Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: compassion

A man looks at the Proverbs 31 woman

Perhaps it is foolhardy to attempt a fresh look at this ground that has been turned over many times by better men than I, yet I confess that I am not altogether convinced that they have found the true treasure hidden in this field. Parts of it have been unearthed and displayed for our edification in such a way as to appear unattainable by any mortal woman.

Let me say at the beginning that I believe that Lemuel is Solomon and that this chapter contains the teachings of his mother, Bathsheba. That is the ancient Jewish tradition and the modern attempts to find a better explanation are not convincing.

Verses 10 to 31 form a poem written in acrostic style where each sentence (verse) begins with succeeding letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, thus 22 sentences in this poem. I will give my thoughts on four points in this the description of a virtuous woman.

First, this woman is a person in her own right. She is not the property of her father, her older brother or her husband, though no doubt each are important to her. Neither is she the servant of her children, though they are precious to her. She is not a person living her life in subservience to others, yet her life finds its meaning in her relationship to others. Her freedom, and the use she makes of it, is the most surprising aspect of this poem.

Secondly, though her family is the main focus of her life she is a leader, not a slave. There is nothing said about the meals she prepares but I would perceive her to be like the modern French woman who says “C’est moi qui décide.” “I am the one who decides what my children shall eat. They need nutritious and varied meals served at regular times and I wouldn’t dream of catering  to a desire for sugar laden snacks at all times of the day.”.

She knows that she is the teacher that her children will learn the most from and she does not waste the opportunities to teach them respect and kindness and the other important lessons of life. She enjoys watching her children play and have fun, all the time knowing that she has the authority to let them know when their fun is in danger of going too far.

She sees to it that her family has suitable clothing for all weather and all occasions. She makes the home a place of warmth and security.

Thirdly, she  contributes to the family income. She is described here as one who buys wool and flax, weaves them into cloth and garments to sell, then uses the proceeds to buy a field and plant a vineyard. This is a revolutionary concept. I believe that women in Canada did not have the legal standing to purchase property in their own name until about 100 years ago.

But note that none of her work takes place outside the family setting. Today we have gotten our priorities turned upside down. A woman who does not have a career outside the home is often made to feel that she is useless, a parasite on society. Go ahead and have children, our society says, but give them to the experts to raise. Well, the “experts” are not doing a good job of it. A mother is the true expert at raising her own children. To scorn the value of the things she does in the home to raise useful and productive members of society is entirely wrongheaded.

There are many things that a stay at home mother can do to contribute to the family income. Farm wives have always been an integral part of the farm workforce. The wives of small business owners contribute in many ways to the success of their husband’s business. Others have found ways to bring in income through home based businesses. There are many opportunities, but home and family are always the first priority of a virtuous woman.

Fourthly, she is known for her wisdom. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” A wise husband will readily admit that he learns much from his wife. She often has sound advice in how to deal with difficult situations. She draws inspiration from the Word of God and applies it to life from a perspective that he would not otherwise see.

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea she reacheth forth her hand to the needy.” This also is wisdom, the wisdom of compassion that is at times lacking in men. We live in a day of government programs to help the needy. They do much good, but no program can perceive a broken heart and give the personal touch of compassion that will help it heal.

What I see in these verses is not a list of requirements that a woman has to measure up to in order to be considered virtuous. They are rather a general description of the nature of a virtuous woman and a list of possibilities for her to explore.

The weakness of God

As I reflected on the latest atrocities, in Jakarta and Ouagadougou, perpetrated by those who claim to be followers of Allah, my mind went to a well known quotation: “A fanatic is a man who does what he believes God would do, if God really understood the facts of the situation.” I don’t know the name of the author, but it seems to me that the person who seeks to kill in the name of his god is implicitly acknowledging that his god is powerless.

This is true for religious fanatics of all kinds. The Crusaders were sent out in the name of God to destroy the infidels, which included Muslims and anyone who called himself Christian but didn’t hold to the Crusaders brand of Christianity. The result has been a millennium of hatred of Christianity by Muslims and the disgrace of Christianity in Europe.

Christianity was never meant to be a state religion, imposed by force on unwilling citizens. Genuine Christians have often faced persecution, from the apostolic era to modern times. Often the persecution has come from those in authority who called themselves Christians. Let me make two things clear:

  1. When someone calls himself a Christian and tries to silence, or even kill, someone else who calls himself a Christian, we can safely assume that the first person does not really know God or Christianity.
  2. When someone is opposed, oppressed or persecuted because he calls himself a Christian, and that person does not respond in anger, hatred or violence, that is good evidence that he truly is a Christian.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. ” (The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:25; 27-29).

