Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
What does this mean? Does it mean we shed our skin and look different?
It means GOD no longer sees us as sinners – past, present or future – because Jesus has paid the price for sinning: death, ultimately spiritual death. GOD has amnesia with respect to our sinful nature and we are assured of an eternal life.
For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
We have a new spiritual nature and depending on our progress as new creatures becoming more Christ-like we will display this change more as we grow in our Christian walk.
Some sins are easy to defeat but, some sins are PERSISTENT and take a RELENTLESS desire to purge from our being.
Hebrews 2:18 ESV
For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
And so my fellow Christian, if you keep up the “Good Fight” against even the sinful tenancies within your self Our Lord can help you succeed. Remain committed, recall the victories, if you stumble repent and continue to walk in the faith. Study God’s Word each day, feed your mind what is good, and fellowship with like minded believers helping each other to be that “New Creature” even in this old world.
Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/
President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s Dream in 1964–65 * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Society
During the 1960’s the social upheaval, the negatives and the violence was only part of the story. In those years President LBJ was part of an effort to make life more equitable for Americans. He revealed his dream for a better America with ￼his desired improvements in education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation.
Just getting a chance to create Federal programs that would facilitate these positive efforts took a great deal of political skill (LBJ was a master politician). What was successful and what was not I will leave that up to you if you care to research the subject thoroughly. I am not going to evaluate his effort, nor examine the historical record now. My focus is on why I believe Christians can influence our society in many positive ways because of Biblical principles and can move humanity toward a Great Society nevertheless.
The Bible does not indicate that humans can establish perfection on Earth; it does instruct us how to live better.
The Holy Scriptures point us to a future when GOD will establish a New Kingdom upon a New Earth. Jesus Christ will rule.
Revelation 21:1 ESV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
In the meantime Christians can do a great deal (and some have) to make living on this Old Earth better. Christians know from the Bible that humans are susceptible to self-serving motives and in some instances evil attitudes and behavior. Modern society dislikes the word “sin” so much that there are many people saying it does not exist; wishing it away will not make it vanish. Acknowledging it will help people to do a better job at lessening sin and its negative effects. The Bible paints a realistic picture of life as we know it and instructs us how to be victorious. First you must be honest.
Romans 3:23 ESV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Next Christians must strive to live the new life they have been granted even as their spirit still dwells within their old body.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Victory over sin in this life requires a number of proscriptions and prescriptions.
Yet it is not a simple matter of memorizing a list of do and don’t instructions (Like The Ten Commandments), it is understanding our nature, believing GOD, and possess the commitment to persevere knowing at times we will fall short.
1 Timothy 6:12 ESV
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Even if Christians are diligent this Old World can only improve to a degree; human nature and current reality will prevail.
1 Timothy 6:17 ESV
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
Matthew 25:37-40 ESV
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Manipulation – control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously. www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=define+Manipulation
Mind control (also known as brainwashing, re-education, brainsweeping, coercive persuasion, thought control, or thought revision) is a controversial pseudo-scientific theory that human subjects can be indoctrinated in a way that causes “an impairment of autonomy, an inability to think independently, and a disruption of thought…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_control
MANIPULATION is operational
Advertising in all its forms is omnipresent here in the United States; in fact around the world in many if not most countries. This part of our reality can be viewed as a necessary specter because though a nuisance businesses need to advertise in order to function and compete – new and worthy products and services are often revealed in this way. When does manipulation become mind control?
Brainwashing or mind control . . . etc.
Is it real? Science Fiction demonstrates what this concept could be if it becomes irrefutable yet there are skeptics and experts that resist accepting even the possibility. OK I am not an expert; I need to lean on the literature experts present. Yet, when I review the research published about how our human brains work I suspect the science fiction writers have raised important questions about the possibility of actual mind control.
Our Brain is more than a Super Computer
We store memories and information not in a static state as a computer but rather in a dynamic state. The value of knowing this alerts us that our memories are not infallible and can be altered. Whether or not external forces can modify our minds substantially or not may be debatable but, it seems to me the more willing we are to accept change and, the longer we are exposed to what affects change within our brain, I believe the more likely changes will occur. How, parents influence their children, schools facilitate learning, the military trains and organizations guide their employees are all dependent on knowing how our brain works. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series “The Brain – The Story of You” and the companion book written by Dr. David Eagleman presents an excellent snap shot of where science is today concerning understanding our human brain. I recommend both highly. It may be just a matter of time before true and complete Mind Control is indisputably real.Our Brain is more than a Super Computer
Can the INTENTION justify the end result
Last week I wrote about “The Greater Good” and the danger of the concept when its definition is changed or is subject to change; the thoughts about this subject can lead one to consider implementing a perceived “good thing” by any means possible. Who decides what will offer the most good to whom and how many? The method of accomplishing the goal can be negative for some. Shouldn’t that cancel its implementation. Many of us probably heard a parent say, “I am doing this for your own good.” This most likely was true. As a citizen of a complex and often devious world we are reluctant to be so easily convinced by a political leader who espouses plans in a similar fashion. So what are we to consider when we plot a course for our life?
