Respect for Each Other

Respect for Each Other

Our nation has changed in so many ways, and this is so evident in the respect we have for each other. This is reflected in the way we sometimes speak to others. Since the words which come from our lips show what is in our hearts, to solve the problem we need to change the way we see each other. Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). The way we talk to each other should be that which edifies and builds up, and imparts “…grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). How should we regard others as we speak with them? How do we show our respect for them?

Do your behaviors and words show respect?

Do your behaviors and words show respect?

Paul’s instruction to young Timothy illustrates the attitude of respect which should characterize each of us. Evidently, Timothy was faced with rebuking older men who were Christians and needed to make changes in their lives. Paul said, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father” (1 Tim. 5:1). The Greek word for “rebuke” in this passage literally means “to pound, to flatten, to strike with blows.” There is never a time for young men to look at older individuals and treat with disdain. Yet, so often in our day the respect for those who are older no longer exists.

Look at how the Holy Spirit of God described for this young man to deal with those older men in his world. There is never a time for harsh words from arrogant hearts to berate anyone. Paul told this young man to speak to those older as he would his own father.

Paul then turned his attention to the way Timothy was to speak to those near his own age or even younger. How should young men treat their peers? Deal with them as you would deal with your own brother. The term “brotherly love” says so much about the respect we must have for each other (Rom. 12:10; Heb. 13:1; 2 Pet. 1:7).

How should Timothy treat older women? Paul says he should have the same respect he gives his own mother (1 Tim. 5:2). That special place mothers have in our hearts reflects the attitude we need to have toward all older women.

Finally, Paul discusses the respect young men should have toward young women. They should be treated as sisters with all purity. Barnes’ commentary says it this way, “He was therefore to guard his heart with more than common vigilance in such circumstances and was to indulge in no word, or look or action which could be by any possibility construed as manifesting an improper state of feeling.”

Take time to apply these principles to every relationship and the respect we should have for each other. Respect everyone, older and younger, with the dignity God sees in them. It might not change the world, but it will change yours!

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Hypocritical Expression of Oppression

Hypocritical Expression of Oppression

It is one of the most incredibly transparent, insanely ridiculous, and infinitely hypocritical statements ever made, either in the history of humanity or seen written in the sacred Scriptures! After having Peter and John arrested for preaching Jesus, the elders, scribes, rulers, chief priests, high priest and his family and the council at large, then confronted, threatened, and commanded them not to teach God’s truth about Jesus anymore. After the apostles’ release, resumption of preaching Jesus as the Christ, and their subsequent recapture, they were once again set before the council (Acts 3-5). At that point, came this most incredibly transparent, insanely ridiculous, and infinitely hypocritical statement, shooting straight out of the high priest’s heart of hate and horrendously hypocritical lips: “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us (See Acts 5:27-28)! And there it is! Look; these were some of the same, rich, proud, disconnected from reality, elitist and self-centered religious leaders which Jesus had told incredibly clearly, less than two months earlier – just prior to their having Him crucified that is – that due to their prideful hypocrisy, rejection of Him as the Messiah, and their refusal to accept and acknowledge the truth, that all of the righteous blood of God’s many messengers whom He had sent them over the centuries was about to come upon them (See Matthew 23:1-39).  These were also the same, rich, proud, disconnected from reality, elitist and self-centered religious leaders who had so stirred up the common people and caused such a riotous commotion amongst them that they eventually shrieked, shouted, and screamed at Pilate as he desperately sought to release Jesus, “His blood be on us and our children” (See Matthew 27:1-2, 11-26)!

Self declared victims of oppression kneeling in their suffering.

Self declared victims of oppression kneeling in their suffering.

And now, here they are in Acts 5:27-28, insanely unbelievably, and in the absolute height of their unholy and self-righteous hypocrisy, claiming that they are somehow totally and completely innocent in this matter! Here they stand together, united in their commonly-held and completely self-righteous ridiculousness, seeking to shift the blame off of themselves by claiming that it is somehow entirely the apostles’ fault for teaching any truth that even remotely exposes or points to them as guilty in even the slightest or smallest part or portion that is responsible for this national dilemma which they now find themselves embroiled in! That it is somehow all the apostles fault, for even hinting at anything that might even remotely suggest or be seen as seeking to blame them for any iota of the issue – WHEN IT IS TOTALLY, ENTIRELY, AND COMPLETELY THEM AT WHOSE FEET, THE TOTAL, ENTIRE, AND COMPLETE FAULT LIES, FOR HIS BLOOD BEING UPON THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND FOR THE NATIONAL DILEMNA THEY NOW FIND THEMSELVES IN!

It becomes quickly obvious to me, that we see the same sort of unified and utterly ridiculous hypocrisy we read about in Acts 5:27-28, both alive, well, and thriving today, as scurrilously depicted on a particular, popular, sports magazine, the October 2017 issue cover of which is illustrated with some of today’s richest, proudest, apparently also most disconnected from reality elitist athletes, standing together with interlinked arms, while sporting the caption: “A Nation Divided; Sports United,” – like they are somehow totally and completely innocent regarding the current chaos and division in our country when it comes to our national anthem and all that it stands for, when in fact – IT IS THEY THEMSELVES AND THOSE LIKE THEM, WHO ARE MOST DEFINITELY AND COMPLETELY RESPONSIBLE FOR EXPANDING, AGGRAVATING, AND PERPETUATING THE PROBLEM!

Now, as a side-note, I understand that this particular magazine has to go to whatever outlandish, hypocritical, transparent and ridiculous lengths it deems necessary in order to seek to best protect and expand its financial assets and politically-correct persona. Their own immoral agenda has been crystal clear for years to anyone who had even a reasonable measure of common sense and morality, and who, at the same time, actually cared enough to notice. For example, although their February 2014 cover loudly and proudly featured the first openly homosexual player to enter the NFL draft while sporting a caption that pronounced America ready for such, I notice that when that player failed to maintain a place even on any NFL team’s practice squad and was subsequently cut and forced to leave the NFL just a few short months later, that they didn’t run a cover story with a caption that read “First Openly Homosexual Player To Be Cut From The NFL,” or, “America Is Definitely Not Ready For This.” Sadly, their open and outright hypocrisy and immorality seems to be both a well-documented as well as a ‘business as usual’ event. But this time, they may have even outdone themselves!

When you have a group of sickeningly-rich, incredibly elitist, and grossly overpaid and arrogant athlete millionaires (just because they can throw a ball where they want), making what amounts to more than 40 million dollars a year in some cases – think of it: FORTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR; YEAR, AFTER YEAR, AFTER YEAR, ETC – not counting the tens and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars which they also make in endorsements, then protesting how “oppressive” America is to people of color – which most of these mega-millionaires who are making the most noises are – it is not even laughable. It is, in my humble opinion, simply one of the most blatant forms of hypocrisy since the don’t-blame-me-for-His-blood council of Acts 5!

If these mega, multi-millionaire, elitist athletes truly believe that this country – this country which has enabled and empowered them to live their sickeningly rich and lavish lifestyles in the first place – is such a terribly oppressive place to live for people of color such as so many of them who are complaining the loudest are, then why don’t they go live in a different country, like Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, or somewhere else comparable – while leaving their millions upon millions upon countless millions of U.S. dollars here of course, because after all, they were printed in, and stood for, such a terribly awful and oppressive country as America has apparently become in their opinion? Maybe then they’d realize that the U.S. doesn’t need a border wall to keep its citizens in because it’s such an oppressive place, but to keep illegal immigrants out because it’s such an awesome place! A place where any poor kid, no matter His ethnicity, skin color, religion or education level, can grow up to become a mega, multi-millionaire and world traveler, just because he can throw a ball where he wants to – just like them! (But of course we all know that that will never happen don’t we? We all know that that will never happen because it’s always all about the good old American dollars and nothing else, isn’t it? That’s why the current, very predictable, all-out attempts at damage control by the pro football powers that be, to try to convince the buying public that they’re not disrespectful of America’s military after the ‘kneel-downers’ during the anthem began to cost them paying advertisers and paying customers!)

However, they do have one thing right, and that is that there is indeed oppression in our country – oppression which they should truly stand up and fight against should they wish to show any shred of integrity or sincerity in their protest. The fact is, that you’ve got thousands upon untold thousands of hard-working, difference-making, ethnically and racially diverse military veterans, police officers, firefighters, plumbers, doctors, carpenters, truck drivers, office personnel, and etc, who get up and go to work and work hard every day to support their families. And since most of them may only make around $45,000 or so a year, many can’t really afford to take their families to even one pro game or two a year – let alone to purchase their children some of the grossly-overpriced products which these out of touch athletes endorse – just simply because of the millions, upon millions, upon millions and millions of dollars they receive for endorsement contracts while travelling around the country playing a kid’s game. Why, that’s some of the most real, unfair, and oppressive injustice in this country today! And it will take far more than some out of touch with reality, millionaire athletes’ totally disgusting disrespect for this country’s flag as they kneel at the playing of our national anthem, or stand arms interlocked on the cover of some sports magazine, to show any tiny shred or semblance of integrity at their even remotely caring about solving it. If they are so truly concerned about real oppression in this great country (which pays them untold millions of dollars for being entertainers only, while those whose work really matters make but a mere pittance by comparison), then rather than just merely looking for more personally promoting photo-ops and sports magazine cover visibility, here’s an idea: Why not go to their team’s ownership, and tell them they are cancelling their own five year, $200 million plus dollar contracts, and that they want to re-sign for $45,000 a year, so that those hard working Americans who make about the same for actually working for a living, and who have truly been oppressed by the overpriced ticket prices needed to pay for these athletes’ grossly-overpaid salaries, can then afford to occasionally come and see a game with their families. And then, they need to go offer to tear up their endorsement deals with their product companies, if those companies will in turn agree to reduce the price of their products proportionately so that the average everyday working family can actually start to afford them.

