One of the hardest things to do sometimes is forgive. I am not talking about forgiving someone for a small infraction like cutting in front of you in line, or stealing your pen. I am talking about real forgiveness when even a judge and a jury says that you have a right to hold a grudge.
I was going to write this blog myself but Matthew West and Renee Napier did a far better job than I can.
April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the genocide of Christians—mostly Armenians but also Assyrians and Greeks—that took place under the Islamic Ottoman Empire, throughout World War I. Then, in an attempt to wipe out as many Christians as possible, the Turks massacred approximately 1.5 million Armenians, 300,000 Assyrians, and 750,000 Greeks. Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide: More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse. A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey”] lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century. At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….
And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
King James Version (KJV)
Have you ever had people try to get you to quit following Jesus, or tell you that you are too Christian? I have. I have even been told that I read the Bible too much while I was in Church, by of all people a preacher! As much as that situation hurt and confused me as a new Christian, I can’t imagine how much it hurt to be told to shut up when I was begging for my eyesight like these men were. These men, regardless of what the crowd was telling them kept calling out to Jesus, and their deepest prayer was answered.
Don’t let anyone stop you from calling out to Jesus. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what Jesus clearly wants you to do!
And if your preacher tells you to quit reading the Bible so much, get out now and find one that encourages Bible reading!
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
I have a long time friend who is not a Christian. On a couple of occasions, he brought up laws from the Jewish Testament that he thought were silly. Laws like the one in
Leviticus 19:27 (KJV)
Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
The then known world at the time had the custom of sacrificing part of their beard to their ancestors and other idols as a mark of worship. I don’t think that God was really concerned about beard trimming. His focus was on keeping his people from idol worship, and even the appearance of idol worship. A full beard was a tell-tale mark of a person who worshiped the God of the Bible or at least did not worship idols.
Since few if any people still use the hair in their beards in idol worship anymore the command no longer applies, but the principle to stay away from idol worship does apply, in much the same way we were once not allowed to cross the street, but now we are encouraged to do so in appropriate situations.
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