We are FINITE and subject to limitations
As a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord and I tend not to ‘lean on my understanding’ but rather trust GOD’s Word as a guide for my life. If studying and applying lessons learned from the Holy Bible manipulate me I do believe it is for my good and for the good of all.
Excerpts from the Holy Bible (ESV)*:
Proverbs 22:6 ESV
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/
In a world increasingly influenced by multiculturalism, pluralism and (seemingly CONTRADICTORY) individualism circumstances may beg the question: What is meant by The term “The greater good”?
If we could eavesdrop on two wise and learned people engaged in a debate about “The Greater Good” – one from antiquity and one from a possible future – perhaps we may gain some deeper understanding of this concept.
Standing on a stage before a group of people from around the world and many different periods of time, are two distinguished representatives about to debate one another on what is meant by the phrase “The Greater Good”?
￼The representative for the ancients is a man named Manu on the right; the representative for people yet to be extant a woman named Ai on the left; I (James) shall be seated below and in front of them and act as moderator when necessary.
Moderator: Ai and Manu you have read the rules for this discussion; if you do not have any questions are you ready to discuss the topic “The Greater Good”?
Moderator: Manu please tell us about what the term meant to early humans before there were cities, farms or permanent settlements.
Manu: In those days the created people emerged from the forests and engaged the world; the men hunted or fished as the women and children (able enough to help), gathered seeds, fruit and other small edibles. All helped manage water use and waste disposal. These practices constituted the first rules intended to insure survival; they insured all members of the group had the best chance to survive. Survival equaled “The Greater Good” Not adhering to them would certainly lead to death.
Moderator: Ai in the eras yet to come does this clear concept still ensure survival for the people who live in the future?
Ai: “The Greater Good” in the future is the same as “Do what Ever Makes You Happy”.
Moderator: Manu what kinds of humans suffered punishment and why if they were judged to do things or behave in such a way as to violate the rules jeopardizing survival of the many?
Manu: In the earliest days there were no jails or systems to modify or control recalcitrant individuals therefore capital punishment was the norm. Very few violators were punished in less severe ways. Gradually with the advent of larger populations other punishments requiring payment or restitution supplanted capitol remedies.
Ai: Allow me: In the future there is no punishment we understand all things are relative so we tolerate all but a very few crimes; the only remedies are control of a violator with substances that modify their behavior or relocate them. We no longer prosecute victimless crime.
Manu: Excuse me, what kind of life do individuals lead?
Ai: Most law-abiding individuals are happy and content; everything is provided from cradle to death (death is only determined by choice of the individual) or they can live perpetually since science prolongs life indefinitely. People try this or that but most settle into a quiet lifestyle enjoying constant virtual reality entertainment.
Manu: Is there nothing to engage in? No great people of science or leadership?
Ai: There is no need for any of that. Machines attend to every conceivable need a person may have. Machines do all the work and people simply seek pleasure and enjoy whatever pleases them.
Manu: And what about spiritual life, family life, friendly competition, exploration of the universe or altruism?
Ai: Those are all things of the past. There are no needy people; we can explore any imagined world using virtual reality; there is no need for GOD, God or gods we are each a god of our own. Humans can choose to live perpetually if they want to.
Manu: What is the average life span in this Utopian future?
Ai: Life span by choice averages about thirty years of age . . .
Ai: By that age most people have experienced all the joy they can and chose to vacate allowing room for a newly emerged individual . . .
Moderator: Ai and Manu I am sorry because that is all the time we have for today’s debate. We hope to see you both again and continue with this topic.
to be continued.
I am not sure what you make think concerning this topic but, I as a follower of Jesus Christ trust Him for my future.
GOD has created us for a purpose that is beyond our selfish selves. In this life we can be transformed by following HIS precepts; we can be fulfilled; we can know that we have a purpose and a destiny; HE will prepare us for a new future with HIS gift of eternal life that has meaning and fulfillment now and forever more.
Some Bible verses that point the way:
Isaiah 5:20 ESV
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
James 2:14-17 ESV
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Galatians 6:9 ESV
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Galatians 5:19-26 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. …
Proverbs 4:27 ESV
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
Romans 12:21 ESV
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The young-boy had taken a candy bar and was caught when he was escorted home by the patrolman everyone agreed: It was just a little thing. When his dad came home mom told him, “It was just a little Thing.” A few years passed and the boy was about to enter high school when a note arrive in the mail from his teacher:
'Dear Mom and Dad,Your son was caught sharing answers on the final exam . . . in light of his generally good record we'll consider it just a mistake . . . no punishment beyond a re-test is warranted . . . IT WAS JUST A LITTLE THING .Truly Your, Mrs. Teacher'
Now a teenage driver the young man had worked part-time and saved enough to buy his first car. One evening he and his best friend were ￼speeding home from a party; a patrolman waiting for speeders near their hometown caught them. The patrolman recognized him because he knew his father well, so he said, “Son in light that this was just a little thing I am letting you go with a warning; just do not do it again.”
