Peace, Love, & Understanding

Lucian Hodoboc

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Rom 12:9a . . Don't just pretend that you love others.

The Greek word translated "love" is derived from agape (ag-ah'-pay) which refers
to affection and/or benevolence; so we have a couple of choices.

I suggest Rom 12:9a forbids not only pretending to like people, but also pretending
to care about them.

I've heard politicians say "I feel your pain" when you know in your heart that they
don't feel anything at all-- zero --it's just bombast.

Webster's defines "pretense" as fiction, make-believe, and/or simulation. Ironically,
pretense is foundational to common courtesy. But when it comes to love; Christians
should never put on a front. In other words: don't lead someone on to believe you
care about them when in reality you don't. That's not only dishonest and
misleading; it's cruel.
_
So what should we do if we don't feel love (I'm talking about the emotion)? Should we state our feelings in a truthful, yet cold way (e.g.: "I don't feel any empathy or positive emotions in regards to your suffering, but I'm going to say comforting things to you regardless")? Or should we just keep quiet, say nothing (which would also get us labeled as indifferent and insensitive)?
 

Odë:hgöd

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So what should we do if we don't feel love (I'm talking about the emotion)?
Somebody needs to compile a list of do's and don'ts for sympathy-challenged
people. There might already be something like that floating around out there on the
internet.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 10:24 . . Nobody should seek only his own good, but also the good of
others.

That's not saying it's wrong to seek your own good; just wrong to seek it at the
expense of another's good; viz: selfish ambition might be an acceptable modus
operandi in professional sports, politics, and big business; but it's totally
unacceptable in one's association with fellow believers for whom Christ died.

And there's nothing new in that; I mean after all; it's just another way of
expressing the so-called golden rule; which states: "All things whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." (Matt 7:12)
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 10:27-29 . . If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat
whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. But if anyone
says to you "This has been offered in sacrifice" then do not eat it, both for the sake
of the man who told you and for conscience' sake-- the other man's conscience, I
mean, not yours.

If we go ahead and dine in someone's home knowing in advance the food is either
dedicated to, or blessed by, a pagan deity, or that when they say grace around the
table it will be to a god other than our own, or to a sacred personage that we do
not accept; then our host is quite possibly going to come to the conclusion that his
religion is just as valid as ours if we don't decline.

But please, when declining; be kind, gentle, thoughtful, tactful, and diplomatic
about it, i.e. considerate of the other person's feelings about their religion just as
we wish for them to be considerate of ours.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 10:32-33 . . Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to
the church of God: even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit,
but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

The main idea here is courtesy with respect to cultural differences, viz: tolerance;
roughly defined as sympathy or indulgence for beliefs, practices, and/or life styles
differing from, or conflicting with, one's own.

No doubt a whole Sunday-morning sermon could be devoted to that passage in regard
to how people are turned off to the gospel by the thoughtless ways they're treated by
someone reputed to be a Christian.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 11:33-34 . . My brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for each
other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together
it may not result in judgment.

The command doesn't frown upon things like church banquets, men's' breakfasts,
ladies' luncheons, and/or potlucks per se. What it's criticizing is a lack of
congregational unity. Here's some comments leading up to that verse.

"Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not
for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together as a
church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. For there
must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized
among you.

. . .Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat The Lord's
Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is
hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or
do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I
say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you." (1Cor 11:17-22)

Their lack of courtesy and unity during church functions was nothing short of
hypocrisy seeing as how The Lord's supper speaks of sacrifice rather than
selfishness, elitism, and hoarding. In other words; seeing as how Christians all
share in Christ's blood equally-- and deserve Hell equally --then everyone should
be given equal treatment at church regardless of age, gender, skin color,
intelligence, income level, nationality, what side of the tracks they live on, or social
status.

None of Christ's body parts are untouchable as if Christianity is a caste system; nor
are any expendable. God forbid that there should be some sort of value system in a
gathering of people for whom Christ suffered and died equally for each one. That
just wouldn't be right: it would be an insult to the principles underlying The Lord's
supper.

"Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying: Drink from it, all
of you." (Matt 26:27)

If Christians are all drinking from the same cup, then they should all be, at the very
least, eating the same food and not be overly concerned about where they sit
and/or who they sit next to and/or who they're seen with. And they should also
make double sure that everyone gets enough to eat and that no one gets left out
and nobody gets more than his fair share. And they should all sit down together at
the same time. I just hate it when people don't wait for each other. Some get back
to the table and start in gulping, slurping, clattering, and clanking while others from
their table are still in line.

And they should also take into consideration the possibility that a number of their
congregation are in assistance programs like TANF and SNAP. In other words; don't
just bring enough food from home for yourself; but, if you're able, bring enough for
those among you who can't bring anything at all. And for heaven's sake, don't bring
a side dish of gourmet food along just for yourself. Leave your special gourmet stuff
at home. There's just no excuse for flaunting your "sophistication" around church
thus giving everyone the impression that everyone else's tastes are below yours.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 14:1a . . Pursue charity

The Greek noun for "charity" in that command is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which, in most
cases, is a very easy kind of love to practice. Though agape may, or may not,
include the sentiments of fondness and/or affection like the Greek word phileo (fil
eh'-o), it always exemplifies benevolence; defined by Webster's as the disposition
to do good, i.e. kindness, consideration, generosity, courtesy, lenience, tolerance,
patience, sympathy, assistance, civility, friendliness, etc.

Agape love does no harm to its neighbor. (Rom 13:10)

In a nutshell, agape love allows us to be nice to people without particularly liking
them.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:1-3 . . Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the
Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set
aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come
no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of
introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

The "God's people" to whom Paul referred were Jewish Christians whose church was
located at Jerusalem. They were having it pretty rough in the early days of
Christianity.

Lest somebody should get the wrong idea, that wasn't a tithe. Christ left it up to
each individual in Corinth the amount that they felt like donating towards the Jews'
relief effort.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or
under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2Cor 9:7)

Tithes are not gifts; no, tithes are demanded rather than donated out of the
goodness of one's heart. I don't give the government my taxes; no, they take them
from me by force of law; viz: I pay taxes against my will, both reluctantly and
under compulsion; and I have absolutely no voice in the parentage of my income
that they take. When it comes to taxes: I am not cheerful; no, I am grudging. Well;
that is not Christian giving. No; Christians have a faith that works by love, not by
law. (Gal 5:6)

It would be interesting to take a poll among America's churches just to see, out of
curiosity, how many have a program for assisting Jewish Christians over in the
modern State of Israel.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 12:24-27 . . God has combined the members of the body and has given
greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no schism in the
body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

In the beginning, Man was made in the image and likeness of God, which is a
kinship with Divinity that makes all of us equals on the human plane. It's likely
because of this equality that the Golden Rule is so appropriate.

In other words: the Golden Rule gives your fellow man the respect and dignity that
the image and likeness of God deserves. I believe the very same principle applies to
fellow members of the body of Christ.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:1-3 . . Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the
Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set
aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come
no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of
introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

The "God's people" to whom Paul referred were Jewish Christians whose church was
located at Jerusalem. They were having it pretty rough in the early days of
Christianity.

Lest somebody should get the wrong idea, that wasn't a tithe. Christ left it up to
each individual in Corinth the amount that they felt like donating towards the Jews'
relief effort.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or
under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2Cor 9:7)

Tithes are not gifts; no, tithes are demanded rather than donated out of the
goodness of one's heart. I don't give the government my taxes; no, they take them
from me by force of law; viz: I pay taxes against my will, both reluctantly and
under compulsion; and I have absolutely no voice in the parentage of my income
that they take. When it comes to taxes: I am not cheerful; no, I am grudging. Well;
that is not Christian giving. No; Christians have a faith that works by love, not by
law. (Gal 5:6)

It would be interesting to take a poll among America's churches just to see, out of
curiosity, how many have a program for assisting Jewish Christians over in the
modern State of Israel.
_
 

atpollard

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For example: it is my own personal feelings that Luke 22:35-36 makes it okay for
Christ's followers to own firearms for self defense. Well; a rather opinionated
Christian in one of my Sunday school classes sneered at me for feeling that way
and proceeded to pontificate that Jesus' instructions were only "preparatory" for the
upcoming confrontation with Judas and the crowd that came with him that night to
arrest Jesus. Okay; that's fine with me if that's the way he feels about it; but
sneering at me for feeling my way about it was not only thoughtless, but improper
too.
I see the double irony of the example. You just finished teaching above this about how you HAVE the freedom to eat in a tavern (own a firearm) and there is nothing wrong with that, but your weaker brother in Christ might think it wrong to eat in a tavern (own a firearm). You conclude that we should build up our weaker brother rather than tear him down. Then you offer the example of a weaker brother (not owning firearms) behaving as a weaker brother (improperly tearing you down for saying that he can own firearms) and you see only cause to criticize him for not behaving like a stronger and more mature brother.

It was funny, that was all. Little brothers behave like little brothers and it is up to the big brothers to act like big brothers. ;)
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:14 . . Do everything in love.

The Greek word translated "love" in this instance is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which
doesn't necessarily indicate fondness or affection, but always indicates
benevolence; defined by Webster's as the disposition to do good, e.g. generosity,
charity, altruism, compassion, and sympathy, i.e. thoughtful, cordial, affable,
genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, hospitable, considerate, tactful,
diplomatic, accommodating, cooperative, kind, courteous, lenient, tolerant, patient,
helpful, civil, and friendly, etc.

In context; "everything" probably refers to the business of managing a church.

If a church officer's management practices tend to be more Machiavellian than
Christian, then maybe he really ought to consider stepping down and finding
himself a seat in a pew rather than a chair on the board. I mean it; this is not
something to take lightly. 1Cor 16:14 isn't optional; it's mandatory.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:15-18 . .You know that the household of Stephanas were the first
converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I
urge you, brothers, to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the
work, and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus
arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed
my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

Paul and his associates depended pretty heavily upon the hospitality of local
believers for accommodations and daily necessities. Congregations do well to follow
the examples of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus either by opening their homes
to missionaries or by funding their stay in a motel, providing them with some
pocket money, and possibly a rental car. (Universal gift cards are a good idea too.)
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:20 . . Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Kissing was a common form of greeting in the old world; and still is in the Middle
East and certain parts of Europe; but here in America-- a super-sized
racial/cultural/ethnic amalgam of customs from all over the globe --it's wise to
dispense your kisses with discretion. Some of us don't even like to be hugged, let
alone bussed; and if you should perchance try to make physical contact with an
autistic Christian, you're liable to cause them a panic attack; so go easy on the
touchy-feely stuff.

The people to whom Paul referred as "one another" are one's fellow born-again
Christians. We're not required to be cozy with unbelievers. You can be courteous to
them, yes (cf. Matt 5:47) but reserve especially warm greetings for your siblings;
viz: those who've undergone a second birth as per John 1:12-13 and John 3:3-8,
and thus share your adoption into God's home as per Rom 8:15-17.
_
 

Odë:hgöd

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2Cor 2:6-8 . . The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for
him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be
overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for
him.

The cause for which Paul wrote that section was a guy in the Corinthian church
sleeping with his stepmother (1Cor 5:1). Paul had commanded the congregation to
not only hold the man's feet to the fire, but also to ostracize him.

Some time had passed since then, and the man was apparently regretting his
actions, and broken off the illicit relationship with his kin, so it was time to let him
back into the group. No doubt the humiliation of it all had a tremendous impact
upon his attitude-- probably upon the congregation's too because at first their
attitude wasn't all that good about it either. (cf. 1Cor 5:2)

Here in America scolding and ostracizing a church member would probably just
make them resentful rather than repentant. (cf. Ps 51:17)


FAQ: Doesn't 2Cor 2:5-10 support the Watchtower Society's shunning and
Scientology's disconnection?


A: Those organizations practice an extreme form of ostracizing that oftentimes
destroys friendship bonds, destroys family ties, and even destroys marriage vows.
Paul never meant for Christ's followers to go that far. His ostracizing is pretty much
limited to church, viz: congregational functions, e.g. worship, communion, prayer
meetings, banquets, etc. Taking Paul's instructions to extremes puts people in
jeopardy of failing to comply with Christ's instructions at Matt 5:44-48. (cf. 2Thess
3:14-15)
_
 
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Odë:hgöd

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2Cor 2:10-11 . . If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have
forgiven-- if there was anything to forgive --I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for
your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his
schemes.

One of the opposition's tactics is to create disunity in a church. Sure enough when
that happens-- as when one portion of the congregation believes in judging and
ostracizing while the other doesn't --people start taking sides and the church will
end up divided into cliques and factions. According to the lord and master of New
Testament Christianity, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Paul mentioned that his extension of forgiveness was "in the sight of Christ". There
exists some controversy as to the exact meaning but I think it's just saying that
Paul's forgiveness of that man was done in accordance with Christ's approval; to
the end that the Corinthians all go along with it, i.e. stand together as one in their
compliance with the apostle Paul's decisions.
_
 
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Odë:hgöd

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2Cor 9:7 . . Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.

Towards what end is the giving spoken of in the New Testament? To finance
ambitious building programs? Well; Christians back then met in homes. Did their
contributions go towards obtaining more homes to meet in? No.

Within the context of the New Testament, giving in the early church was charitable.
It met needs rather than expenses; and those needs were typically congregational
rather than universal; viz: their charity went towards those amongst themselves
and/or other congregations that were hungry, sick, injured, homeless, alone,
helpless, missionaries, full-time-church officers, orphans, widows, abandoned,
and/or oppressed, etc.
_
 
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JRT

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Narcissistic people are by nature insufferably arrogant, self-absorbed, indifferent,
and insensitive. They see nothing wrong with their behavior, nor are they attuned
to its impact on others. Were you to confront narcissistic folk with your concerns
about their attitude; be prepared for a counterattack because they'll no doubt
become indignant and defensive; possibly accusing you of selfishness, jealousy,
overreaction, hysteria, and unloving behavior. You see; they're never the problem:
you are.
You have just described Donald Trump "to a T".
 

JRT

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The Dalai Lama wrote --- This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.
 

Odë:hgöd

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1Cor 16:14 . . Do everything in love.

The Greek word translated "love" in this instance is agape (ag-ah'-pay) which
doesn't necessarily indicate fondness or affection, but always indicates
benevolence; defined by Webster's as the disposition to do good, e.g. generosity,
charity, altruism, compassion, and sympathy, i.e. thoughtful, cordial, affable,
genial, sociable, cheerful, warm, sensitive, hospitable, considerate, tactful,
diplomatic, accommodating, cooperative, kind, courteous, lenient, tolerant, patient,
helpful, civil, and friendly, etc.

In context; "everything" probably refers to the business of managing a church.

If a church officer's management practices tend to be more Machiavellian than
Christian, then maybe he really ought to consider stepping down and finding
himself a seat in a pew rather than a chair on the board. I mean it; this is not
something to take lightly. 1Cor 16:14 isn't optional; it's mandatory.
_
 
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