This is another way of saying that faith, love and compassion have more true power than all the things that the rest of the world takes to be emblems of power. The power of God to change people’s hearts and lives may seem to be weakness, yet it is a power that is still at work after swords and cannons have turned to rust.

Historically, the faith has spread most rapidly in times of persecution. When people see someone mistreated, tortured and killed for no other reason than his faith in God, when that person was seen as someone who loved his neighbour as himself, and when such a person has faced death without fear, that has been a powerful witness to all who look on. “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

Zealous Christians who do no evil to others but rather seek their good and do not try to force their faith on others, are not fanatics.

 

Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor

Jesus told the rich young ruler: “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” (Matthew 19:21). He didn’t really mean that, did He? There must be some hidden meaning . Many preachers and teachers have expounded their ideas of what that hidden meaning might be.

Let me begin by saying that it appears quite plain that Jesus literally meant that the rich young ruler needed to do exactly what He said. That was Jesus’ message to this particular person in that particular time and place. The gospels also record numerous instances where Jesus warned that the temple, Jerusalem and the whole Jewish kingdom would be destroyed. What good would earthly possessions in that region be then?

Those who united with the followers of Jesus after the day of Pentecost got the message: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” (Acts 2:44-45).  “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32).

They believed the Lord’s warnings about the destruction of Jerusalem and they were preparing for the time when they would need to flee. Josephus tells us that there were no Christians left in Jerusalem when the Roman siege began.

That was then, this is now. Does Jesus still want us to sell everything we have and give to the poor? It may be that there are individuals today to whom He is saying this, but I believe His plan for most of us is quite different. Nevertheless, the Bible makes it plain that the accumulation of wealth should not be our primary goal in life. “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). Do we want to be so attached to material possessions that this warning of Jesus applies to us?

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Timothy 6:9-10)  “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (verse 17).

Perhaps the area that is most in need of change is our attitude towards those who are poor. Do we tend to blame them for their poverty? After all, often they appear capable of working, yet very often are idle. and when they do have money, they spend it quickly on the wrong things. Do we understand the hopelessness and futility that these people are feeling? They do not have a network of family and friends to help them find good jobs, help them deal with banks, government agencies or even find the education and health care that they need. When you have all that and take it for granted, it is difficult to understand those who are not even aware such a thing is possible.

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? (James 2:1-6)

The sedate, the frolicsome and the frantic

We have three cats and the words above describe their personalities. Panda is the oldest, we consider her to be the same age as our oldest grandson, which means that six weeks from now she will be 13. She was part of a litter discovered in an abandoned car in a back alley in Saskatoon and taken in by a cat rescue operation. We had to pay for her. We assume from her large size, long hair, the ruff around her neck and her serene personality that she is mostly of Maine Coon cat ancestry. She is all black.

Her personality fits well with the elderly couple who share this house with her — my wife and I. We both spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer and when we feel a need to get up and do something more energetic to get the blood flowing again, Panda doesn’t lift an ear. She will come several times a day to where I am working and sit patiently until I take note of her. As soon as I make eye contact, Panda is on her feet and heading towards the kitchen, her ears laid back to hear if I am following. She stops at the place where we keep the comb and brush and waits for me to pick one of them up and come and groom her.

Pookie is our youngest cat, a feral flame point Siamese who showed up half-starved on to our doorstep when he was about six months old and has never left. He is the bounciest and friendliest of our cats, still likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors, but comes home to sleep. He has a little patience and seems to get it when we are too busy to jump up right away to see what he wants. He is the smallest of our cats and has stayed quite lean because of his exuberant lifestyle. He does not like to be picked up, but if we sit on one of the recliners and put our feet up, he will probably jump up on our lap. He is very agile, his jump seems effortless and he lands like a feather.

Angus is our middle cat, a little older than Pookie, black like Panda, short-haired like Pookie and mostly Siamese in conformation. We called him Angus because he is all black, but he looks more like a panther than a cow. He is much bigger than a real Siamese, but he definitely has the personality. Everything is an emergency with Angus. He will not eat unless one of us is in the room with him. If there is food in his bowl, he won’t touch it until we add a little bit more to let him know it is for him. If he wants to eat or to go out, he becomes almost hysterical, running back and forth and meowing frantically. For that reason, his name often come out sounding like Anguish or Anxious.

I am convinced that our cats are beneficial to our mental health and our physical health. They are certainly distracting, but we need those distractions. They are amusing and affectionate and that too is good for us.

Our oldest grandson tends to be quite impulsive and has been known to be rough with his siblings at times. But he has a cat that he dotes on. Before his cat was full grown, it was bitten by a dog, breaking one of the hind legs. He was worried sick about that cat. His parents took it to the vet and she did the best she could, but said that the break was so close to the growth plate that the leg would probably never grow as long as the other and the cat would have a limp. She did better than she knew, the leg is just fine. This is an outdoor cat, but our grandson often brings him in and holds him on his lap. The care and patience he shows with that cat gives me confidence for his future.

What is wrong with the world?

Yesterday at the Walmart checkout there was a lady with three children ahead of me. The oldest child, a boy of about eight, was sitting in the shopping cart. The mother kept asking him what happened to a small toy that he had picked up, and he denied knowing anything about it. Finally she wrestled him up and pulled it out from under him and placed it with the other items on the checkout belt. The boy wailed his frustration.

A little later, while I was eating supper at Tim Horton’s, a mother and a boy of about ten were standing in the lineup to order. She gave him some money and he immediately barged up in front of others who were waiting to order and ordered a hot chocolate. He repeatedly called his mother to join him, but she refused and waited her turn. I noticed the design and printing on the back of the boy’s jacket: “bad boy,” ” bow to no one,” “warrior.”

There are children in our cities who dare not go home at night for fear of drug and alcohol fuelled violence. Many children are removed from homes where they are not properly cared for and placed in foster homes. At the first hint of trouble they are moved to another foster home. Many who would make good foster parents are afraid to try because of the heavy hand of the social service agencies.

Violence against women is increasing, there are many unsolved disappearances and murders. Violence against police is increasing. Police officers are more heavily armed than ever before and occasionally they overstep their authority, yet instances of assault and even murder of police officers far outnumber instances of assault by police officers.

Where can we look for answers to set aright the things that are going wrong in our society? To the schools? It is the schools that are teaching children that all ideas of right and wrong are only someone’s opinion. That is the source of the problem, not the cure.

What about the news media? They have succumbed to following every turn of the wind  of political correctness.

Politicians? They rule by public opinion polls and the polls reflect what the schools and media teach.

The churches? There was a time when the churches stood for something, now most are like the politicians: they stand for what they think the people want to hear.

Yet if there is any hope for our society, it will have to come from those who have convictions based on reality. The Bible understands us better than we understand ourselves, because it was inspired by our Maker who understands what we really need in order to experience peace and happiness.

But we cannot help the world by continually pointing out what people are doing wrong. People already know that things aren’t working out quite like they hoped, yet they continue to hope that the same “experts” who got them into the current mess can lead them to happiness.

The Bible has better answers for people’s needs. They are not easy answers, but they work. Let us be clear though that we do not have the answers. If we talk and act like Pharisees we will not be any more useful that they were.

What the world needs from Christians is compassion, understanding and a conviction to teach and live the basics of the faith which we claim. Simplistic answers and pep talks will not help. We need to steadfastly refuse to be swept along with the madness of the world and we need to have the courage to explain why. Many will consider our explanations scandalous, but some will listen.

They’ll know we are Christians by our ______

I was walking through the upper shopping level of Midtown Plaza on Wednesday and noticed an elderly Sikh couple standing at the top of an escalator. The man made a few false starts, then grasped the moving handrail and stepped firmly on to the joint between two treads. He almost lost his balance as the front tread dropped away from under his feet, but found his footing and rode safely down. His wife watched, then put her foot forward and quickly pulled it back. She was almost blocking access to the escalator as she repeated this manoeuvre several times. None of those waiting seemed impatient, all tried in some way to be helpful. Finally a man stepped on in front of her and motioned her to follow. He kept an eye on her all the way down to see that she didn’t lose her balance, then went his way. I was touched by the patience and kindness shown by busy people to this old couple who were obviously new to this part of the world.

The news media had been carrying stories for several days about five young teens who had ventured out on a lake in northern Saskatchewan and disappeared. They had been found the previous day on an island, where they had broken into a wilderness resort for shelter and food. On Wednesday it was reported that there appeared to be a lot more damage to the resort lodge than would have been necessary for mere survival.

An hour after witnessing the scene at the Midtown, I was sipping a coffee in a Christian book store. Not far from me, two elderly couples were discussing the news of the lost teens and the damage to the lodge. “They ought to be horsewhipped!” one man said.

As Christians we endeavour to inculcate principles of good behaviour and respect for the property of others. This is as it should be. Does this then give us authority to judge others for every deviation from our standard? The contrast between the two scenes was stark: patient compassion on one hand and impatient condemnation on the other.

The man went on to explain himself. I didn’t hear nearly all of what he said, but it seemed that in his own eyes he was being completely fair and reasonable. But the news reports haven’t even revealed what kind of damage was done, and it’s not an established fact that these young people were responsible for all the damage. It could be that they broke into a liquor cabinet and had a wild party. But we don’t know that.

What would an unbeliever have concluded if he had been able to observe both scenes? That non-Christians are kind, caring and compassionate and Christians are not? That surely is not the impression we want to give.

“To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:29). We should never take this to mean that we must be more self-righteous than the scribes and Pharisees.

To drink, or not to drink, is that the only question?

During my growing up days practically all my relatives were total abstainers. There was an uncle out in B.C. who was probably an alcoholic, according to my Dad’s tales. The only memory I have of this uncle is of a time when I was very young and he was trying to unload a gun at our kitchen table. The gun went off, necessitating the replacement of the glass in one of our windows. I think alcohol was a factor in that.

Despite their divergence in views on the consumption of alcohol, my Dad still had a soft spot for his oldest brother and kept up a written correspondence. He had a similar warm spot for his nephew Clarence, the only son of my Dad’s only sister. The feeling was mutual, Clarence faithfully came to visit us once a year, beginning the two hour drive after the bar closed in Mossbank and knocking at our door at 3:00 AM. He had enough sense to get someone sober to drive his pickup.The driver would ask for a place to sleep while Clarence visited with my parents.

My Dad always received him warmly and they would settle down in the living room for a long visit. Clarence had a powerful voice and it was next to impossible for me to sleep during those visits. I remember one occasion when Clarence walked in with a twelve pack of beer and placed it in front of the easy chair he sat in. When he got up to go to the bathroom, my Dad moved the case of beer to the side of the chair, where it was hidden by the overstuffed arm. When Clarence returned, he looked for the beer, then concluded that he must have just imagined that he had brought some with him.

When I grew up, I decided to try out various alcoholic beverages and found that I liked them all. I liked them far too much and far too often. Despite that, I managed to do a fairly creditable job of managing prairie grain elevators in several locations. During those years I watched other men drink their businesses down the drain.

I got converted when I was 28 and my taste for alcolic beverages diminished to simply having an occasional drink with a meal. Eventually even that began to trouble me. I was no longer controlled by my thirst. If I had one drink, I didn’t need another, and another, and . . .  But I saw people around me, both men and women, with the kind of thirst that I had once had and it began to trouble me. Could my example cause someone else to stumble? The Apostle Paul thought so: ” It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak” (Romans 14:21).

Many in Christian circles today appear to be unaware that this concern for the weak was the basis of the temperance movement. It seems far too easy nowadays to look down on those who have been overcome by their need for alcohol and to congratulate ourselves on our clean lifestyle. Does that sound uncomfortably like the Pharisee who stood in the temple to thank God that he was better than other people?

Today we can look at the political aspect of the temperance movement, account it to have been a failure, and dismiss the whole movement as a worthless exercise in demagoguery. But the temperance movement was much more than its public, political activist, face. They were people who were actually involved with the victims of alcohol abuse: men who could not stay sober long enough to do a day’s work; neglected, beaten and abandoned wives and children. If the problem is not as severe today as it was one hundred years ago, it is largely due to the efforts of the temperance movement.

Would it be so bad if we would learn some of their compassion and seek to exercise it in helping today’s victims?

A home with two people and three cats

We share our home with animals.  I know that there are people who find this horrifying.  I guess we just don’t know any better, having always lived this way.

There is another cat who earnestly desires to join the three under our roof, but I think we have reached our limit.  The others came into our home one by one as kittens and have adjusted to each other.  To bring another adult cat into the mix would surely upset the ecological balance, or something.  It would at least upset the lives of all three cats and both people.  This cat has a home in the village two km away.  Twice we have taken him there only to find him back here a couple days later.  He is welcome at the farm next door which has three barn yard cats, but I suspect he has noticed that our cats have a warmer home and get better food.

The interaction between our cats is fascinating.  Panda, a black long-haired Maine Coon Cat is the grumpy old maiden aunt.  She has been with us for 11 years and has greeted each newcomer with pretty stern language.  Angus is 2 ½, a large all black Siamese, if you can imagine such a creature.  Pookie is 1 ½, a flame point Siamese.  He is the smallest, cutest and the most belligerent of the lot.  All three now cohabit peaceably.  We were quite sure that we didn’t need a third cat when Pookie showed up on our doorstep a year ago.  Now we see that it is all to the  good that Angus and Pookie have each other to tease and plague, it saves Panda a lot of aggravation.

