Today is a day to pause and remember, to reflect upon blessings and the costs that were paid for them. As we enter into the Easter weekend, we’ll touch upon this month’s overall theme of “Celebrating Resurrection”.
Then as Fridays have become our free form days, we will randomly wander here and there as I share some observations, actions, behaviors and remarks that have been on my mind throughout the week. All that is coming up on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
On this Friday before Easter we are all reminded about how light can come out of darkness and evil can be defeated by having a forgiving heart. That was shown in the very words that Jesus said in his last moments as a fleshly being. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”.
He had been tortured, beaten, insulted and literally nailed to a cross on public display and still he called for us to be forgiving and remember the greatest commands,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’”.
This is a day to give and ask for forgiveness as well as renewing our commitment to peace and love.
That is of the utmost importance these days, as the headlines reveal tolerance and acceptance of our “neighbors” is at least being portrayed as no longer the norm.
It seems that a day can not go by where we do not see a headline espousing hate and condemnation. Trying to place blame for everything rather than accepting the responsibility to seek true change.
The rhetoric and name calling does nothing to heal and helps us in no way.
Anger and fanatics are taking the lead and thanks to algorithms and other forms of artificial intelligence far too many are becoming indoctrinated in false beliefs, conspiracy theories and nonsensical claims that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We are all born with free will. This gives us the ability to either choose to learn, to seek the truth and answers for ourselves or to be lazy, slothful and accept whatever it is others attempt to inundate us with.
Among the nonsense that we will all be paying for now is a political game being played by the Governor of one state. Upset about borders reopening to immigration, this individual who opposed mask and COVID restrictions wants them reinstated to keep people out.
He has even gone to the extreme of busing immigrants from his state to the nation’s capital to make the President pay for them.
Where does he think the money the federal government spends comes from? Why does he believe he is entitled to force tax dollars from other states to be used to further his political ambitions?
Not to mention the residents of his state are paying the added expenses to finance his publicity stunts.
Plus his negative impacts on the economy of the nation will be further financed by all Americans as his actions to “secure the border” have shut down international commerce through his state .Truckers are being delayed intentionally with massive searches.
Something that is leading to further increases for goods and with groceries already at all time highs, they will be going up again due to this one man’s orders.
Shipments of fresh produce were not only delayed but in some cases were not allowed to complete their runs through his state this week, being left to rot. The growers and truckers associations noting that all they can do is pass the cost on to you and I, as well as limiting the supply.
Already trucks are inspected by federal employees paid for with tax dollars and now additional state funds are being spent to add another level of inspections.
Custom officials this week reported that the wait times at some border crossings are exceeding five hours, “in spite of a 60% reduction in typical commercial traffic”.
The delays began after this Governor announced his state would conduct supplementary inspections of all commercial vehicles entering the US from Mexico “even after they cleared US government customs”.
So while our divisive political ‘lack of course’, is not only not a discourse, or even a conversation it is devolved into a harmful babble that is negatively impacting our daily lives. As well as costing you money.
The alleged rationale behind the additional truck inspections was to, “use any, and all, lawful powers to curtail the flow of drugs, human traffickers, illegal immigrants, weapons and other contraband into Texas”.
There has not been any evidence that the state level “protections” have uncovered a single individual or any contraband in truckloads of strawberries or auto parts that had already been searched by federal agents.
Trying to blame one party for inflation and limitations in the supply chain, the finger pointers are revealing themselves to truly have a direct and increasingly worsening effect on the entire situation.
How long are you willing to finance one man’s vanity and desire to remain a career politician?
The other cost we are seeing increasing at exponential rates is being paid for by children.
Targeting kids and education, kids and medical care and the outright bullying of students by adults claiming to be or seeking to become leaders is something that children, families and we as a society will have to pay for for generations to come.
The latest disgusting example of this is in the Alabama race for Governor.
Unauthorized use of images of minor children being used in a campaign ad, if not outright illegal, should at least open a flood of lawsuits from parents.
While I believe our culture for far too long has been overly litigious, it seems that’s the only way some people can be forced to learn that they need to take responsibility for their actions.
This responsibility needs to again be held at higher standards for those seeking to take on leadership roles.