In the university the young man did well with maybe a minor indiscretion or two now and then: they all were “just little things.” He finished his education and advanced as an attorney and eventually ran for, and was elected to, political office. His political career flourished and the story of his life seemed to be the embodiment of The American Dream.
When he had matured in age and stature he held one of the highest offices of the land; he was respected and heralded as a respectable elder statesman. No one including he ever dreamt of the disgraceful ending that befell him. It was exposed in the news to everyone that many of the political accomplishments attributed to him were achieved by subterfuge, backroom deals, deception and in one instance breaking a law.
As he was led away from the courtroom where he had been convicted he mumbled over and over, “It was just a Little thing.”
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
James 1:15 ESV
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
1 John 1:8 ESV
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Discipline your child, and he will give you rest; he will bring you happiness.
Population Control is an emotionally charged subject that often evokes strong emotion when debated.
Reasons for this are manifold: Religious, tribal, economic, fear, hate, historical, reprisals, political, limited or lack of resources, selfish, arrogant, criminal, misguided . . . or a combination of factors. Contributing factors that have the potential to be equivalent to population control could be, poor or sparse health care, easy access to weapons, easy access to alcohol and drugs, the availability of abortion on demand, a limited or substandard food supply: just some of the factors to consider potential population control mechanisms.
For this reason I will not express the rationale for approving or disapproving theoretical speculation: investigative research, statistical analysis, and other objective methods would surely be needed before a definitive conclusion with remedies be declared.
No matter why or how a particular population of humans may or may not be controlled is not the focus here.
The point of my blog post is two-fold: 1) examine facts and fallacies about human population growth, and 2) consider what may be an equivalent population control intended or not. When people are motivated by a belief about a growing population that is negative, they may quickly descend into a position favoring population control with no logical basis for it. If conscious efforts fall short, subconscious effects on decisions may be manifested unintentionally or even worse, by an agenda conceived and implemented in subterfuge intentionally.
Is over population on a global scale a myth or real threat to humanity?
Every time people predict that we will run out of resources or food human ingenuity finds solutions to the challenge. I believe there is enough food and natural resources wasted even now, that if this wastefulness was remedied all the people of the world could be adequately supplied. Renewable resources, renewable energy, increased production efficiency, less planned obsolescence, better urban and suburban planning and, preservation of natural habitat for all living creatures seems possible along with greater efficiency in use and manufacturing. Then too, there is the ultimate probability humans will become a space-faring race of sentient beings in the not too distant future – thus opening new possible homes and resources for people for some time.
I have a saying, “Too many people too close together equals too many problems and too many laws.”
Yet even this picture of growing populations in finite spaces is a fallacy, we have room for people: There are vast areas where people can live: marginal lands improved my technology, innovative methods that allow people and wildlife to coexist sharing space and new cost-effective energy sources that encourage new communities. New communities in areas with new opportunities for gainful employment hitherto too remote and hard to supply with required energy via conventional sources.
The image of a crowded inner cities where crime, substandard living conditions and undesirable habitat are prevalent, need not be extant. The conditions that create the circumstances for all these perceived negatives endured by people, may be the result of people seeking to live in substandard conditions. The people who live in these places like and create the situation that they live in – that often is the perception held by outsiders I believe. The converse idea that the situation creates the stereotypical people who populate the area in question is closer to reality. A vicious cycle feeding on itself: children are negatively affected while maturing and living in such an area and, they grow up believing there is where they belong thus sustaining the substandard area. Why? Because this is expected and, it seems there is insufficient interest and effort devoted to breaking the negative pattern. Another way to picture it: consider what happens when people are herded into – or confined to – places by suppressed economic conditions and are forced into where substandard conditions already beginning to take hold are thus overcrowding makes things worse. This is likely to accommodate the negative view and make the feared results a continuous reality. Social change from negatives to positives most probably is a generational phenomenon once the cycle sets in; think carefully, did a negative substandard milieu get that way overnight? Not likely, so it will not be remedied overnight either. It will take education, financial help and hard work to turn urban blight into prosperity.
What laws are passed or not passed, behavior of authorities, business practices or even qualifications for societal benefits may all serve a population control agenda.
These practices if governed by blind adherence to tradition or are linked to the subconscious negative view of the creators and not recognized as such. The status quo may be fiercely defended and if negative effects are demonstrated but judged to not be an intentional attempt to control the population growth then what? What about the identified population can it really be the natural outcome of the culture of the population in question? Perhaps some may say the effect on a segment of a population that may be negatively affected from the effects of the way their own political overseers carry out their governance and not any external effect.
