Love Alike

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Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins (1 Peter 4:8, Common English Bible)

Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences. John Wesley

Earlier this morning I was looking around on the internet for a particular John Wesley quote I wanted to leave as a comment on another blog (never did find it). In the process I ran across a fairly long list of Wesley quotes. Some of them I never knew, some I had forgotten and others, like the one above, are among my favorites.

When I found the list I thought I might start taking some of these quotes, as well as some from other authors and theologians and use them as a place to start my blogs. That doesn’t mean I won’t vary from them from time to time, but some of these jewels of wisdom have been too long forgotten.

I guess I picked this one for today because I think Wesley addresses what I see going on in our country right now, with the upcoming Presidential election (and no, this is not going to be a political post, I will save that for Facebook).

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out our two presidential candidates don’t think alike. That isn’t even close. I would also venture to say they also don’t love alike. I don’t hear much of loving words coming from either. The one positive thing from both I have heard was at the end of last Sunday’s debate when each were asked to say something positive, something they admired about the other. Secretary Clinton, going first, said she admired Mr. Trump’s family and seeing his family said something about him as a husband and father (my paraphrase). For his part, Mr. Trump said, he admired that Secretary Clinton is a fighter, that she would never give up (again, my paraphrase). It was my favorite part of the debate.

Of far greater concern to me, however, is the way we seem to talk to each other and treat each other. And, it isn’t just out in the world, it is even in the Church. When politics is mentioned the claws seem to come out. The hardliners on both sides go into attack mode. “…we cannot think alike…”

We all would like to forget, and sometimes we are successful, that we are all sinners, even our political candidates, and we fall short of the glory of God. Sometimes we want to put our leaders on pedestals and then we rediscover what we have forgotten. They, like us all, fall short. For all of us, that is the bad news.

But, there is good news, if we will take it, if we will follow it. It is in Peter’s words for us in the Scripture verse above, “Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.” Love can make up for sin. Peter reminds us to love with a deep love because it makes the difference over sin.

Centuries later Wesley wrote our quote today and I think he is write. We can’t all think alike but can’t we love alike? Centuries after Wesley it seems like a good place for us to heal all that is wrong around us, not just in our politics but in so much that ails our society.

Have a Blessed Day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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