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Posts Tagged ‘Jean Vanier’

Bullies 8.16Sinner.

Bully.

Amazing human.

These words jumped out at me as I captured this graphic from an atheist Internet community.

“You are an amazing human” YES! Everyone who is, was and will be is absolutely amazing. Absolutely unique. And as a Christian, I can confidently add this: absolutely cherished by the creator and master of time, space and the universe.

To make the point as strong as possible, what I just wrote applies to me, to you, to Donald Trump, to Jean Vanier (the extraordinary founder of the international L’Arche homes for several disabled people), to the most sickening ISIS terrorist and the most committed community volunteer.

There are NO exceptions. How can I know this? As a Christian, I refer to a section of the Bible simply called ‘Romans’: “there is no difference between Jews and [non-Jews]; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call to him”.

“You are not a sinner”. OK, then besides being an amazing human being, what are you? Or to really make you think, what is an ISIS terrorist? I imagine you (like me) have no trouble calling an ISIS member a sinner. What about Jean Vanier…has he ever done anything wrong (or failed to do something right)? I’ve heard Jean on detailed TV interviews; he would have no trouble calling himself a sinner.

So if someone as “saintly” as Jean Vanier knows he’s a sinner, what does that make me? Or you? Or ANYONE of ANY age? I’m referring to the little girl in the graphic; can anyone honestly show me a six or seven year-old who hasn’t uncaringly whacked their sibling or ripped a toy out of their hands? Really?

“Bully” is an inflammatory word in North American culture, with school boards, teachers and parents on the lookout to stop this nauseating, soul-destroying behaviour. But does the word apply to people who are telling you and I the TRUTH about our condition?

Sure, they might be telling you in a judgmental, patronizing way (in other words, a sinful way), but that doesn’t change the truth of our condition. Acknowledging and acting on this condition is important because God knows us better than we know ourselves and so that’s inevitably how He sees us.

In fact,  that ‘Romans’ section of the Bible puts it like this: “All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness.”

So if you’re still with me, are you willing to admit you are (1) an amazing human being and (2) a sinner who doesn’t need anyone (least of all an obnoxious bully) to convince you of these two things?

If you’ve said yes, then consider that your creator doesn’t want you to live and die in your sinful condition. He wants to come into your life and make you more like the person He knows you can be. And he wants to do that through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When you accept Jesus into your life — and understand that He died to make up for all the wrong things you’ve done and all the right things you’ve failed to do — then you welcome God into your life. And when this life ends, you’ll spend all of eternity in the glorious presence of Jesus.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Hitler freewillMaybe you’ve seen this quote in social media. And, like the atheist who created this graphic, maybe you also think it’s silly.

But before you instantly agree and move on, give this graphic some thought. In fact, give it more thought than the person who created it.

So what if God thought the world needed an Adolf Hitler or an Osama Bin Laden or a Josef Stalin or a Pol Pot?

Didn’t He also think the world needed a Mother Teresa, a Pope Francis, a Jean Vanier (creator of the L’Arche homes for severely disabled people) and a Nelson Mandela?

The point is not whether God created good and bad people. The point is He created people with absolute freewill. In other words, people like YOU and me.

Did God know how Hitler and Mandela would turn out? Quite possibly; serious Christians believe God exists outside of space and time (even as He created them) so we can speculate that he was aware of the choices Pol Pot and Jean Vanier would make.

So does that mean He suddenly changes His mind and stops Bin Laden from being born? I’m sure some folks would say yes.

If you’re one of them, this sudden denial of freewill is a slippery slope. If you believe God is perfect — a position held by serious Christians — and stands in rightful judgement of his creations’ choices, then where do the limits on freewill end?

Should God also stop YOU from driving because He knows that one day, you’re going to hurt someone in an accident?

Should God have forced eternal singlehood on singer Kenny Rogers, actress Joan Collins, director James Cameron and TV host Larry King? Each has been married at least five times; think of all the emotional pain and (possibly) financial hardship caused by all those divorces.

What about AK-47 machine gun inventer Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov? Wikipedia says Kalashnikov emphasized the weapon was for defensive purposes only and severely regretted the deaths it caused. But so what? Why not hold Kalashnikov and, by extension, God responsible for the actions of people Kalashnikov never even met?

Singer Amy Winehouse (1983-2011). There’s someone whose death we can certainly stick on God, right? After all, He should have denied her the right to ever touch a drop of alcohol, since it was a major factor in her death.

Casinos. Now there’s a good one. How dare God allow even one to be constructed, since gambling has contributed to freewill-loving people going bankrupt, to marriages and families breaking up, and to careers being destroyed.

Now let’s consider another element of freewill: The freedom to accept or reject the idea of a loving, perfect creator who has every right to judge you and me on all the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do.

If you accept the idea, then how about the notion that this perfect creator wants His creations to spend eternity with Him — wants it so much that He sent His equally perfect Son to live among us and be put to death to pay for the sins of everyone who believes in His Son?

One of those believing people could be YOU, if you accept the gift of Jesus Christ. What do you think? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Good Christians 5.14Have you encountered Christians like those described in this graphic? I’m pretty sure the answer is YES. In fact, I’m sad to write that there may be one or two of you out there who would name ME as one of those people.

All too often, those of us who claim we are Christians act the same as everyone else on this planet. We are obnoxious, two-faced, self-righteous sinners who are usually ready to point out the errors of others while ignoring our own shortcomings.

Sometimes, we even go so far as to claim we are being persecuted while we are busy persecuting others.

There are times when non-Christians wish we would do what our leader — Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians, and many others, believe is the son of God — did when he was physically on earth: help those for whom our culture has little time or regard.

Jesus did that repeatedly, treating people from other tribes and cultures with respect, defending a woman caught in adultery from heartless “religious” leaders, having dinner with people who were scorned by arrogant authorities and more.

I’m glad to tell you there are many examples of Christ followers who behave in ways that make it clear, without any need to declare it, that they ARE good Christians. Here are a few:

  • I know of many Christian doctors and nurses who volunteer to serve in hospitals in the developing world.
  • We often read in the news about church leaders protecting people (often non-Christians) from heartless deportation or from death during violent times.
  • Most major North American cities have Christian ministries whose entire reason for existing is to feed and shelter homeless people.
  • Canadian Catholic humanitarian and theologian Jean Vanier started (and still oversees, at age 85) a worldwide network of non-profit communities called “L’Arche”. Those communities provide homes and support services for mentally challenged people.

There are many more examples, but you get the point. In each case, these Christians are being the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that we all know isn’t doing very well.

Could Christians be doing more? Of course we could. That’s why we gather at churches every Sunday, to understand how we can overcome our shortcomings and be “good” Christians. Without having to tell people that’s what we are.

What about you and your failures — the bad things you’ve done and the good things you’ve failed to do? Do you want to find out how you can overcome them through an awesome power that’s truly beyond your understanding? Then check out Jesus Christ. He’s God’s gift to everyone who’s willing to accept that gift.

What are your thoughts? Post them below and let’s have a conversation.

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