Humans are not always truthful and one negative human trait that illustrates this well is the art of deception; it can also include self-deception. Think hard and carefully about what you think you know and how you came to know it concerning “The Bad Side of Town”. You may realize short of organized genocide the methods and effects may be very subtle. The control of a particular minority, race or class of people is not easily exposed because it may be an expected part of contemporary life but not recognized as such.
Let me get to the major goal of this post: the following paragraph will introduce ideas worth considering in view of the concept of population control.
Whether or not population control is actually a part of our society here in ￼The United States of America, it should be considered a possibility. It should be considered a possibility because the socioeconomic and equality problems recognized by even a casual observer may be correctable. In a land so filled with wealth, talent and passion it is hard to accept that nothing can change the situation of the poor living here. Young people please study and research the economically challenged of America. See if you can apply new ideas for change on old persistent problems that keep so many of our fellow citizen from enjoying a better life. People like these remain on the economic sideline and have not had their fair share of the American Dream.
Getting to the another major point:
Deep inside our minds may lurk ancient assumptions and practices that once helped us survive and thrive. We are hardwired to see faces, recognize differences, quickly determine friend or foe. I believe other latent ancient survival mechanisms probably exist as well. What was out of the ordinary could represent a threat so these mechanisms are understandable. Strangers may well have had clever tactics to overwhelm and conquer us in the distant past. Anomalous individuals born into our midst may have represented new unacceptable burdens, because they became non contributors, or disrupted the normal flow of peace and tranquility. Maybe they had to be eliminated in order for the group to survive. If resources grew short it may have led to warfare where the victor survived and the vanquished perished. The responses to these conditions may be in our genes: suppressed perhaps, but able to influence us in subtle ways even now. We as intelligent creatures have the ability to discover this and do something about it. We do not have to act as if we are condemned to repeat the same old mistakes of our past. We can and must change.
￼When we truly see all our fellow homo sapiens as family we will alter any destructive practice or impulse that emerges in us (of this I am sure).
If a population is perpetrating acts of violence upon their neighbors we can act to engage the evil and bring it to an end. If people are suffering and dying we can provide medical care to save them. If ignorance is limiting people to substandard wages and a low standard of living, we can educate them. If they live in horrible conditions, do not have safe water or sufficient food we can change that. If they are naked and cold we can give the clothing and shelter that is warm. If you study children and follow them as they grow to become adults you may discover much of the good they could have offered our society, was lost somewhere along the way. The very few people who represent stubborn problems can more easily be addressed in youth, before they become uncontrollable adults who seem to repeat evil acts perpetually.
When we do not address these challenges we may inadvertently be imposing a form of population control upon some of our people.
As a follower of Jesus Christ I believe the wisdom for our times is easily found in the Bible; all you have to do is accept it.
Excerpts from the Holy Bible:
Genesis 1:28 ESV
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Psalm 127:3 ESV
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Matthew 7:12 ESV
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.
If you consider that all living things seem to depend on each other caring for living things is beneficial for all life.
All life? Yes. all life is inter-connected. Scientists talk about food chains from microscopic to macroscopic; plants make food by photosynthesis and animal life consumes it; waste products becomes fertilizer; plants and
￼microbes store carbon and emit oxygen; beavers dam streams and habitat for aquatic life including amphibians is created. Humans appear to be the preeminent living creature on top of it all because we alter, consume and promote environments and even living things.￼
￼￼Why do some humans abuse their position?
Humans can be so aggressive and selfish when harvesting food and materials for their needs that the result is devastating to environments they share with other living things. This negative effect is becoming apparent on a planet wide scale affecting oceans, forests, lands and the atmosphere.
Abusers include the most hideous of all: poachers. Poachers kill living things just for a very small part of an animal: a tusk, an organ or a hide and more. Pollution is a problem a by-product of scale but, poachers are motivated by greed and their markets are the equivalent to nothing less than selfish evil. Whether deliberate abuse, accidental damage or ignorance the effect is the same: the planet becomes less able to sustain many life forms.
￼￼￼Before you dismiss this article as leftist propaganda think again.
As a follower of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior I have learned that GOD the Creator has considered our world with all that is alive upon us as “Good”. GOD’s Word teaches us to use not abuse, to be considerate, respectful and competent stewards of all we preside over. It is clear to me from the beginning we humans are intended to be the caretakers of our world: Our only home, Planet Earth.
￼Selected Biblical Excerpts*:
Proverbs 12:10 ESV
Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
2. Genesis 1:28 ESV
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds ￼of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”￼
Exodus 23:5 ESV￼￼
If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.
Genesis 1:20 ESV
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”
Genesis 2:19 ESV
Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.￼
Genesis 2:15 ESV
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.it.
