“an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.”
If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before [it hated] you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19 NKJV
Come take a metaphorical walk with me.
In these uncertain times this term has been used to describe people who disagree with someone’s political or religious points of view. People like to throw out all kinds of different names without discussing why they disagree. Yes, there are people that are like that. But depending on where you stand, it seems there are people like that on all side.
With that being said, there is a radio personality that once made the comment that if you stand in the middle of the road you will be hit from both sides. What does that mean? If you don’t take a side, both sides will attack you.
What do I believe? Jesus is God in the Flesh. I believe that He gave His life as a replacement for mine. I believe He is the only sacrifice that God accepts. I believe that if I “Call upon the name of the Lord, I will be saved.” I believe “That God so loved that world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
It’s that simple.
But I also believe that capitalism without God is no better than communism without God. I believe that both systems without the guiding hand of God are destined for abuse. Evil performed in the name of religion is no better than evil performed in the name of the state. Evil performed for the bottom line is no better than evil performed for “the good of the people.”
We don’t live in a perfect world. This is a reality that I know. I don’t believe that companies owe me a job. I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to take care of me from the cradle to the grave. I believe the unions served a purpose at one time, but not anymore, but neither am I on the side of big corporations taking advantage of their employees.
I find myself more and more not wanting to associate with any particular political party. Both parties want to claim some ‘right’ to God.
Follow me down this trail.
The Sadducees were a sect of Jews who believed in only the written law didn’t believe in the afterlife or the resurrection of the body. They were Jews who were involved in politics and power. They were more political in nature. They viewed Jesus as a threat to their power.
The Pharisees were a group of Jewish religious leaders that believed in the written and oral traditions of the Jewish religion. They were meticulous to keep the law in the market places. They liked being considered great ‘religious’ leaders. They, too, viewed Jesus as a threat to their power.
Both sides sought Jesus’ death. Both sides planned how to do away with Him. As one religious leader said, “Better that one should die than all the people suffer.” There was no real concern for the people. It was more about their power on the left and the right.
This is the issue with religion, any religion. It puts the adherent in the control seat. Religions basically state, “If you do A, B and C you will be loved by God and will be a good person.” Or as other religions like to say, “You are your own god. You make your own destiny. You have your own power.” These views appeal to the ego.
Let’s jump back a few more years before the time of Jesus. Satan in the garden told Eve (with Adam standing there) if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will be like god. The devil likes to play to people’s egos. “I am good because I’ve done this or that good thing. My conscience is clear.” Problem with that is as Paul said, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Paul’s chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13, ends with the following statement “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these [is] love.” Why these 3?
First is faith. Faith is what saves us, not works. What we do won’t save us. If we think it does we are putting faith in our own self and proclaiming to God, “You didn’t have to send your Son because I can do it without you.” When we put our faith in what Christ did on the cross, no longer do we have to worry about living up to what the religious people think.
Second is hope. When we have truly put our faith in the Eternal Jesus, our hope no longer is in the temporal. No matter the valley we travel, no matter the mountain top we climb, we have hope, for we know this is not our home. We are here but for a moment. We are but a vapor here today maybe gone tomorrow. But we have been promised eternity. This life is a way station. Which leads us to number 3.
The third thing is love. Love is the Spirit of God dwelling within us, giving us new life. Love is the guiding factor to who and what we do. Love doesn’t need recognition or power. Love just does. Love sees a need and fulfills it. Love doesn’t need to be forced to act. Love doesn’t need the power of the government to take care of those around them. Love doesn’t need to force those who have to give to those that don’t. As the book of James says, “If you love, you do well.” Jesus told the crowd, “love God. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. On these 2 laws hang all the law and the prophets.” Bottom line for Jesus is not money or power. Bottom line for Jesus is Love. This is the greatest.
Problem with that is it’s a foreign concept to the world. It goes against the ego. It takes away the pride. Therefore, they hate it. They would prefer to kill love rather than just have faith and love.
Now, that is really xenophobic.
Be blessed. Be a blessing.