the Bible says this…..” try something more abstract, such as : “I read in a book that people should act this way because it brings them closer together, socially.” That will leave it open to someone asking which book, and you can follow up with saying it’s an old book, a sort of history book and self-help book, all in one. If they haven’t guessed it’s the Bible, you have their interest enough now to say, “Believe it or not, it’s the Bible. You would be surprised at how many things in the Bible are all about treating each other well and self-help.”
I am not saying to demean the Word, just give it a “spin” that won’t immediately make people think, “Quick, Mr. Scott- bring up the shields!”
I have a friend who once told me that he thinks humanity is a great thing, it’s just all the people that ruin it. I couldn’t agree more. But we are all “the people”, you and I, everyone. We can’t avoid them, and the sad truth is, we need them. We are a social animal and we need the company of others or we go insane. Funny, isnt it? Alone we go insane and other people drive us insane. Maybe insanity is the norm?
Talk God, think God, act godly, and always, always, always teach your children what God tells us we should do and what kind of person we should be. And more than that, teach by example. We need to show the world what knowing the love of God and the love of Messiah Yeshua has done for us so they have a chance to redeem themselves, and really, finally, know what it means to be in love.
Don’t deny people the chance to know true love, the love God has for them. It’s greater than anything they can get from you or anyone else on Earth, and like most things from God, the more you give, the more there is.