7. Numbers 35:33-34 ESV
You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no Yes it is OK to Love Animals and all living things showing respect and consideration for their place here on Earth.atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
*Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/
Forgiveness Options: A. Superficial; B. Conditional; C. Unconditional
Why do I believe human life on Earth cannot survive without forgiveness?
Anyone can forgive someone who they are in a relationship with, they admire or agree with; it is much harder to forgive a stranger, one you disagree with or your enemy. The awkwardness within our milieu is due to a fundamental misunderstanding exacerbated by the emotionally charged word “Love” in the English language. Languages such as Greek have several words depicting love in various forms: emotional, erotic, friendship . . . Yet like love, forgiveness offers and expresses many different things.
To forgive need not involve your emotions.
It feels wonderful to forgive and be forgiven within a relationship such as a marriage. Yet the human race can overcome some of the most tragic and horrific episodes of human history by choosing to forgive and act on it even when we do not feel like we want to. When enemies chose to forgive and not inflict acts of vengeance on a vanquished foe, though ill feelings still linger, they assume the higher moral ground, discover their hate subsides and all the people effected by the recent conflict recover faster and better.
No greater example of this can be found then the relationships The United States of America embraced after World War II.
The USA assisted Germany and Japan – former enemies – recover as well as innocent and allied nations. The post WWII world experienced a remarkable trend toward peace (not a perfect peace though) when within the global family of nations Germany and Japan became productive positive entities. This was not the way losers of previous wars were treated nor did they expect this altruistic treatment. Where does this concept originate?
God bestowed upon humanity instructions that when followed yield the best outcome for more people for a longer period of time.
As a Christian I discovered that within the Holy Bible prescriptions are furnished as well as proscriptions for humans to live by. One of the greatest lessons became obvious to me after living a while and observing life: Emotions are fleeting and decisions made under their spell often calamitous. As the old cliché reflects, “Cooler heads prevailed . . .”. Not to imply pure emotionless logic is the route I promote but rather, act when one has gained control of his or her emotions and clear thinking dominates so one can recognize the best decision for the situation at hand. Forgiveness leads to better things but one can only see this when emotions are held at bay and reason prevails.
Christians gained this insight fro the Holy Bible; excerpts follow:
Ephesians 4:32 English Standard Version (ESV)
32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Proverbs 10:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.
Matthew 6:12English Standard Version (ESV)
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 18:21-22English Standard Version (ESV)
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
John 13:34English Standard Version (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
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Each bending or ignoring of the rules does not seem like much when viewed in isolation.
I have read about corrupt governments, terrorist enclaves, lawless no-man’s lands and places of weak law enforcement around the World. Maybe you have too. Maybe you think or even say, “I am sure glad I live in The United States.” You may also wonder how people around the world could tolerate or even support such despicable behavior from their fellow citizens.
Do we have the best country in the world?
Statistics can be manipulated, politicians can pander or spin things to suit their purposes –which are often linked to special interests – media can try to subtly sway public opinion . . . and I can go ￼on with describing ways in which everyday citizens can be mislead or even completely fooled yet, what is one really big source of influence that can be used on us all? It is the threat of being labeled disloyal – or even treasonous – because of what we believe, say or do. This can be alluded to or even directly hurled our way when we ask too many questions, want to know how money is being used or disagree with a popular movement. In a country ￼populated with at least 320 million people and in as large an area these United States of America exist in, a myriad of differences of opinion, views and expectations suggest life here can become very complicated if we let it. It is unrealistic to expect that all the people will agree about everything all the time. Still, as a Nation we have a remarkable history of sticking together despite our differences ( at least usually).
In The U.S.A. differences have been a source of strength.
I can say for a vast land with a large population we have a remarkable ability to remain united (for all practical considerations at least). We do have poor people in depressed areas (and some exist almost everywhere), we do have some people discriminated against and we do have some people living in areas that are below the national standard in terms of what services are there or the quality of those services (i.e. Internet connection speed). Still, we produce plenty of food, have many great roads and even offer some alternative transportation options, provide mostly good quality fresh water for people to use and decent sanitary conditions utilized a very large-scale that is probably is unmatched globally. Still in the interest of fairness and truth, there are a few negatives I should mention.
In this world we know that nothing is perfect; imperfection exists even in the U.S.A.
Injustice does happen, disrespect happens, bullying can threaten some school children, there is hunger and homelessness even in affluent areas; yes some needy peopledo fall through the cracks of our social safety nets. World comparisons (though often distorted by scale differences) indicate we can do better, in education, in holding the cost of health-care down and in getting more young people into post high school education or job training. We also can do better in correcting theddiscrepancies in income levels for men versus women, for different races and different regions. We also can do better with managing beneficial government programs especially when they are undermined by special interests and corruption. I have read that each year as much as $50 Billion dollars are lost to corruption in Medicare: if we spent $2 Billion dollars on enforcement of Medicare rules and recovered half of $50 Billion dollars, the enforcement costs would be worth the expenditure. Still, none of these (and a few others not delineated) upset me more than a negative trend I recognize in the everyday experience going about my quintessential daily routines.
