One songwriter wrote, "I will always love you." Another recorded, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” The following is typical of some responses to the Augusta Chronicle article on the congressional effort to repeal Obamacare.
"I personally do not care how many are "uninsured" as long as I do not have to pay for someone else's insurance,” said Jerry Whitcomb of Georgia.
To which Bill Murphy in the same state replied, "Amen."
These are men from the Bible Belt who probably faithfully attend church and completely misunderstand the notion of grace and the fact that God so loved the world.
Moreover, it betrays a complete lack of knowledge of a fundamental pillar of insurance.
Insurance is a vehicle which assumes financial risks to cover people in cases of disasters, accidents or mishaps. (Think Hurricanes Andrew, Katrina and the flooding in Missouri). It attempts to mitigate said risk by spreading the cost over a large group of people.
No insurance including auto, home or Obamacare can long survive without some unrelated people underwriting the cost for other people.
Not a big believer in, "I am my brother's keeper" are these guys.
"I don't love you" breaks your spirit. A person may appear whole on the outside after hearing that statement but he or she is crushed inside.
Internally devastated, the best response he or she can muster is, "Forget you.” I refer you to the "Dear John" letter and the July Johnson character in the movie “Bandolero."
So, before you are tempted to applaud such rugged, independent individualism displayed by Jerry and Bill, pay attention to a story I read about, that happened a long time ago.
There were a group of people, guilty wrongdoers, who were sentenced to a horrific death in a terrible lake of fire. Their only hope for salvation was for someone else, totally unrelated to their condition, to voluntarily take their place. A man far away, who was familiar with their situation--utterly and completely disconnected from their misdeeds -- offered to sacrifice his life, to underwrite this tremendous cost to save them. Talk about full and comprehensive fire insurance!
Unbelievable, you might say, totally illogical and unreasonable. And, indeed, many people will agree with you.
Yet many others, including this writer, swear by it and firmly believe it to be true. We order our lives as a tribute to this thoroughly unselfish altruistic Savior and his astoundingly amazing gift.
I always use this story as a backdrop whenever I minister to my charges in the faith-based ministry in the jail I visit weekly.
A lot of people may not care about you, but you must not forget that somewhere, somebody up there or out there, in the universe still loves you. You are forever loved.
Surrounded by sharks in a sea of hate, sometimes, it is the only life-saving device available to transport your broken body and mind to a successful shore.
One of the most pernicious, demonic aspects of slavery was the continual persuasion of the slave that he was unloved.
At every juncture, he was reminded that, because of the color of his skin and physical characteristics, nobody could love him.
He was, therefore, worthless and good for nothing other than being a beast of burden and should be treated no better than he was--an animal.
Everything about him or her was despicable and a curse, and any blessing he or she could derive from life were bound up in the welfare of his master or mistress.
Amazingly, many of them bought this perverse idea. Think of the Samuel L. Jackson character in Django Unchained.
The same evil dynamic exists between a pimp and a prostitute. It is called, "looking for love in all the wrong places."
If this is your past and present, it will take a revelation, a “rhema” word from God to convince you that your future can be different. I know it is hard to believe it or acknowledge it, especially when you are in a strait or a tight spot.
The psalmist cries out in Psalm 22, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me, while my tears have been my meat day and night.”
The prophet Jeremiah groaned in chapter 20 of his eponymous book, “I am in derision daily, cursed be the day in which I was born. Let not that day be blessed in which my mother bore me.”
The long-suffering Job regretted in chapter 3. “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came out of the womb?”
The psalmist in Psalm 73 lamented, “I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. I have cleansed my hands in vain.”
At such times, if someone were to come to you and say God loves you, the following would be your natural sarcastic response – “Hmmmmm. Hmmmmm. Yeah, yeah, Yeah, easy for you to say, you are not going through what I am going through.”
Talk to me when you are experiencing what I am experiencing. Yes, that is a reasonable, logical argument, a perfectly human response.
But, here is a never ending truth in spite of your circumstances. What you are going through does not negate God's love for you. Yes, you cannot see it, yes, you cannot feel it. But that does not mean it is not there.
This is a business of faith--substance of things not seen, the evidence of things hoped for.
So, you must come to grips with what the psalmist confidently assured himself in 42, “Why art thou cast down, Oh! my soul and why art thou disquieted within me?”
To exist and survive in the world you must become a disciple.
The last thing he told his disciples was, “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all the nations.”
What is a disciple? One who learns and teaches himself to exercise discipline and self-control.
You are constantly training in the gymnasium of life, honing yourself into a finely tuned human instrument.
So, you train and condition yourself to understand times and seasons and your responses to same. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.
Joan Collins on the topic of beauty says, “Being born beautiful means you start out with lots of assets which diminish and lose value over time.”
Because the years have not been kind to you, does not mean the kindness of God has disappeared over time. You are forever loved.
Winter is coming. Old age is around the corner, trouble and hardship lie around the next bend in the road. But, you must store up enough acknowledgment of love to last through winter.
In the time of plenty, you make provisions for the time of famine. You must persist during the tough days and remain convinced that you are forever loved.
You will appreciate what he promised the children of Israel on their way to captivity in Babylon for 70 long years.
"I will visit you. For I know my plans towards you, plans to prosper you and give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
You will experience an eternal springtime where beauty, freshness and fragrant aromas abound forevermore.
It will be beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning.
When you understand and apprehend that, you will be assured like Paul, I am fully persuaded that neither death nor life could separate me , or like Jeremiah, who said, his word was in mine heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and Job who exclaimed, I know that my redeemer liveth and I shall see Him one day though my flesh be consumed.
When this becomes deeply embedded in your spirit, when you fully take firm hold of the idea that you are forever loved, nothing will be beyond your reach--no task would be unconquerable.
My prayer is that we all grasp the fullness of the greatest theological one-liner in all of Christendom---JESUS LOVES ME, THIS I KNOW.
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.