Building Blocks

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Life can be both confusing and troublesome. Do you ever have that thought? Do you ever sense that life would be so much simpler if we didn’t always have the need to be “right?” Wouldn’t we be a step in the best direction if we opted instead to do whatever we could to create, maintain and if need be, restore relationships? The scripture says a friend sticks closer than a brother.

 

There are times in my journey where I get the sense the road is bumpy and uncomfortable. That happens most often when I perceive people don’t really know my heart. What’s true for me is probably also true for you.

 

Sometimes it is incredibly painful to be misunderstood or falsely accused or simply not given the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, I guess it is human nature to look for the worse in others rather than graciously providing them an encouraging word and going the distance to support their best interest.  Human nature goes against the gain of the quality of life that God intended.

 

Isn’t that the avenue on which most of us live and work? We don’t celebrate a lot of diversity in our lives. Everyone generally needs to think the way we think to be considered to have great value. We may have value otherwise, but it doesn’t reach the category of great value.

 

I went to bed Saturday night giving thought to some of the kinds of things that separate people. I went to be thinking of some of the barriers that create discord and unrest. The things that separate us oftentimes pit friend against friend thereby redefining them as a foe. Isn’t that the direction we generally tend to lean?

 

It all seems like a contradiction of how God intended life to be lived. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [John 13:34-35]

 

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” [Romans 12:10]

 

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” [1John 4: 7-8]

 

Three things come to mind that consistently serve as a catalyst for disagreement and division. They include: politics, racial relationships and gun control. Most of us posture ourselves with fairly strong opinions in all three of these arenas and we discover that what once seemed like a level playing field overnight becomes the catalyst for discontent. Who would have thought?

 

In terms of race relations, doesn’t the love of God make all men equal? Biblical mandate is clear: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. [Galatians 3:28]

 

So how far are we willing to bend to promote harmony and unity?  “So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live–for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble”. [I Corinthians 8:13]

 

Okay, so maybe I’m not a strict constructionist in the application of that verse to my life. You may not agree with me in principle. After all, I don’t always get it right. “Never ever eat meat again” seems a little far-reaching don’t you think? But I can promise you this: “If I invite you to lunch and know you’re a vegan, I’m not going to order a rib-eye steak and eat that in front of you while you’re munching on Tofu, nuts and sprouts. It’s not going to happen!”

 

I’d never be that insensitive. At the same time, I’m inclined to think that next time I might suggest that we meet for coffee instead of lunch. After all, conversation is pretty good at Starbucks and they don’t serve Tofu.

 

We can get so disoriented over what really matters. Somehow our priorities seem so skewed with the building blocks Jesus indicated should serve as a baseline for living. Didn’t he say something about the last shall be first? He also said something about “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant”. Are you kidding me?

 

The thing about human nature is that it doesn’t take into account the kinds of changes God wants to orchestrate in our lives. If we desire to make a difference, human nature has a tendency to be self-serving rather than God-focused. We need strength beyond our innate ability or human instrumentality to opt to live differently.

 

Life can be confusing and troublesome. Do you ever sense that life would be so much simpler if we didn’t always have the need to be “right?” Wouldn’t we be a step in the best direction if we opted instead to do whatever we could to create, maintain and if need be, restore relationships? The scripture says a friend sticks closer than a brother. It takes the love that only God can provide to make that happen. Left on our own, we mess it up everytime.

 

All My Best!

Don

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