Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Respect Series 12: "The Anti-Factor"

Well, well, well...it looks as if we're at the onset of concluding another year. A year to be grateful for the ups and even the downs. A year to love more, live more, and serve God more faithfully. And of course, a year to ring in the culmination of many things. In this case: the ringing in of "The Respect Series" as an array of blog-posts.

But there's still one last factor to address; one last post to write. This is the post I knew I couldn't avoid: "The Anti-Factor." So if one should consider doing away with all the preconceived notions of respect in this world, does that mean one should go after a life of welcoming disrespect as the ultimate means to respect? Should you hate anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion or value your perspective? Should you seek to be at odds with the thug, wealthy, happily married, overwhelmingly talented, seemingly religious, most popular, extremely athletic, elderly, handicapped, etc?

Unfortunately, many hear questions like these and mistakenly answer, "YES!" Being a loner is their cup of tea and anything the world praises they're in opposition to. That's right, they're anti. They're anti-establishment, anti-success, anti-love, anti almost everything. Most are even anti-God. My heart goes out to these individuals deeply. And to my dismay, a lot of them are young, way too young to be spiteful with their life and the life of anyone else.

If you go into the Hot Topic retail store in a mall, you'll see many of them purchasing their anti-fashion full of pictures of death, skulls and bones. Some even label themselves as Gothic, identifying with the Goth Subculture which is based on sexually-explicit, grudge rock music mixed with horror.

Many feel hopeless, with no voice and are too welcoming to suicide, hate and even murder (Columbine & Red Lake High Schools and the Dawson College killings, just to name a few). Many video games, movies and science-fiction novels are influenced by this culture. As I submit this post, the numer one film in the world is a goth-related production: Twilight - a vampire tale of youngsters which in its first installation has grossed over $1 billion at the box office alone.

Okay, so what am I getting at? Many of these "youths" (dressed in their black leather with black boots and black makeup) just want to be loved, valued and appreciated. Underneath all that black stuff are gorgeous individuals, who are usually as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside (when given a chance to truly be heard). They want their voice heard and resent the fact that their voices are crowded out due to all the other voices the world so keenly respects. After all, their voice tends to be one of the ones MOST disrespected. But if society won't reach out to them, JESUS WILL! So let's come together as Christians and represent Jesus well by loving all, even the ones we may not fully understand and have difficulty respecting. At least let's give their hurting hearts a voice, and let them know that God is listening. He SO GREATLY loves them all, enough to die on their behalf.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And may WE ALL continue to grow in the area of respect...!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Respect Series 11: "The Sympathy Factor"

Whoa, poor _____! How will they be able to make it, after such a loss, or this situation? Many times, words like these are often muttered by sympathizers. These are the individuals who wish to respect or support you, based on your series of unfortunate events: the loss of a loved one, during the fight against a deadly disease, or some other major adversity faced.

But instead of respecting these individuals because one feels sorry for them, you can aid them in their need. Here are some examples:

For the elderly individual --- help them pay for their medicine or be that listening ear, providing hope and encouragement, to a lonely soul.

For the physically challenged/handicapped individual --- help them with medial services like getting dressed, play and eating. More importantly, try assisting those who are called to take care of these individuals.

For the individual who has just experienced a loss --- help them with chores around the home, babysitting children or finding new ways of moving on.

This list could go on and on for the: homeless, drug addict, individual with full blown AIDS, excon, someone presently incarcerated, ones in extreme poverty, the starving, the unemployed, the grossly uneducated, the single-parent, etc.

Instead of just respecting these individuals out of sympathy, how about you truly try getting to know them? Better yet, why don't you seek to love them and even learn to appreciate them? Sadly, many Christians could care less about many of these individuals! Just as long as me, my four and no more are okay, I'm fine and everything's just dandy. But many are physically dying all around you, and also spiritually dying as well. They have came to the belief that no one really cares, about them for that matter.

For some apparent reason, "the light bulb of care" doesn't seem to go off until it hits home. When YOU are the one going through the pain and crisis, suddenly it's a major crisis that needs immediate attention. When it's your family member dying or your spouse being wrapped with depression, all of the sudden it's a matter of life and death and everyone around you, in your circle of influence and your city need to get on board. Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 makes it clear that this type of attitude should extend so far beyond your family, friends and relatives. But "a respectful heart of sympathy" should extend to others you encounter in one form or another.

Remember, selfishness and sympathy usually never go together!