Trend: Increasing willingness to bend the rules even break some laws.
Income inequality, corruption, over or under regulation and the subterfuges hidden in business practices of large entities (private industry or in government agencies) may be a big part of the root cause of this increasing lawlessness. To me is not a valid excuse for this trend but with bad examples I suppose we must expect it; to me these acts in fact reveal selfishness and greed that is even moving toward a disregard for the sanctity of human life – or at the very least a loss of respect for one another. Phrases like, “Every body does it,” ” it is a stupid law anyway,” “How else am I going to get what is due me or get ahead?” Comments like theseindicate that the hearts of the people who try to excuse or defend this trend are being worn down by lax moral teaching or strong influence from bad examples. Before I write about the more serious aspects of the decline in the rule of law and weakened practice of civility, I want to tell you about the seemingly “little things” that for the most part do not require assistance from law enforcement, but, degrade the quality of life for many of us and, may be becoming more than just a nuisance or annoyance. These behaviors if they continue to increase encourage rational for bad behavior or the disregard for our fellow citizens‘ rights.
Little white lies and minor violations.
In 1955 when I was eight years old my father started to tell me about “little white lies” but my mother promptly intervened and with a chuckle tapped my father’s shoulder and said, “Stop, he has plenty of time to learn about that.” That was true, and later I did learn that sometimes not telling the truth about what appears to be a trivial matter could spare someone’s feelings, avoid a senseless argument or avoid admitting to a seemingly benign “something” I may have done. In all of these situations and many similar ones the “ideal” of always telling the truth, or emulating the myth that George Washington could not tell a lie, produced an inner conflict within me: my religious training contradicted the concept of “how things really are” and what in reality was the sliding scale used to judge what good and bad actually meant. And now I have even learned that George Washington a father of our country practiced espionage during the Revolutionary War; though for obvious good reason but learning of this demystification of a national hero, did and does make me feel like I had been fooled when I studied history as a child.
Like most of my friends and family I gradually learned how much disinformation, omissions of truth and denials worked well to hide my guilt so it would be recognized. I deftly learned when to own up to something so I didn’t get deeper into trouble or deceive in order to stay out of trouble altogether. in fact the whole culture around me as I matured became a delicate balance of truth verses “little white ￼lies.” Then one day “Bam!” I crossed a line and flirted with doing more serious duplicity; from then on my game of “truth and lies” matured into actually breaking rules willfully, consciously bending laws and even violating a couple of the “Ten Commandments.”
I had to admit some, pay the consequences for some, confess sin sometimes and wrestle with an annoying conscience even if I thought I got away with something. In order to function I developed a keen “streetwise” sense about daily life and, often that spared me the worst of possible consequences that I could have experienced, for whatever breach of a rule or a law I was responsible for. I vow that this article isn’t going to become an article of true confessions, I’ll save that story for another time. I will only say this: the norm of the milieu from which I matured within wasn’t perfect but, there were invisible lines that almost everyone knew not to cross, or unspoken limits not to pass. Comparing that to today’s norm however, almost makes the past look like the days of innocence touted in urban mythology.
The problem with saying, “Yes that is the ideal but this is the way it really is,” allows for a gradual process of ever-increasing tolerance to whatever we may consider in our own minds to be just a “little white lie” and therefore “no big deal.” Later I will comment on the standard I believe in by which human behavior is judged and why we are incapable of achieving “perfect honesty”, but, I want to emphasize this: in the absence of striving for honesty at a high moral standard lessens the quality of life for most people. A better trend: trying for the highest standard one can achieve thus reducing life’s negative effects that come from one another.
Now what is the trend toward more serious disregard for others?
So, we accept some degree of hypocrisy in our world and even sometimes come to practice it ourselves – even if inadvertently. After all, “Nobody’s perfect. Right?” One big problem with that: How and where do we draw the line? Who becomes the person (or persons) who draws the line? Is where the line sits arbitrary? Is it immovable? Is the line extant at all?
Well, we have a government that creates laws and various “police” entities that enforce them. Still with so large a population as in The United States of America there are way too many people to manage easily, way too laws (sometimes elected officials pass laws as to appear like they are doing something I think) and way too many people willing to bend them. Even way too many people willing to even break them, so as a matter of practicality the degree of enforce is at best a selective process. Having to decide which laws to enforce happens out of necessity because of the complexity and huge undertaking it has become. And so, ignoring some laws and definitely ignoring some immoral behavior results in a de facto allowing them to continue (perhaps with a wink and a sigh) with little or no restriction. Isn’t this the reality of life now? So why do I have so much trouble accepting it?
