See Things Through Their Eyes

Image by Jennifer R. from Pixabay

 

Ezekiel 18:1-32
Psalm 25:1-8
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

Paul had America in mind when he wrote to the church at Philippi. In case you missed it, we have an election looming along with the continuing COVID-19 caused by SARS CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2).

Paul is no help in treating the disease, but he is helpful at reminding us how we are to behave in any pandemic.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mindNIV

For Paul, those four words above are built into being a Christ-follower. To be a Christian is to treat every other human with tender comfort and encouraging compassion. Paul is not saying to treat only other Christians this way. Look at the times he was in prison, at how he treated his guards.

The same words apply to the election. We belong to God’s Kingdom. We are aliens living in the US. Sure, we have citizenship here as well as in the Kingdom, but we must in all ways behave as citizens of the Kingdom.

There is no room in the Kingdom for hate speech. It has become commonplace since the 1980s to demonize the opposition, both by the candidates and by their supporters. 2016 was bad, this year may be worse.

Naturally, since we live here, and we can vote we will want the best person possible to be elected. But that does not give us license to be brutes. Paul did not win over his guards by saying “Caesar is evil, you shouldn’t work for him.”

None of you should think only of his own affairs, but should learn to see things from other people’s point of viewPhillips The Greek reads: Not their own things each looking at, but also other things each. I think the Phillips translation hits it well.

Biden supporters should listen to Trump supporters and understand what they are concerned with, just as Trump people need to understand Biden people.

Just for the record, age is NOT an issue. Trump is already the oldest President to be inaugurated and the two are of the same age range. They both have a few Senior Moments. If you don’t want someone over 70, then campaign for Pence, 61, or Harris, 55.

For me, I want to know what values the candidate seems to hold to. Are they consistent with the teachings of Jesus? Is he/she likely to treat all people equally, compassionately, and with loving kindness?

For God is the one working among you both the willing and the working for what pleases himCJB

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

The Living Reed

Pearl Buck is best known for her books published in the 1930’s, especially The Good Earth in 1931, her second novel. It was good enough to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature the next year, and in  1938 she received the Nobel Prize for literature.

While most of her books were set in China where she grew up the daughter of missionaries and where she was also a missionary until missionaries were ordered out of the country. This book, as you can see, is set in Korea. It was published in 1963, but the story ends in 1945.

It is the story of the high ranking Kim family (Kim is the Smith & Jones of Korea) the head of which was a scholar and advisor to the Queen. His two sons take different paths as do the grandsons, yet each play an important role in the history.

This is not her best work but it is an excellent history of Korea caught between the weakening China, their longtime protector, and the rising power of Japan in the late Nineteenth Century. In 1910, Japan annexed Korea and forced everyone to learn Japanese and become Japanese (as they did in other territories). That brutal rule lasted until the end of the war.

The book in print form is 604 pages long and could have easily been cut to 400 without losing anything, but those pages would be and are worth the read. I really did not have an issue with the writing until about the 75% mark.

Mike Lawrence