Loving Your Neighbor

~ Radical thoughts to follow. ~

So many Christians these days are stuck in thinking of God as the almighty Creator of the universe, the final judge and authority on everything good, and they fear this powerful deity enthroned in unfathomable power.  They get so caught up in the God who utterly crushed Sodom and Gomorrah, caused the ground to swallow up disobedient men whole, and sent bears to maul dozens of “youths” in response to a curse by His prophet after their “teasing” of him.  If that is the God you know, you are missing Him… essentially in a forest for the trees moment.

Now let me get this straight – the God I’m talking about did all of those things, but He is so much more.  The God I’m talking about is not vengeful and destructive – He is creative, He is merciful, He is loving.  He is not hovering somewhere up in space ready to cast down lightning and hurl giant hailstones at you if you stumble and fall in trying to serve Him.

This is why the concept of God the Father is so important.  Think to your own children if you have them.  As a father, we only want the very best for them.  We teach them, guide them, influence them, discipline them, and love them as much as we can before we turn them loose on the world.  God the Father is no different, except that He doesn’t want us to ever get turned loose, but rather to turn back to Him – to love Him in return and to become not just His child, but rather also His friend.

Few men in the Bible were ever credited as friends of God – Abraham, Moses, David. These men didn’t go on and do measly things either. Abraham is the forefather of two great peoples – Jews through Isaac (by extension Christians) and Muslims. Moses became the first civil rights leader the world has ever seen – he led an entire nation from slavery to freedom.  David established Israel as a nation-state and also provided the family lineage for the Son of God to be born with a royal bloodline.  These men also give us a stark contrast though because of their friendship with God – Moses talked God out of destroying the idol worshiping Israelites, but He also repeatedly angered God as well to the point where he was forbidden from entering the Promised Land at the end of the decades-long journey to freedom.  David had a man killed because he thought his wife was smoking hot and wanted her for himself.  Neither of these men were perfectly moral, but they sought and loved God for who He was and unconditionally on their parts.

It is friendship with God that brings with it God’s unconditional mercy.

Instead of fearing God because of His righteousness, power, and judgment, we should strive to befriend God because He is right there waiting for us to do just that.  It’s all that He wants as our Father…. the absolute best for us.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:37

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night of Long Knives

Quick history lesson first before we get into the here and now.

The Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) occurred more than 70 years ago.  This was a German move against members of their own society – Jews.  Jewish-owned stores, buildings, synagogues, homes, hospitals, and schools were attacked – windows broken, demolished, ransacked, vandalized, and burned to the ground.  91 Jews were killed. 30,000 Jews were arrested. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses had their buildings destroyed.  Up until this point in time, Jewish persecution in German-held territory had been limited to politics, social status, and economics.  Following this night, that persecution shifted to physical violence – beatings and murder.  Kristallnacht is considered the very beginning of the horrible evil that has come to be known as the Holocaust.

Now, why would I bring this up today?

Because we, as humans short on perspective and wisdom, are so prone to revisit the mistakes and evils of the past.

Following nearly a week of church burnings and Islamist attacks on Christian sites, the targeting of Christians in Egypt continued with reports of nuns being paraded in the streets, two Christians killed, a statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated, and two Christian female siblings being groped by a mob.

Many Islamists Fault Egypt’s Coptic Christians

In Egyptian village, Christian shops marked ahead of church attack

Islamist mob parades nuns in Cairo as prisoners of war after six hours looting church school and replacing cross with banner resembling Al Qaeda flagThe tremors in Egypt threaten to engulf the region and the world as an whole in a conflict unseen on this planet for a generation.  Christians make up a small minority of the population in Egypt and they are a likely scapegoat for the troubles in that country, the question we have to ask ourselves is who the Egyptians will blame when all of the Christians have been bled out or fled the country.  Israel is next door.History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

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