Thursday, November 19, 2009

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. " - Ghandi

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Strength in the midst of tragedy

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." And, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them."

"Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows." If you truly turn to God, He will care for you as no one else does, and in a way that no one else can.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How to Destroy Your Enemy

Excellent article follows below: (Source:

On a simply beautiful day I was walking along the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, looking forward to eating some pastries at the Greek bakeries located opposite the dock. The sun was glimmering off the water and the air was becoming cooler even as the sun was nearing the apex of its journey across the sky. In the gift shops are sponges, some wet from their recent occupation filtering water, and numerous gifts which appeal to tourists because they have "Florida" prominently painted on them — and cheap, too, because a decal on the bottom says "China". The blue sky was interrupted occasionally by the trailing edge of a cold front which had brought a severe storm on Saturday night and a few days of cold weather. Ideal conditions such as these are very productive for the thinker because they distract the mind away from the common concerns of life. The question which presented itself to me at this time was, "How to destroy your enemy?" It is an important question indeed, and worthy of a wise and reliable answer.

Enemies take many different forms: People who behave rudely toward yourself, compete with you in your endeavors, oppose your words or actions, gossip against you or slander you, and those who hate or disrespect you. The two individuals who find themselves enemies will either not communicate or they will attempt to provoke each other's anger by words or deeds. These behaviors will motivate each of the enemies to complain about the other to their friends and others who will listen sympathetically. As the relationship develops, bitterness will create a grudge that perpetuates the attitude. Grudges become dormant once both parties no longer interact, but should they ever meet again the dormant hate and anger will emerge from its slumber. Worthy of mention also is those cases in which the hate becomes so powerful that it motivates either party to seek physical harm to the other. Violence accompanies hate just as maggots infest exposed meat. Slanders, altercations and murders signify the surrender of self control to the demands of anger and hate.

Enemies present a challenge to even the most spiritual people, and the common man usually cannot overcome anger. When a person is not bold enough to commit acts of violence, some satisfaction is found in contemplating or wishing violence upon an enemy. Lacking the tools of self control and subject to an earthly perspective, the common man seeks more passive means of destroying the enemy. When the enemy needs assistance, no help is given. When the gossip against the enemy is heard, the gossip is perpetuated without concern about the truth or accuracy of the gossip. Satisfaction or happiness follows the news that the enemy has suffered some setback or illness. The enemy becomes subject to constant criticism and complaint, and even when the enemy commits a good deed his motive is questioned and the benefits of the deed are minimized. All of these behaviors falls short of violence, but they display a short-sighted hate which is as self-destructive as it is destructive to the enemy.

"There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Everyone feels justified in acting evil toward an enemy, otherwise the above mentioned behaviors would not occur so often throughout society. The norms of culture declare that people ought to treat others as others treat them, contradicting the Biblical command, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12). Your own behavior, dictated as it is by society and just in your own mind, leads you to commit the acts which offend you so much when they are directed at you. But you are not bound to live as you presently do, you may change your perspective, your thoughts, your words and your actions. No one will compel you to live wisely, you must make that choice for yourself. Every occasion in which a person becomes an enemy to you will provide an opportunity for you to refuse to become an enemy.

Proper behavior towards an enemy is, remarkably enough, identical to proper behavior towards a friend. "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:43- 44). Jesus, the author of the command, displayed His own willingness to live by it when evil people of that day decided to kill Him for teaching the truth and revealing their hypocrisy. When violence cannot solve the problem of human sin, a more powerful force must take precedence. Love defeats violence even when the violent destroy the good, and love defeats hate all the time.

Evil repaid for evil will only make both parties evil. At some point, the chain of self- perpetuating hate must be broken by individuals of character who will not allow themselves to succumb to their own emotions. "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also" (Matthew 5:38-39). When no attempt is made to respond in like fashion to an evil act, the good will find themselves stronger in character and more willing to sacrifice the moment for a more exalted goal. What you gain from wisdom is more valuable than anything you may lose in the pursuit of wisdom. Life itself, which is transient and fragile, will eventually surrender itself to death no matter what course you choose. Rather than wasting time in foolish and futile acts of hate, invest each moment with the sense of importance associated with kindness, forgiveness and comfort. God created all these people, even the misguided, and we are obligated to love each and every one of them.

What use is a good act toward an enemy? Jewish wisdom declares, "Do good to one that is lowly, and give not to an ungodly man: keep back his bread, give it not to him, lest he overmaster you thereby: for thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done unto him" (Ecclesiasticus XII). Good acts are wasted on the evil, and that is reason enough to withhold them. Or is it? A wiser teacher declares, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:29-21). The enemy does not dictate our behavior, we are responsible for that. Those who choose to live a good life must use every opportunity for good to an advantage regardless of the character of those helped. A casual act of kindness means much more than numerous small evils. A generous spirit is worthy of praise, especially when generosity is not contained by selfish consideration of what the other person may do for us.

How shall we act when an enemy suffers some setback, harm or illness? Suffering that others experience is a precursor to suffering which we must experience. Taking satisfaction in the pain of others reveals a deficiency of compassion. "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and he turn away His wrath from Him" (Proverbs 24:17-18). Every situation presents an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from the enemy, and a compassionate response to the enemy will powerfully convey the selfless love which Christians must have to all other people. Extend a hand to the fallen so that they may in the future extend their own hand to you.

Acts of kindness toward an enemy will provide the greatest possible tool to destroy an enemy. An enemy is never destroyed until the enemy no longer exist. Destruction of the enemy occurs when the enemy becomes a friend. Some people will never respond to kindness or cease behaving as an enemy. These people are worthy of love and compassion and also much sympathy. Have sympathy for the people blind to wisdom and foreign to the virtues, those unfortunate ones who choose to make hate the defining characteristic of their own futile life. No amount of kindness will change them, but it will certainly change you. Let the evil of others provoke you to good, let the hate of others provoke you to love, let the rudeness of others provoke you to kindness, and let the lies of others provoke you to the truth. Abandon your former conduct and life your eyes above the dirt to the glorious shining light which overcomes all things. - David Mathews

Isn't wisdom a wonderful thing? Thank God for wise people. And may the ignorant someday see the light...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

True Strength

I have been pretty impressed with Patrick Swayze's outlook on his illness. I guess the strength he displayed in many of his films truly mirrored the real man. I really hope for the best for him.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Love Will Keep Us Alive

"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
- Andy Dufresne