“It ain’t the parts of the Bible I can’t understand that bothers me, it’s the parts I can understand.” (Mark Twain)

I would never claim to be a Bible scholar. My personal beliefs, when it comes to faith in God, are based on equal parts upbringing and real world experience. In fact, I stopped attending church during college and shortly after because I thought I had it all figured out for myself. It wasn’t till I got to New York City that my uniquely personal theories got tested every day. The more I tried to do it my way, the harder my life became. It’s not that my life was a constant hell but the moments of enjoyment were fleeting. There was no substance to my life, it was just existence.

When I came back to Kansas City in 1978 to start a new business with my dad, the purpose of faith finally set in. I started listening to my dad again and practicing his lessons. My dad had been through a lot in his life and his faith had been tested many times, in more brutal ways than I could ever have imagined. He survived WWII, running a small business and raising me. He was a monument to tenacity and faith and all the things he taught me about honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, kindness and commitment to the common good actually worked just like he said they would. His life had purpose because he chose to be faithful and he wanted me to find the same purpose for my life. He never forced it on me but he was always there when I needed encouragement to get me through the hard times that everyone experiences.

Now, it’s forty years later and my dad has moved on to his heavenly reward. I’m on my own now and my life is challenged every day but the parts of the Bible I can understand are becoming ever clearer to me. My greatest realization is that good and evil are present in the world at all times because humans aren’t faithful by nature. Our most basic instinct is self-preservation, not goodness. Mankind has been easily deceived many times by leaders who claim to be doing God’s bidding when the reality is, nothing could be further from the truth. We are all God’s children and He would not wish harm to any creature on this planet. Having said that, I also believe He has given us free will and with that freedom comes the potential for inhumanity. He wants us to be happy and live full lives but he’s not going to stop us from being unhappy if we make horrible choices.

Today, I see a world filled with people making bad choices and selling their souls for fame and fortune. They inspire others not to greatness but to failure and  disappointment brought on by unfulfilled goals and little, if any, real humanity. This is free will at its worst. Some times free will means saying, “NO, I WON’T DO THAT” because it’s wrong and others will be hurt by my actions. Self-preservation starts with self-restraint not avarice. The Golden Rule is the essence of self-restraint and compassion for others. The world will only get worse unless we learn this critical lesson. We can’t have everything if it means someone else has nothing.

I can’t quote chapter and verse when it comes to the Bible but I know this much absolutely – peace, love and joy are present in every human heart but our potential for faith will never be realized until we stop being afraid to love one another as we love ourselves.

Thanks DAD!

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.





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2 Responses to “It ain’t the parts of the Bible I can’t understand that bothers me, it’s the parts I can understand.” (Mark Twain)

  1. timeinmyhand says:

    Hi Grhraph, I think I know the verse you are looking for. The sad thing is is that you can tell some one a very powerful secret and they will not listen to the first part. The teachers of the law asked Jesus what the was the most important commandment. He gave two answers: Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
    Loving God will help you do the second part more completely then anyone could do on their own. Many people only listen to the second part and forget that God is the perfect gift of love. They seek first to love themselves so they can understand how to love others. That leaves us with a world of people that are so lost in self love that they can’t see past their selfie stick.
    Thank you for the nice read!

    • grhgraph says:

      You’re exactly right. It is the first part that makes the second part possible. I wish I had emphasized that even more.Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment. You might like to read the post titled, “Integrity has no need of rules” for another take on this same message.

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