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Activated July 2012

Relations with Others - July 2012

Understanding and having patience with people who are different from us begins with understanding how God sees them. Here are a few thoughts on that.
 

01-07-2012
Never Written Off
Never Written Off

At 6’ 5” (nearly 2 m) and over 500 lbs (225 kg), Sam was an imposing figure. Add his constant, menacing glare and he was downright scary. The first few times we saw him, my wife Caryn and I gave Sam a wide berth. Then one evening Caryn struck up a conversation. After some small talk, Sam told her his story. When he was a child, he and his younger brother were playing in the street in front of their house when his brother was hit by a car and killed. Sam was blamed. “All I ever heard after that...

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01-07-2012
The Oasis
The Oasis

Several years ago, I spent two weeks in Sahrawi refugee camps near the oasis city of Tindouf, in southwest Algeria. Ten of us, from teenagers to fifty-somethings, had made the trip from our base in Granada, Spain, to speak and perform in the camps’ schools and community centers.

The Sahrawi people are the remnant of the nomadic tribes that roamed the deserts and coasts of the former Western Sahara. During the 100 years that they lived under Spanish rule, they became accustomed to living in more stationary situations and built large communities like Smara.

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01-07-2012
The Color of Love
The Color of Love

In recent years we’ve all seen or read about the horrors that can result when animosity escalates between people of divergent racial, ideological, or religious backgrounds. Ethnic confrontations in the Horn of Africa, political violence in North Africa, continued bloodletting in the Mideast, and strained race relations in scores of other countries all raise questions about the present state of the human condition. Most of these conflicts are civil or intrastate wars, and most victims are civilians. Can’t someone put a stop to it all? Don’t you wish that someone could decree that all people of every country, color, and...

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01-07-2012
The View
The View

I stared past the rusty window frame, out of the bus. The day was off to a gloomy start and so was I. Lost in thought, recalling things that would have been better left forgotten, I sank into a dark mood. Sad, isn’t it, how when we’re feeling down we tend to busy our mind with thoughts that only waste our time and further sap our spirits?

The bus rolled to a halt. Again. Manila traffic. I glanced at my watch. 6 a.m. Too early for traffic to be moving this slowly. I had a deadline to meet and hadn’t gotten...

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01-07-2012
Different Shoes
Different Shoes

Often our world is all we know. Our world has been shaped by our experience—where we have been, who we have known, what we have done—as well as by our habits, standards, and aspirations. When we see a man sleeping in a doorway or a woman asking for help in a slurred voice, we compare their condition with our world. We may assume there is something fundamentally wrong with someone in such a state.

In truth, poverty puts people into a different world. The homeless person sleeping in the doorway may not have been able to rest the night before because...

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01-07-2012
Who Can Judge?
Who Can Judge?

Some Christians give Christianity a bad name because of their strongly judgmental attitudes,which come across as self-righteousness. Such people may think they are upholding the faith or standing for good causes, but their pronouncements are often harsh and overlook the fact that God loves all people, including those who have rejected or not understood Him. When we interact with people whom we feel are in the wrong, God still expects us to respect them as people whom He created and loves.

God doesn’t condone evil or wrongdoing and neither should we, but we also need to bear in mind that Jesus...

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01-07-2012
Tolerance
Tolerance

One definition of tolerance is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.” It’s fairly easy to be tolerant of others when your differences are minor; it becomes more challenging when the differences are major and there is little common ground.

 

God wants us to live at peace with all.

The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.—Leviticus 19:34 NIV

In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.—Matthew 7:12 NIV

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01-07-2012
Finding the Best in Others
Finding the Best in Others

If you try to make your circle closed and exclusively yours, it never grows very much. Only a circle that has lots of room for anybody who needs it has enough spare space to hold any real magic.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder (b. 1927), American children’s writer

 

If you approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), wife of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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01-07-2012
Be Like Jesus
Be Like Jesus

Being a Christian means doing what we can to be like Jesus. We will never be perfect and without sin as Jesus was, of course, because we have our human nature to contend with. But as Jesus’ followers we are supposed to try to resemble Him in the way we live our lives and interact with others.

To “be like Jesus” means trying to live according to Jesus’ teachings and example. It means applying our faith to the everyday events of our lives. It means doing our best to align our thoughts, our attitudes, and our reactions with His. It means...

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01-07-2012
God Sees the Individual
God Sees the Individual

Question: When there is a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane that claims many lives, some people say that God is judging those people for their sins. Does God really operate that way?

 

Answer: Only God knows why certain events happen to people in one country or area and not to those in another, or to certain individuals and not to others. Paul said that the judgments of God are “unsearchable, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”1

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01-07-2012
Judge Right
Judge Right

Life is a series of judgment calls, big and small. “Is my colleague telling me the truth?” “Can I believe this advertiser’s claims?” Nearly every day you have to pass judgment on some situation, and your opinions and decisions often have consequences for the other people involved. The stakes may not be as high or the judgment as final, but like a magistrate in the judicial system, your judgment matters.

I once told My critics, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”1 What is righteous judgment? It is judging fairly and honestly, applying the right rule to...

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