Posts tagged lifestyle

When Someone Spat On Me

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I was walking on that sidewalk route as I had many times over the years while in elementary school in Toronto. It was a very cold winter day, and I had a pretty large winter jacket on. I think I might have been in grade 2 or 3, but I can’t say for sure. As I was walking, I noticed a group of people ahead of me – a few years older for sure since they were bigger. They saw me, and I could see that one person was adamant that they had something to do – so they broke from their group, jogged back to where I was, and without hesitation, spat on me – and then went back to their group.

There was no doubt in mind that day that I was spit on because I looked different than them – all the people in that group were a different ethnic background than I. Of course I’m brown, being a Canadian of East-Indian background. (This was during a time in Toronto, when, if you were brown, you were definitely a minority). Now while there were a number of great people who were of that group’s ethnic background in that neighbourhood during that time, these few had different ideas about people who looked different. Anyways, I thought there was not much I could do since they were bigger; so I went home, and told my parents, who were quite upset about what had happened. They of course cleaned my winter jacket.

This incident reminds me of the reality many of us face, whether we are young or old, that because we may look different, act different, or even have different ideas, people treat us with disrespect, and sometimes treat us just terribly. And if we’re honest, it doesn’t just happen on school playgrounds, but in college classrooms, corporate boardrooms, and in our family rooms. Some may “spit” on us with their looks, their words, and their actions. It may be your classmate, “friend,” teacher, boss, or even family member. How we react to these experiences is critical. I think in many ways my story about being spit on relates to issues on different levels, whether it is being bullied or just being marginalized by others. Here are some of my thoughts and reflections:

1) Never isolate yourself when getting mistreated. First off, talk to God about it because He cares for you and wants to help you. Second, someone trustworthy needs to be told, whether it’s a parent, spouse, friend, or authority. Some objective support and possible action with others may be quite important.

2) Never let the foolish words and actions of people dictate who you think you are. It’s easy to let the loudest voice be the one that’s heeded. Don’t let it happen to you. I know I’ve done it many times in my life. Seriously, are you going to let someone who’s either prideful about how great they are or someone who’s so insecure that they have to put down others, dictate your identity? They are quite unreliable.

This also relates to forgiveness. This may be the opposite of what we think we should do, but often when we withhold forgiveness, we become discouraged, depressed, and even bitter – notice I said “we.” Often the perpetrator is off doing their own thing and not caring about you. But when we forgive, we release that issue to God. It’s not that we forget – it may come back to our thoughts at times and make us angry – but it’s about forgiving as Christ forgives us. And then we are released from being “controlled” by bitterness and other negative feelings that those evil acts against us may cause in our hearts.

3) May I suggest you hear God’s voice even in the midst of the other loud voices.

Did you know God loves you? The Bible says, that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). No matter how far you think you’ve gone away from God, He loves you, He died for your sins, and wants to be in relationship with you. He’s waiting for you to come to Him and love Him in return.

Did you know you are wonderfully made? The author of Psalm 139:13-15 writes a revealing reality about us, in his adoration to God; here it is: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” God had you in mind even before you came out of your mother’s womb and “knit” you together so that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”! God don’t make junk! You are a work of art, and the master artist is God Himself! And this God who made you has a great purpose for your life, which is found in relationship with Him.

I pray that the voice of God, which speaks the truth of who you are, be of much greater impact than the “spits” inflicted on us by others. Hear God’s voice through prayer and time in God’s Word, the Bible. All the best to you, and always a pleasure to hear from you!

Josh Samuel

“Born Again” by the Newsboys

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If you have a moment, play this video above. It’s a song I really appreciate by the Newsboys, entitled, “Born Again.” Here are some of the lyrics:

The Newsboys

“I found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn’t who I wanted to be
I was living like the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I’m not free.
Believed that I saw everything that I know
Says I got to go, tired of going solo
But I’m never gonna go there again.

This is what it is
This is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t want to fall
But I don’t have to crawl
I met the One with two scarred hands
Giving him the best of everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been Born Again”

So often when we hear the words, “born again,” I think many immediately think of someone who has decided to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Maybe they’ve heard a message at church about Jesus dying on the cross for us – that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins – that we can be completely forgiven of our sins when we ask Jesus for forgiveness and trust Him as our Lord and Saviour – and some have made commitments to follow Jesus Christ under these circumstances. To me, this is one of the greatest miracles one can experience – a life changed by God’s grace and mercy extended to us. Salvation is incredible. If someone has genuinely decided to follow and believe in Jesus Christ, they have truly been “born again.”

Jesus explained the need to be “born again” and what it means in John 3. Of course we cannot be physically “born again,” but we can be born again in a spiritual sense when the Spirit of God brings new life into us as we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour – we may then live eternally in the presence of God through this new birth.

The challenge for some of us, I think, is that when we speak of being “born again,” it is limited to that “moment of conversion.” What I like about the song and video by Newsboys entitled, “Born Again,” is that through the visuals of this video they have connected this new life with a new way of living that is consistent with the Kingdom of God – they are seeking the values of the Kingdom of God established here on earth – through helping the poor and disenfranchised. In James 1:27, the writer explains that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (NIV).

I think it’s critical that being a “born again” Christian is not just something that points to a mere “moment of change,” but a change in lifestyle inaugurated by that new life the Spirit brings. A life that reflects the heart of God towards the world – particularly those who are in need. Let us consider how we might bless others who are in need today. I recognize that one does not need to be “born again” to help those in need, but I think that a lifestyle of blessing others should be particularly evident in one who is “born again.”

Most of us have heard about the devastation that has occurred recently in Japan due to the tsunami. You can help them today by donating something to an organization helping with the relief efforts. There are a lot of great organizations out there helping. One I know of that is helping is World Vision; if you like you can give to World Vision from anywhere in the world – check them out at this link – World Vision International. There are links on this page so you can select the country you are from, and subsequently make your donation.

Feel free to contact me or add your own thoughts here, always a pleasure to hear from you.

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