Tim James, a Republican candidate for governor of Alabama apparently believes that it is alright to target children and force them to become under attack due to his claims.
Television stations have reported after the advertisement was released, the school immediately had to increase security as individuals began driving by the school yelling slurs at students and one woman attempted to approach and film students on the school’s campus before being stopped by staff.
This public school is also being forced to allocate more dollars towards counseling, for the students impacted by the egregious actions.
The school’s principal believes that ads like James’ fuel hatred in the community and could, in some cases, inspire violence.
“Ads like that one and the one against our immigrant populations — all of those ads — they empower and embolden people who still have a lot of hate and bigotry in their hearts to take action sometimes”.
The parents of one of the students whose unauthorized image was used for James’ benefit indicate they have filed a cease and desist order against the campaign.
Unrepentant, a spokesperson for the candidate claims they only received the notice in the form of an email.
That makes zero difference as a quick Google search proves that such letters can be delivered electronically.
With all the needs of our nation at this time why is such an extreme focus being put on children at one school? Certainly Alabama must have other areas of concern? But candidates for the state’s chief leadership position are more focused on transgender swimmers from Pennslyvania and attacking others for their definitions of people rather than talking about why they should eb the one deemed qualified to protect and lead ALL people in the state.
In the ad I will not link to because it endangers children pictured, James espouses this belief as to why he believes he is entitled to determine how you should live your life:
“Enough of this foolishness. I’m Tim James. Male and female he created them. It’s time to fight back.”
Yes Tim James it is time to fight back. To take a stand against bigots, hatred and those who would prey on children. Endangering the lives of others, ignoring the greatest command and encouraging others to be incited are not in agreement with the words of He who created all, in His image.
What is so upsetting to me about so many of these incidents that are increasing saily in our society is the fact they claim to be Christians and believe in the Word in the Bible.
Yet their statements constantly are in direct opposition to that Word. They have no basis in the Truth.
Just looking back at the two scenarios I mention today, it almost seems as if not only do they not comprehend the Word, they may not have even ever read it in an attempt to understand and embrace it.
It does not take very long to see that both individuals I noted are not at all interested in honoring what Jesus told us was the greatest commandment. Further in their vitriol and rush to condemn they are also ignoring many other important Scriptural instructions.
Among these are the following.
“For the Scriptures say: ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
In Romans 12 the Lord says we do not need to take vengeance because it is HIs responsibility. Not yours, certainly not someone desiring to be a zealot.
In Matthew 7, the chapter opens with the quote “Judge not, that ye be not judged”.
When you intentionally decide to attack others who do not share your beliefs or definitions then you need to read the next line of the passage, “ For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again”.
Or as The Passion Translation reads, “For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you”.
Something for all these finger pointers to remember…
Plus we can turn to Luke 6, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned’.
Nowhere in the Scriptures does it tell us we should condemn anyone. It does not instruct us to turn our backs on others or exclude them. Rather they say quite the opposite…
From the Ten Commandments, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”.
You can find that in Exodus 20 which opens with the notation that “And God spoke all these words”.
In Hebrews 3:13 you can also be reminded, not to attack others for perceived differences, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”.
One hardened by sin’s deceitfulness is easily recognized by a closed, calloused unloving heart presented through their words and actions.
Which brings us again full circle to what He Himself, when questioned by the Pharisees, identified and testified to as the greatest commandment,:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love one another. Nothing about dividing, separating, condemning or holding others as superior.
Perhaps also so important to remember on this day is found as it is written in Romans 8, “So, in Christ, our sins have been forgiven and there is no condemnation.
On this Good Friday I pray your hearts are open, allowing you to see the truth in all situations. Discernment isa gift of the Holy Spirit. Accept it. Believe it. Embrace it.
For God so loved us, He sent his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
A promise that His son, Jesus Christ suffered for. He was persecuted and on this anniversary of his fleshly death do not forget He shed His blood for you. No matter what label others may put upon you, He did this for all of us.
All are created in His image, capable of receiving his God’s compassion, forgiveness, mercy and unconditional love.
The easiest path to assuring you can accept these things for yourself is to always give them freely to others.
Thank you all for being here today and I trust those who need these reassurances will find these words and for all to know, we’ll return tomorrow to further examine our shared path we call ‘Becoming Today”.