Taking care of the environment isn’t a new thought. God had the idea first and gave the daily chore to Adam in the Garden of Eden. If my hypothesis is correct about disrespect for God being the number one trouble in our world, then it isn’t a big leap to see how disrespecting God leads to disrespect for self and others—and more than likely includes the environment along with everything else God made. But I’m zeroing in on relationship scams and in Part 3 I’m saying something about respecting others.
In Our Beginning
As an example, in the Garden of Eden Eve was more than a gift to Adam to be used however he pleased. Adam was more than a gift to Eve to be used however she pleased. Eve was Adam’s partner. Adam was Eve’s partner. Eve made Adam complete. Adam made Eve complete. Eve was a person worthy of honor. Adam was a person worthy of honor. Together they were connected as one. Their relationship wasn’t one of conflict or control. Their relationship was without manipulation. Eve brought to the partnership talents, gifts, and abilities Adam didn’t. Adam brought to the partnership talents, gifts, and abilities Eve didn’t. Mutually, Adam and Eve respected each others’ talents, gifts and abilities. Together they prospered.
But there’s more, in Christ Eve is more than a possession for Adam to use however he chooses. Adam is more than a possession for Eve to use however she chooses. Eve is a partner. Adam is a partner. Eve makes Adam complete. Adam makes Eve complete. Eve is a person worthy of honor. Adam is a person worthy of honor. Together they are connected as one. Their relationship isn’t about conflict or control. Their relationship isn’t about manipulation. Eve brings to the partnership talents, gifts, and abilities that Adam doesn’t. Adam brings to the partnership talents, gifts, and abilities that Eve doesn’t. Mutually, Adam and Eve respect each others’ talents, gifts, and abilities. Together they prosper. Together they are one. The old is gone, the new has begun.
So I’m trying to evaluate what has happened between the Garden of Eden and Jesus? It’s my feeling John 10:10a has happened. Because, if I’m understanding the thief correctly, the thief is busy creating contempt in all my relationships.
I’m thinking this way because when I insist on living in the in-between (in-between Eden and Christ) I’m setting myself up to experience John 10:10a. This occurs because the thief has easy access to stealing from me. I mean further, there isn’t anything holding the thief back from killing me. Consequently, the thief will be able to persist in destroying me. I’m pretty sure most would agree, “I don’t want these things to happen.”
If that’s you, like that’s me, then you probably see without me saying, “Change begins as we start respecting God.” Respect for God results in respect for me, as I said in Part 2. In Part 3 I’m talking about respecting others and I opened by saying something about the environment of marriage. The marriage relationship is the most intimate form of respect, besides a relationship with God. My observation then, moving forward, is that when I think about disrespect for others it usually reveals itself in three general areas, make that four general areas:
- Religion, and
- Economic status.
Frequently I hear or read about conflict in, at least, these four general areas. Why do they take place? As mentioned earlier in Part 1, it’s because almost everyone I’ve met is inclined to cooperate with John 10:10a instead of John 10:10b. Regrettably, I’m inclined this way. One of the main purposes of the thief is to keep me distracted from building an enduring relationship with God, others, and myself.
A closer examination of the thief’s motive shows that operating inside John 10:10a is a fiery contempt driven by hostility. So what do you think, is the thief successful? Well, this contemptuous hostility is evidenced by the ugly things we do to each other. People steal. People kill. People destroy. Again let me make this perfectly clear, I’m saying people behave like this because they disrespect God, themselves, and others. Misotheism is hatred of God. Misogyny is hated of women. Misandry is hatred of men. Misanthropy is hatred of everyone. This happens because we allow ourselves to become victims of the thief. Too often then, I am living in the in-between where I really don’t want to live. Therefore I am proposing you and I are able to change our address, we don’t have to live here any longer.
The Best Way
Here’s the deal, John 10:10b offers not just a better way but the best way. Unlike the thief who enjoys toying with me, scamming me, and tormenting me Jesus doesn’t play this game. What’s more Jesus doesn’t make empty promises. As I began really paying attention I witnessed that Jesus is a straight shooter. But initially I have to admit the thief’s noisy and distracting confusion plugged my ears, so I had difficulty listening or hearing what Jesus was saying to me.
Furthermore, in my scrutiny of scams I’ve noticed that relatively few have gotten or are getting the message Jesus is speaking to them. However, those who do get it cease being disrespectful by living within John 10:10b. Examples abound, consider from ancient and modern times these well-known names,
- Paul of Tarsus,
- Johannes Gutenberg,
- Mother Teresa, and
- Billy Graham.
Also in the current or past there are many lesser known names such as,
- Bill Myers,
- Catherine Palmer, or
- Joni Eareckson Tada.
And finally there are unknown names such as,
- me and perhaps
Naturally, these are all flawed people but they’re worth mentioning and reading about. (use your search engine*). Obviously, God knows each personality behind the name, intimately. Thus it’s important to affirm, Jesus is alive to make the promise of John 10:10b an actuality—beginning with your next breath. So, the promise of life in all its fulness is fulfilled moment by moment, person by person, and this promise is never exhausted. It’s the water of life.
Now, even though this promise in John 10:10b is available, miserably, I’ve hesitated to live the best because of foolish scams sown by the thief. As an illustration, I assume I know everything there is to know about God (Jesus) so I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything fresh anyone can tell me. You will understand immediately that this is not only arrogance on my part but entirely disrespectful. This isn’t merely despicable behavior (or thinking), not at all, it’s additional disrespect because the Lord is waiting and wanting to show me there is more to life in all its fulness—way beyond what I know thus far.
Let me mention one final intimacy scam the thief works to break up our relationships, then I’ll wrap this up. This silliness is a stance that asks for signs, wonders, and reasons of evidence before I’ll accept Jesus’ claim of John 10:10b. “Prove it!” However God doesn’t bite at my foolishness. God doesn’t bite because God didn’t arrange it so that proof comes first and then faith follows. Faith comes first and then the evidence follows. You don’t buy this? Okay, said in another way, Philip said to Nathaniel, “Come and see.” (John 1:46). See it for yourself.
So much more could be said about faith before proof, including the Bible verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him,” but that’s the point: respect for God leads to respect for self and respect for self leads to respect for others. Just beyond your expression of faith the Holy Spirit waits to fill you with life in all its fulness. John 10:10 describes what is going on in our world. You and I are left with a choice to make. I choose John 10:10b. What’s your choice?
Soon, if you’ll return to Lee’s Nite Radio, undoubtedly, I’ll say something more about the environment of faith and evidence. Taking care of what God created is a sign of respect. God bless your day.
*Paul of Tarsus (http://www.biographybase.com/biography/paul_of_tarsus.html), Johannes Gutenberg (http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/gutenberg.htm), Mother Teresa (http://prayerfoundation.org/mother_teresa_do_it_anyway.htm), and
Billy Graham (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham).