Saturday, 23 February 2019

P Power of Positive Faith

We Were Made Different…and That is Beautiful!

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The older I am blessed to get, the more appreciative I am that God gave me an attitude of always being willing to learn something new. Over the years, I have watched with interest and sometimes with horror, how some embrace being open-minded, while others are so closed off and resistant to things that do not fit their paradigm that it is scary.

Honestly, I don’t think that we even attempt to guard against attitudes of resistance to change and self-righteousness enough. Either we don’t think about our programming or how that programming affects our lives or we just don’t care. Guess what? We should care.

Whether we face it or not, we have all been programmed from childhood to think a certain way and the more closed off we are from other peoples of the world, the less likely we are to even recognize that. Even more important, we remain in a bubble of what we believe to be right or wrong, when we look at whatever situation from the comfort of our own thrones.

I think of how I was raised. I was raised in a very “religious” environment. Don’t get me wrong, my grandparents loved God and they loved me. They would never have done anything intentionally wrong in raising me. They taught me about what they knew and I carried on that same way of thinking until I began reading and studying and living around other people. Especially when I was exposed to other people by living in their countries and cultures.

For example, recently I was at a Christian conference. I was raised not to drink, smoke, or cuss, you know, all of the “worldly” stuff. Of course, I was taught not to lie, steal or kill either. It was a given that you didn’t violate the Ten Commandments. However, at the conference I attended, there were all kinds of Christian business people. Later in the evening, my husband and I (who judges no one) were out to dinner at a British pub. Many of the folks from the conference began coming in. They were people from all cultures and were Christians, Chinese, Korean, British, American, Indian, just too many to mention. We were sitting across from a group and all of a sudden I saw beers at every single seat at that table. My mind automatically said, “man, they are Christians, why are they drinking that beer in public?” Ha! Something in my mind said, “Why not?” “Why should they hide what they clearly don’t see a problem in doing?” It made sense to me. You see let me state up front that I see no problem with Christians drinking wine, but I guess I had become conditioned to automatically judge those who do differently than me. At another function months ago, I was with people who were “Ministers” and began cussing! It hit me in the face like “Wow!” I was disgusted to say the least. My husband said to me, “that’s just who they are. They are not bad people.” This was the second time this happened to me in less than 6 months. Why? Maybe God was messing with my mind? Maybe He was challenging my way of thinking and judging others? Maybe He was pointing out to me that I had become “holier than thou.” When did that happen? When did I begin to judge others when the Bible clearly says that one should “work out his or her own salvation?” (Philippians 2: 12-13)

I begin to think about how we have created such divisions within our own safe places. I think we have begun to establish these rules that may affect our own salvation and projecting them onto someone who has no problem at all. Clearly, adultery is a violation of the Ten Commandments, but so is gossip, but we have placed more significance on one and ignored the other.

I know this will not be popular with many folks but let’s be careful to recognize that different cultures experience life differently than you or I may experience it. Let’s give each other a break and think the best rather than the worst. These are the things that will show people who Jesus is. These are the things that will draw people to God, not because we compromise the truth –Jesus is Lord- but because we refuse to judge others outside of the truth and to get caught up in things that push people away.

Now don’t get self-righteous with me; just take this for what it is worth.

There is beauty is the diversity God created and remember, everybody we meet will not see the world as we do. There isn’t anything wrong with that either!

Columnist: LaSharnda Beckwith

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Dr. LaSharnda Beckwith, PhD, MBAA, MA, BPS, is an Empowerment Advocate, personal life coach, motivational speaker & leadership expert. She knows that in order for anyone to experience success in their personal or professional lives, there must be a fundamental change in attitude. One cannot be or think negatively and expect positive results. In addition, she loves to interact where she can encourage, enable, empower and energize others.  She is a retired executive of more than 26 years with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. She retired as Vice President of Eastern Operations. She is currently a Professor in the School of Management at Texas Woman’s University. She is an author and talk show host. Her new book, When You're Happy With You focuses on helping others find value, build self confidence, self-esteem and confront issues that may be holding them back and is currently available online through Xulonpress.com/bookstore, Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.  Her radio talk show “Living Happy Every Day with Dr. LaSharnda” can be heard on www.LATalkradio.com, channel 1.

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