In my lifetime I have noticed the gradual increase of the kinds of lawlessness that degrade the quality of life for many people: headlights too bright (or misaligned), increased recreational drug use creating a bad atmosphere (especially for children), the disregard for speed limits (especially in highway work zones), snow allow to fly off the roof of a vehicle and smash the windshield of the vehicle behind, non physically challenged drivers parking in disability reserved parking, using extra-large tires without mud flaps to stop flinging stones, non courteous driving (non use of directional vehicle lights, no vehicle lights in low viability situations), non courteous shopping behavior in stores or sloppy services provided by technicians, and, a sense that cheating is alright as long as you don’t get caught. In a climate of “I can pick and chose which laws or rules apply to me, a degradation of the quality of life for the people you share space with is easily achieved. The lax attitude also makes graduating to perpetrating more serious transgressions a lot easier.
A trend like this is not a joke.
Cheating on taxes, insurance fraud (especially with Medicare) passing in no passing lanes, shoplifting, Affluenza type excuses for failures to obey laws, pilfering, theft, larceny, brutality and with the diminished value of life where even murder for absurd reasons is happening. Murder for a piece of fruit, for shoes, for a belt or even worse, just for fun. One more thing, I do not believe there is such a thing as a “victim-less” crime in any case. Someone does experience physical or emotional (psychological) harm even if the negative effect is not immediately recognizable by an act or behavior.
So to those who scoff at religion, especially “The Ten Commandments” and, scoff at the people who try to obey God’s Law, shame on you; I hope your distorted view of freedom in some way teaches you a personal lesson someday and you come to realize you do need God in your life. I hope you learn that lesson before it is too late. We all need God.
The Christian culture and tradition is the best for all people.
First, we Christians become Christians, not because we are better than anyone else, less likely to violate a law, never have bent a rule or have always treated everyone we have encountered with perfection. We have not always been guided perfectly by honoring “The Golden Rule,” have done unto to others what we would have them do to us. We know we are not perfect. We know because there is nothing we can do to gain favor with God. Therefore we accept that Jesus paid for our imperfection (our sins) with his life and from the moment we believe in Him, He covers our faulty image and we begin to change because we are grateful for His work and the ability to begin to acquire a new nature. We are being transformed from the inside out and that increases our sensitivity to sin so we can learn to turn away from doing wrong more and more each day. But if we stumble, then we confess, ask for forgiveness and continue on with our transformation of becoming more “Christ-Like.” We study God’s word and apply what we learn concerning good and bad, what is right from wrong and thus live a better life a little at a time as an ongoing process.
Yes there are fake Christians who exploit others, mislead others or violate others but those who are sincere, bring good into a world deeply steeped in selfishness, greed and revenge. I believe God, not because I can be certain of anything. I accept His truth on faith using my own free will. For that, I avoid life’s worst pit falls that would be of my own doing; I believe I have eternal life; I strive to do unto others what I would have others do unto me. Yes through Jesus I am assured salvation for eternity and out of gratitude I try to act better everyday.
In a fallen world we will never experience perfection but with a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit, we can do better and, at the same time bring a glimpse of heaven to a world that seems oblivious of God’s desire for all people: God wants all people to enter into His Kingdom and experience eternal salvation and become true children of God. Free Will makes it your choice.
Excerpts from the Bible that promotes “The Greater Good.”
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV (Future)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
A Or peace
Philippians 2:4 ESV (better attitude)
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
2 Timothy 3:2 – 4 ESV (The way it has become today))
2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, Jeremiah 29:11 ESV (Future) swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Proverbs 21:13 ESV ESV (Ears that do not want to hear)
13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
Isaiah 5:20 ESV (Calling bad good and good bad)
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Romans 2:8 ESV (payment for evil)
8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
John 3:16 (Salvation through Jesus)
16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Since the beginning human life has centered on the family unit. For example the Bible begins with Adam, Eve, Cane, Able and Seth in Genesis.Sadly the human race had only just begun when Cane murders Able out of envy because God accepted Abel’s offering and not his. I am not going to write about the myriad of human failures that permeate history however; I am going to discus one of the great success stories instead: Marriage.
First Hand Experience
My experience begins in the mid 1950’s when despite human shortcomings the family unit functioned pretty well. My immediate family was not one of them though because my father ran off and eventually divorced my mother. Their story is a story movies are made from as he eventually returned and remarried her and then lived out his days with her, but, that is a story for another day.
Yes my immediate family was unique, for in those days most people stuck to their marriage even when from a human perspective it seemed not to be working. My brothers and I suffered some negative societal effects because of this since for the most part everyday people did not divorce. Being from a family with divorced parents at that time (called a broken home) gave people reason to shun and even ostracize you; not just the men and women involved but also their children. Yet back then, the vast majority of children I knew enjoyed a complete family with well-defined roles for fathers and mothers and many seemed to have a happy home.
