"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump's proposals to halt illegal immigration.
The central focus of our faith, the most integral part of our belief, is the welfare of the other guy. It extends beyond mere empathy to the point of sacrificial, self-denial where the Christian would step back, step down or step out of the way to ensure the progress of his fellow man.
This is what Paul the Apostle said: “Thus sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ, therefore if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat lest I make my brother stumble.” - 1 Corinthians 8:12-13
The majority of Christians sincerely believe that homosexuality and homosexual marriage are contrary to the gospel.
Yet this is how Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics, responded when questioned about the matter of homosexual behavior, “Who am I to judge?”
Needless to say, most conservative members of his sect were thoroughly dismayed, despondent and outraged.
Throughout Christian history, in every century, one will find someone cutting against the grain, someone urging us from darkness to the light, to resist the violent reaction, someone saying, “be at peace with mankind, be at war with their vices,” someone crying in the wilderness, “repent, make your paths straight.”
We do not know or have the authority to determine who is salvageable, irredeemable, beyond all hope and worthy of death.
President Barack Obama and Pope Francis have been the scorn of many people and undergone withering criticism for their refusal to declare Islam a terrorist religion.
This is the true mindset of Christianity. The desire to bend over backwards to find some redeeming quality in the other guy.
I am afraid that I do not get the same vibes from Islam.
Despite present evidence to the contrary, I am sure many Muslims would disagree, but it is not their religion, that is under the gun( no pun intended) at this time.
In this column I am speaking up for my belief, and in due course, and if so inclined, he or she can assume the role of apologist to expound the merits of his or her faith.
However, it’s undeniable that if one thinks about 9-11, San Bernardino, Ca., Fort Hood, Tx., Sudan, Indonesia, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Nigeria, one has reason to be nervous and unsettled about Muslims.
I am not saying or suggesting that there are not problems in Christian nations. I am not saying that all Muslims are bad but, one -motivated by objectivity and not prejudice -must face and admit some unpleasant truths. There are far less hardships in the western half of the world that has been influenced by Christian thought.
When Christianity takes hold of a people, their behavior is allowed to bloom and thrive, hope springs eternal , equal opportunities abound and remain a promise for everyone.
Every man or woman is allowed to pursue, unhindered, his or destiny, whatever he or she decides that to be.
Picture for a moment the lifeless body of the four-year-old boy, lying still-face down in the mud- on that beach in Turkey. He lost his life fleeing the devastation of his war-ravaged land, trying to escape the turmoil of his native Syria. That disturbing image is forever seared in my mind.
Think about this, all his dreams, all his desires, all his hopes, all his goals, dead and buried in the dirt—the tragic result of a difference of opinion of how one should worship God.
Was he an infidel, beyond redemption?
To reach Europe and the Americas, the Syrian refugee has to leave behind Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates and all the nations mentioned above.
He or she knows in his or her heart that if I could only reach over there, that I will have the best chance to survive.
He knows that many of us truly believe and demonstrate, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” - 1 Corinthians 10 v 24
Despite our manifold sins, obvious inequities and blatant shortcomings, over here under the shadow of Christ, offers the best hope for mankind.
In the final analysis that is what it’s all about.
TO LIVE AND TO LET LIVE.
God bless us, everyone.
V. Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.