2017 Cantata Click Here

A Message From Pastor Bob Friese

 

 

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are – or, as we are conditioned to see it.

 

The above quote is credited to author Stephen Covey. Writer Anais Nin had a similar notion: We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.

 

I’m sharing these ideas with you because I’m am concerned about how we see each other in today’s culture. Ponder the above, and wonder with me: When I see others as a threat or inferior to me, what does that say about me?

 

I believe we all (unfortunately) need someone to look down upon, someone whom we believe is less worthy than we are. Leaders of all sorts – religious, political, familial – use this idea to gain support. Such leaders encourage us to hate, fear, and despise someone or some group to make us feel better about ourselves, and them we credit that leader with making us feel good, accepted, respectable.

 

But this approach doesn’t conform to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

 

          • Paul writes in Romans 2:11: For God shows no partiality, no arbitrary favoritism;    

            with God one person is not more important than another.

 

          • Romans 15:7 reads: Therefore, continue to accept and welcome one another,       

            just as Christ has accepted and welcomed us to the glory of our great God.

 

          • And in Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit –

             through divisive motives or strife –

             but with an attitude of humility, being neither arrogant nor self-righteous,

             regard others as more important than yourselves. 

             Do  not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of   others.

 

          • And perhaps most important of all, Jesus said: I am giving you a new commandment,

             that you love one another.

             Just as I have loved you, so you too  are to love one another. 

             By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love and unselfish

              concern for one another. (John 13:34-35)*

 

So if we know how Jesus wants us to see others, why do we see them so negatively? Does that mean we see ourselves, and perhaps other Christians, as unworthy, jealous, defective? And why are we so afraid of others? I believe part of the problem is that we just refuse to believe that Jesus loves us and wants us to have peace of mind and hope for the future. And when we refuse that, we most certainly don’t want others to have peace of mind or hope for the future. This is more prominent in our thinking when we encounter others that are profoundly different from us.

 

Jesus encourages us to reject the world’s approach and choose his way of thinking and seeing. If we claim to follow Jesus, we must learn to accept the faults of others just as God has learned to accept our own faults. Because we all sin, we have no right to judge anyone else but ourselves. If God accepts us – and God DOES! – then we must learn to accept others. To fail to do so is to sin before God. God is no respecter of persons who live for themselves alone. God shows no partiality, no favoritism. As we move forward in life – even as we (gasp!) gather with family and close friends this Thanksgiving season – may we strive to do this: First, see ourselves as forgiven and cherished Children of God and second, see others as Jesus sees them, worthy of his – and our – love and concern.

 

As you’ve heard me say before, The Holy Spirit gives us the heart and mind of Jesus. Let’s add something. The Holy Spirit gives us the heart, mind, and eyes of Jesus! May that encourage us to see, love, and accept ourselves and see, love, and accept others. That’s how you and I – as we strive to follow Jesus – can change the world.

 

Peace,

Pastor Bob

*All Bible verses are from The Amplified Bible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

           

 

 

 

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•  And in Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit –

                   through divisive motives or strife – but with an attitude of humility, being neither arrogant nor self-righteous,

              regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

          • And perhaps most important of all, Jesus said: I am giving you a new           commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too     are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if        you have love and unselfish concern for one another. (John 13:34-35)*

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Sunday Morning at 9 a.m.