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Focusing on differences brings conflict; focusing on commonality brings peace. Jesus Christ came living a message of acceptance of differences and living according to God’s standards not mankind’s. Jehovah God sees things completely different than we do. In Him there are no Lutherans or Baptists or any other denomination. These were often born from conflict. There is no traditional or contemporary music. There are no races or genders. Focusing on differences and being judgmental feeds darkness not light. The closer we draw to the light the less effect the darkness has on us. Jesus is the light that unifies.


Pardon me but your log is showing. Have you ever noticed that the person who is the most critical of everything and everyone is often angry? There is an old saying that goes “unhappy people make people unhappy” and there is truth in that old adage. The psalmist writes “search me and know me.” Those are wise words for they invite divine and personal introspection. When we see ourselves as God sees us it is hard to be arrogant and critical because we realize the depth of our own depravity. The arrogant have no filters. They scream out all the faults of others with complete disregard for their own faults. The humble speak truth in love realizing that only Christ can change the hearts of those who attack us. Arrogance attacks; humility builds up through love.


One of the hardest things for any of us to do is to be people of honor in an argument. This is especially true when we know the truth or are being personally attacked or wrongfully accused. It is during these times that honor is difficult if not impossible to hold on to. For the believer in Jesus Christ it is imperative that we remain people of honor; that we are salt and light not purveyors of darkness adding fuel to the fire. To the unbelieving pagan Jesus simply spoke the truth and by his actions showed love and acceptance. To the arrogant religious people, who were bent on attack, he lashed out at their shallow actions but in the end said “Father forgive them”. It’s no wonder that James writes, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James‬ ‭3:2‬) Knowing when to hold our tongue is a sign of spiritual maturity and honor. It is a process accomplished over time and with reliance on the Holy Spirit.


It’s easier to blame others than to accept responsibility for our actions; to dwell on the mistakes made in the past than to build towards the future. Some look on the social, political and physical problems of today and blame God or others. Yet the evil of today isn’t because of divine action but due to the natural consequences of greed, lust, hatred and anger. Fire can’t be fought with fire. More darkness won’t defeat darkness. The smallest amount of light will penetrate the deepest darkness


A cheerful heart is a choice. Difficulties will come. Tragedy will occur. But the resilient spirit will see joy in the midst of calamity. A crushed spirit dwells on problems not possibilities. A crushed spirit relies on their own strength or the strength of others to flourish. When human effort fails, and it will, strength is sapped away. When we place our hope in God we can look adversity in the eye with a cheerful heart. This is impossible without Jesus Christ as Lord. 

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