Yes the society in the 1950’s that I became aware of was working very well, the Great Depression and World War II were in the past and the hostilities of the Korean Conflict were in remission. Dad’s had good jobs and Mom’s stayed home and cared for house, home-life and the children. We as children were taught how to act in public within our homes so even before we became students we had manners and understood right from wrong. What was some of this social knowledge that we had as we left our home? We should respect others, we should be polite we should not steal or fight and we knew very well that when we strayed from this norm, some form of punishment was due us when we got home – when our parents found out that is. No it was not a perfect society but it was better than what I perceive society to be now in many ways.
Through history marriage and the family unit survived times of war and catastrophes often by forming blended family units out of the survivors. Even when survival fostered these new marriage situations love developed from the commitment to make it work. This tradition reestablished order within damaged family units and therefore they improved the recovering societies they lived in. Again, It was not perfect, but the striving for something better overcame the damage (sadly often human self-inflicted damage) that humans endured. Yes when the basic family unit was reestablished, order and stability followed and the people who had suffered calamity returned to a life as close to normal as possible.
New and Old Influences in the U.S.A.
Old foes of marriage? Relaxed standards for curbing lustful desires, mistrust for a spouse, financial stress, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and often spouses asserting very different philosophies and expectations for the marriage relationship. Yet negatives can be (and often were) overcome by a commitment to honor vows, and allow love to grow.
New foes of marriage? Exaggerated self-importance, conditional commitments, mistrust, too many opportunities of temptation leading to unfaithfulness , misconceptions of love and confusion between love and lust. In some cases even a good thing like an increased average life span can allow negative influences the time required to break down our best efforts to remain faithful.
Yet the greatest danger to healthy enduring marriages may be trends in popular culture that glorify the negatives and thus encourage people to live for their own personal pleasure and satisfaction.
The backlash from societal failures to avert old human calamities such as war fostered a very seductive form of persuasion on society: individual fulfillment is paramount, truth is relative and morality is not absolute but functions on a sliding scale. Some verbal indicators: “We are not wrong, we just are different.” “You have just changed too much” or “I have changed my mind about you.” “No one wins until we all win.” “You are inhibiting my freedom to be me.” “Circumstances warrant the bending of rules or ignoring a law in my opinion.” These comments not only shed light on threats to our traditional view of the foundational family unit in my opinion but, have had, and continues to have, a negative effect on marriage.
It Once was Bad now it is Good
Jokes about a spouse and marriage in general are very much a part of popular humor today: in cartoons, in cinema, on television and especially exploited by comedians. Tabloids spew the sordid details of celebrity weddings, their break ups and even their sexual escapades. Having a child out-of-wedlock seems to be perfectly fine today, even when a single parent must raise the child. Cohabitation, then having children, and, then getting married is fast becoming the norm in my part of the world. Progressive thinkers applaud these changes, yet in my assessment the weakening of the aspects that have made our Western Culture so strong, especially within the United States, are having a negative affect and usurping one of our great strengths: The American Family.
The lackof stable quintessential family units robs us of a bright future. Stable family units that provide us with a new well-balanced generation, that has a clear sense of right and wrong, that demonstrates respect for others, has a keen sense of purposeand behaves with civilitywould continue what has been so good about our way of life. Isolated examples of a child doing good that has emerged from foster care or he or she came from a dysfunctional family fuel supporters of these new ways; they point out that this indicates fragmented and altered family units do no harm. I believe a closer look at what goes on in our schools tells a different story.
My Perspective Changed
In August 1984 I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. From this vantage point of my age it was about the mid-point of my life. The way I lived before that moment was characterized by a hedonistic drive: I dabbled with drugs in my teens, ultimately became an alcoholic who kept the most negative effects less apparent to those around me, I was liberal concerning sex, I even had two marriages fail and was at a loss to explain my lack of success. A lack of success even though I was told I had talent and a good mind and would be very successful. After 1984 much had improved though life was not perfect: consequences for my per-Christian life lingered (even challenged me at times) , but, since 1985 when my wife and I married (she also is a Christian) we have weathered many a storm together and God has blessed us in just the right measure to fend of the worst life has hurled at us. We were, and still are blessed in so many ways. It is clear to me which way of life is best for my wife and I and our family. I am quiet sure when people turn to The Lord their lives will change for the better and this improves our society as well.
Yes I am a Bible Believing Christian fully convinced that humans can never live up to the standard God has provided, but an earnest desire to strive for His standard yields the best for all humanity not just for us here in These United States of America.
What the Bible Indicates
Hebrews 13: 4 – 5 (ESV)
4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Proverbs 11:29 (NIV)
Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
Mark 10: 6 – 9
6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Exodus 20:12 (NLT)
“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”