Or, how about this? If they are half as concerned with oppression and racial inequality in this country as they claim, then why don’t some of these rich, highly-visible, out of touch with reality elitist athletes who are squawking about how oppressive this great nation is to people just like themselves, really press for more equality? Why don’t they demand that in the interest of fairness and equality, that the teams they play for truly represent the American populace by being comprised of the same, exact, ethnic percentages as the national average? In other words, if a team were, let’s just say, ninety percent “black,” and ten percent “white,” and the national average were, let’s just say for example, 40%  black, and etc, then the team would have to adjust and cut and add players proportionately. I’m guessing that all of the sudden, most of those who never actually had to work an honest day’s labor in their entire lifetimes, and/or who certainly never suited up to go serve their country where real bombs and real bullets were really flying and real people were really dying, would prove to be not at all serious about legitimately standing against real inequality, injustice, and oppression in this country, wouldn’t you?

No, instead, some would rather lock arms – which costs them not one single cent to actually do something about the oppression they so proudly proclaim to care so much about – while continuing to promote and perpetuate the divisive national issue which one of them helped to create in the first place! And this, all the while, in the height of hypocritical absurdity, as they seek to convince others that it is this great country that is divided, while they didn’t have the first thing whatsoever to do with it – WHEN THEY ARE SOME OF THE ONES WHO ULTIMATELY STARTED AND ARE CONTINUING TO FUEL THE CURRENT CRISIS OF DISRESPECT! Please!

And please also… When a world champion athlete of color outright disrespects and publically rejects the invitation of a sitting white president to the White House to celebrate, but would probably have relished attending had the former black president still been there, then please don’t stand up and seek to sell the ridiculous notion to the American public that race has absolutely nothing to do with any of it or that it’s only this great country that’s racially divided. You, by your example (or at the very least the appearance of it) are helping fuel the very fire, racial strife, and division which you claim to so badly hate, while aggressively seeking to deny you had anything whatsoever to do with it. All of this, when you’re at the very forefront, and fanning the flames of this fiery inferno in the first place.

Now, I will readily admit that I did not personally vote for Donald Trump to be our next president. However, I must say I was incredibly impressed with his common-sense dis-invitation to those disrespectful ‘world-champion’ athletes who didn’t want to go to the White House to celebrate anyway. Good for him! It’s about time we had a leader with enough integrity, backbone, and common-sense to be willing to truly stand up to those who are acting like unruly and spoiled-rotten 5 year-old children who are throwing a major temper tantrum simply because they didn’t get their own way. Perhaps at some point, instead of inviting such ‘oppressed,’ elitist, multi-millionaire athletes to the White House to celebrate their entertainment only ‘achievements,’ both he and this great country will re-develop enough appreciation for the common, honest, hard-working and God-fearing family man upon whose back this great country was built and continues to thrive, to invite more of them to celebrate their achievements, contributions, and sacrifices – which actually do matter – to the White House instead.

But until then, and probably even after that, we’ll still have to be subjected to seeing such atrocities occasionally played out as multi-millionaire athletes hypocritically claiming to be united while the nation is the problem, when it is they themselves, by their own incredible and unbelievable disrespect of things such as our own national anthem, freedoms, benefits, and the highest office in the land or on the planet, who are at the very and visible forefront, of the continual perpetuation of such problems. The rich, hypocritical, and out of touch with the truth elitist leaders of Acts 5:27-28 certainly had nothing on them as far as I can see.

 

 

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Be Spiritual

Be Spiritual

There is a lot of talk these days of people who claim to be “spiritual” but not “religious.” The problem with this mindset is that Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared the spiritual man to be the one who receives the things of the Spirit and brings forth the fruit of the Spirit.

Are you indeed spiritual?

Are you indeed spiritual?

One of the problems in the church at Corinth was division resulting from a lack of love and humility. They were following the preaching styles of men and not the message of Jesus. In chapter two Paul declares that there are “natural” men who do not receive the things of the Spirit and there are “spiritual” men who do. He chastises the Christians at Corinth for being neither, they were not “natural” nor “spiritual,” but “carnal.” Like little spiritual babies, that is, Christians who were acting like “natural” men and not “spiritual” men.

It would do us well to ask ourselves what manner of men are we? We are to be mature, spiritual, and faithful stewards of the spiritual things of God. Our giving, living, and loving should all reflect the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). Be faithful!

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