Of Common Sense – Volume VIII

The Words and Wisdom of Keith Lionel Brown

In the early morning of our lives, our school is our home, the students in the classroom are our siblings, and our teachers are our parents and grandparents. In the afternoon of our lives, our school is a building outside the home, the students in the classroom become our friends and confidants, and our teachers are those who have themselves studied and prepared to impart knowledge to us that we will use as we continue on our journey through life. In the evening of our lives, we continue learning in the school of life with the world being our classroom, and life itself being our teacher.

Each new day of life is an opportunity for us to learn some new and interesting things. The wise man gleans as much as he can from his life experiences and with his new found knowledge and wisdom is able to chart and navigate his course in life. With all of his learning, he also learns that some obstacles in life can be overcome by using a little common sense.

What you are about to read are some of the gleanings from my personal life experiences and the lessons that those experiences have taught me to help me chart and navigate my course. I believe that many of these thoughts are merely common sense.

Let Us Start Practicing What We Preach

I grow weary of pastors and ministers, men and women of God who spend so much precious time tearing down other religions. They preach long and hard, pound their pulpits, and stomp dust out of the carpets every Sunday morning proclaiming that God is love and that we are all His children. But then, in the same breath, they preach long and hard about why almost every religion besides their own is not Christian.

I grow even more dissatisfied with those who incessantly use the word “cult” as a label for any “religion” that they believe does not meet the standards to be qualified as Christian. I think that if some of them would look up the word “cult” in the dictionary and ponder its true meaning, they just might find that some of the practices of their particular “religion” do not measure up to the standards of Christianity either. But then, many will not take the time to look up the true meaning of the word because it is easier to prove everything that they are doing – whether right or wrong, whether in line with God’s commands and the teachings of the Gospel or not – by placing their practices under the “protective umbrella” of “Christianity” or the claim of being a Christian. The other thing that amazes me is that these people act as if they are the only Christians on the face of the earth and everyone who does not fit into their mold is eternally lost without any hope of salvation.

I believe that if less time were spent adding mortar and brick to the proverbial walls that tend to divide us because of differences, and more time were spent building bridges of hope and understanding, then we would be able to join hands around the world and shower this earth with blessings untold.

I may not believe or agree with all the things that you believe, and you may not believe or agree with all the things that I believe, but that does not give either of us a poetic license to tear each other down because of our beliefs. If we are going to preach that God is love and that He loves all of his children, then I say that it is time that we stop wearing our “religion” on our sleeve, and start practicing what we preach.

It is far better to surround ourselves with a few trustworthy friends that are willing to ride out the storms of life with us and help us steer our ship through sometimes turbulent waves, than to be surrounded by a myriad of friends, many of whom when at the first sign of tumultuous waves crashing over the bow of the ship will want to abandon ship, leaving us all alone to fend the storm and to steer the ship to safety.

Love Conquers All

At the young age of 55 years, if I have learned nothing else on this pilgrim journey, I have learned that hate suffocates love. I have learned that the only way to overturn hate is to smother it with love. Regardless of what people may have said about me in the past, or even their disparaging remarks about me at this very hour, and regardless of what some may have done to hurt me in the past, or what some may have planned at present to try to hurt and discredit me, I refuse to harbor malice in my heart toward any man. I do not have the time to hate. For the hour grows short, and I choose to use the time that I have been proffered to love and not hate. For hate used as a weapon of retaliation against hate only yields a bloody battlefield of more hatred. But love rendered even to those who despise and reject its message conquers all, and at the end of the day, it is love that will always stand victorious. I would much prefer spending my life standing in the cool green pastures of love, than finding myself sinking hopelessly, ever deeper, into the abyss of hatred.

Let us not be so hasty to be so critical and to race to pronounce judgement upon another person because of the wrongs that they have committed. We do not have to condone the behavior, but we are taught that we are to love the person, regardless of his transgression. We hate the sin, but we love the sinner. Let us remember this important council: But for the grace of God, so go I. None of us are perfect. Therefore, where do we think that we have the God-given right to sit as judge and jury upon another? Let us spend some time cross-examining ourselves, and then we may just find that we don’t have as much time to put others on the witness stand.

We Are All God’s Children

The color of a man’s skin has never, does not now, nor will it ever, make the man. No man is better than or superior to another because of the color of his skin. And so, no man should ever have to feel that he has to live his life in bondage and servitude to another.

We are all children of Almighty God uniquely and wonderfully made in His image. We are all special and beautiful in His sight and in our own way. God has meted to each of us, regardless of the color of our skin, a certain measure of faith, talent, and abilities. We cannot continue to discredit a race of people for the accomplishments that they have been able to do, but rather we need to rally behind them as brothers and sisters, and help to strengthen and encourage them to press on to higher aspirations.

No man is a lone island in the middle of a vast oasis, but the reality is that we are all intrinsically connected in that there are some things that I can help you with and teach you if you would allow me, and there are things that you can help me with and teach me if I would allow you. I am not necessarily more intelligent than you, nor are you necessarily more intelligent than me. We are simply different and view the world from different perspectives.

Instead of always arguing and disputing over the things that seemingly make us different, we need to tear down those walls of division and begin to build bridges of unity based on our commonalities. If we are to stay warm from the coldness of the world, we must come together and reason together, realizing that we can all share the same blanket of love.

What Does the Savior Look Like?

I do not believe that the Savior has blond hair and blue eyes as depicted in a lot of Hollywood productions. Furthermore, I do not believe that He is Black either as He is depicted in such publications as the African Bible. I have a large picture of the Savior hanging in the entrance way of my apartment. In the artist’s depiction, the Savior has an olive complexion (representative of the complexion a person who lives in the region where the Savior was born and ministered would have). Is the portrait an accurate portrayal of the Master? In the heart, mind, and eyes of the one who painted it, yes it is.

Each person has their own idea of what the Savior looks like. A child’s description of the Savior will differ from that of an adults’ for example. A young adult’s description of the Savior may differ from that of someone more advanced in years. None of the descriptions can be counted as incorrect, as everyone envisions the Savior according to what He means to them at their particular station in life. When all is said and done, it does not matter if the Savior is Black, White, Red, or what have you. What does matter is that He is the Son of the True and the Living God. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. And He loves each of us, regardless of our race, equally and unconditionally. Personally I do not serve a Savior who is concerned about a person’s “race”, but rather, I serve a Master who is concerned for the salvation of the souls of all humanity regardless of their race.

The beauty of absolute truth is that it forever stands on its own merits as being truth regardless if one person believes it, a thousand people believe it or no one believes it. Absolute truth does not need our sustaining vote to be declared as truth, and we cannot void its validity by simply disbelieving it.

If standing up for what is right means having to stand alone than I will choose to stand alone. I would prefer to be found with my feet planted on the firm ground of truth, than to find myself sinking in the quicksand of compromise and uncertainty. He who attempts to win the favor of man in all that he does has already lost his race, but he who stands firm on the rock of truth shall be declared the victor in the end.

 


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