Does A Flag Define us? Does The Ten Commandments Define US?

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It amazes me how one tragedy like 9/11 can bring us together as a nation, yet a shooting or a ruling can tear us apart. When 9/11 happened we wanted to stand arm in arm and be united, but with the developments of the last couple of months we are ready to rip one another apart. Instead of having meaningful dialogue we are ready to shred each other to pieces. Personally, I think it’s time we stop all the fussing and fighting and we come together and sit down and have meaningful dialogue with one another. We all could learn something from each other if we could just set our emotions aside and listen…really listen to what the other side is saying. Historical symbols don’t define us nor do they tear us apart, the Ten Commandments don’t define us either nor do they tear us apart, what tears us apart is allowing our emotions to get the best of us and saying or doing things that sometimes we later regret. I have learned a long time ago when my emotions are getting out of control and I can no longer effectively listen to what is being said, it’s best to walk away and calm down. Once I do that I am more likely to come back and listen, discuss things in a calmer way and help find a reasonable solution or find a compromise. We live in a country that allows us to be who we want to be; we all have some basic rights and those things that divide us aren’t all that different from each other. Maybe it’s time we stop and listen, step in other’s shoes and come together in love, in peace and in unity. That is what God teaches us….maybe we should follow His example a little bit more.
People are crying out for acceptance. They want to be accepted for who they are. I certainly don’t have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is those who want to be accepted are some of the same ones that are not willing to accept others ideas or opinions. Accept me, but I don’t want to accept your ideas or your way of living. It has to be my way. If we want to be accepted and respected, then we must respect the rights and opinions of others. Respect is a two way street.
If a problem exists how can we work on the problem if we are not willing to come to the table, discuss the problem and then come up with workable solutions? Maybe the way you live your life does not meet my approval, but do I have the right to deny your lifestyle as long as I am not affected by your choices? Do you have the right to choose what I believe in and how I live my life? It’s all about coming together and doing exactly what God has called us to do, Love your neighbor as yourself.  Luke 10:27 says, “He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” Nowhere does it say love your neighbor because he agrees with you, or because he is like you or he goes to your church. It simply says love your neighbor. 
A certain young man came into a building; he listened and was attentive to what people were saying, he grew fond of them, but then he decided to be judge and executioner. Why did He do this? Because he didn’t agree with their lifestyle or what they believed in. In his mind it was better to wipe them out then to live with them. During his punishment phase I would really like for someone to pick his brain. How did his thinking come about? Where did he pick up his ideas? Were there signs? Did anyone pick up on those signs? Who planted the seeds of hate? Were seeds of love planted? I am sure they were, but something happened. I am not one to blame parents for their kids’ actions. We all have own up to our own actions, blaming others never seems to work.
 Understanding the problem and working on a solution seems to be much wiser. Genesis 4:9 says, “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Just maybe if we put our differences aside and started caring for our neighbor and love them as much as we love our families or ourselves there would be less hatred and indifference in the world. 
As long as Satan is in this world, as long as people demand to live their lives their way with no regard to others and as long as one human being mistrusts another we will never have a perfect world, but then if we did, wouldn’t it be Heaven?
If nothing good has come out of all these last few weeks, shootings, rulings and death one thing is for certain if we follow God, love Him and love others and obey His commandments we do have hope in a better future; a life that is free from sin, darkness, tears and sadness. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21
I am not naïve. I know as long as I live in this world evil will continue, disagreements will abound and the taking of lives will not stop no matter how many gun laws we have. We can take away flags, we can set new laws into motion, and we can ban those things we disagree with, but none of that will bring peace on earth; the kind of peace that was meant to be. Only God can give us the peace we are searching for and only He can give us hope in a better tomorrow; someplace beyond this world a new home is waiting for us and God is willing to give it to each of us. We just need to reach out and take his hand. Take my hand Precious Lord; lead me on to run this race with love and endurance. 
Dear Lord, This world is not the world I want it to be. My neighbors may be different than me and I may not like their lifestyle or what they believe in, but you have called me to love them with a love that is deeper than anything I can give them. It is only through you I can learn to love my neighbor and those who are different. Open the eyes of my heart so I may see them as you see them and love them as you love them. Help me to watch out for those who are troubled and need direction. Teach me to sow seeds of love and not hate even in the midst of battles. Thank you for the peace that we can only receive from you; the peace that is beyond one’s understanding, thank you for your love for me even when I don’t deserve it and thank you for the hope of a brighter tomorrow. Amen. 
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