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.
©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.