Many years ago the prophet Nathan came to King David with the story of a poor man who had one little lamb that he had raised as a daughter, letting her eat the food he ate and drink from his cup.  Let us pause here and consider, if this was not a story from the Bible and if we didn’t know what followed, how many of us would be disgusted at this story and say the man deserved no sympathy for having this lamb taken from him?

That was not David’s reaction.  It all made perfect sense to him and his indignation  was directed toward the one who had taken the lamb.  Surely it was the softness of David’s heart, as revealed in this account and elsewhere, that caused God to call David a man after His own heart.

I hope that my love of cats, and my tolerance for their foibles, is  teaching me to show the same love and tolerance toward people.  There are too many people today who profess to care deeply about mankind, but can’t seem to stand people.  Let me not be one of them.

To see as God sees

By virtue of my birth into this world, I am of the earth, earthy.  This means that I have a natural affinity for all that is earthy.  I gauge success the way the world gauges success; I gauge failure the way the world gauges failure.  I expect governments to care for the elderly, the mentally ill and those incapacitated by drug and alcohol abuse.  I expect governments to fix the problem of unmotivated, disrespectful young people.  I blame the government for unemployment, crime and the store clerk who can hardly speak English.

This is what comes naturally to me as a citizen of this world.  However, I have been born a second time, a spiritual birth that has made me a citizen of the heavenly kingdom.  Yet my worldview, my concept of how things work in this world and what is important in this world, did not automatically change when I was born again.

Perhaps this was Jonah’s problem.  He was a servant of God, a prophet, yet when God called him to go and preach to Nineveh all he could see was the danger to his own country.  The Assyrian Empire was a great threat to his country and even though God called him to prophesy the destruction of Nineveh, he knew in his heart that God cared about people.  That was fine if it were limited to the people of his own country, but Nineveh?  He wanted no part in being an instrument of God’s mercy to them!  It took a special object lesson to soften the prophet’s heart before he could rejoice in God’s mercy for the 120,000 small children in Nineveh.

Why is it so difficult for a child of God to understand God’s value system?  To realize that the things that seem so important to me in my earthiness are of no importance at all to God?  To understand the great compassion and love of God for those around me who are so different from the kind of people that I think are pleasing to God?

Jesus told the disciples to lift up their eyes to see the fields that were ripe and ready for the harvest.  When they looked, all they could see was a crowd of those despised Samaritans.  Is my vision any better than theirs?

God’s ground crew

About 35 years ago I read a magazine article about a famous (notorious?) Canadian rock musician.  Near the end of the article, this musician was quoted as saying, “I love the Lord; but I don’t have much use for his ground crew.”

That statement has stuck in my mind, perhaps because it seems that so many other people have come to the same conclusion.  Perhaps it is no wonder.  If we would look on the Christian scene with the eyes of the world, and consider all those who call themselves Christian as being part of God’s ground crew, then their activities look much like a Keystone Kops scene: earnest groups of people rushing madly to and fro about the Lord’s business, bumping into each other, tripping over each other, one group undoing the work of another, arguing passionately about what should, or should not, be done, accusing one another of villainy and letting the true villains pass unnoticed and unmolested.

As one views this frenzied, frenetic, comic scene it is easy to miss the fact that in the midst of all the confusion there are some who are quietly and purposefully going about the Lord’s business.  These are the ones who are truly the Lord’s ground crew, following His directions and accomplishing His work.

This is not to say that the others are not accomplishing some good things, but in the public eye these things are so thoroughly overshadowed by the circus of conflicting claims, ideals and programs that the good seems to have happened more by accident than by design.

Jesus foresaw such a situation and warned that not all those who claimed to be part of His ground crew were truly working for Him.  “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Then, in describing the day of judgement, he left this stark warning: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).

Going back to the famous (notorious?) rock musician, I wish I could ask him if it is the Keystone Kops ground crew or the true followers of Jesus Christ that he has no use for.  Now, this is a man who has cultivated a reputation as a lover of sex, booze and rock n’ roll.  I’m not sure if this reputation totally corresponds to his real life, for one thing he is still happily married to his first wife.  Yet he has deliberately cultivated this persona and that could go a long way in explaining why he would not feel comfortable around God’s ground crew.

However, if we are part of God’s ground crew, truly doing His will through the direction and power of His Spirit, then the love of God for all people will be evident in our lives and our relations with others.  The following words of Jesus must be characteristic of God’s ground crew.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”  (Matthew 5:44-46).

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