You should never, ever accuse someone of something you know nothing about, and that hasn’t been verified by at least two trustworthy eyewitnesses. Absolutely never. A false rumor can get back around to the accused and damage them for life. People will believe something that sounds awful before they will believe something that sounds beautiful.
We are all real people with real feelings. Social media makes us forget that. It’s not here to give us a platform to belittle each other. Bullying isn’t just something that goes on with children. It happens in the adult world, and most of the time we deny it, and even worse, try to use the Scripture to justify it. Yuck.
We have to make a conscious effort to be kind in everything we *type* not just everything we say. I’ve failed at this before, and have to remind myself of this often. It’s easy to get caught up in some kind of hype or mob rule or bandwagon, but it’s not of Yahweh. Thankfully we can ask Yahweh to forgive us, repent, and do better.
Kindness is always best. Yeshua was a kind, gentle man. Yes, I know, I know... he got upset sometimes. People want to always bring up the one isolated time he did the whip thing in the temple. When Yeshua got upset, it was with religious people. He saved His strongest rebukes for those who appeared to be righteous, but were using their positions to lord over others. In all other cases, He exhibited gentleness.
There is time for rebuke. There is time for chastisement. But for goodness sakes, let’s be slower to judgement and faster to mercy. A righteous person is harder on their self and easier on others. A self righteous person is easier on their self and harder on others.
Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, not harshness. Rudeness and sarcasm didn’t make the list either. Those born of the Spirit have love and joy and patience. Those operating under the flesh do not.
It’s so important. We can be right and still be a jerk. Yahweh isn’t looking for who will be a jerk for Him. He loves quietness, and slowness to wrath. After all, He is slow to anger Himself.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about a great Elder in the faith: Orlando Smith.
Brother Orlando was the first man to teach me about the tassels (Numbers 15:37-41), back in 1998. I was sitting in my in-law’s living room, and he had these strings hanging from his clothes. I didn’t know what they were. I asked. He explained. I tied my first set that night. Me and my father-in-law even wrote a song together about the ribband of blue. I still sing it today.
Orlando was a dedicated man of YHWH. He was quiet. He talked slowly. He was old when I met him. He studied a lot. He would sit in the living room there and study all day long. Sometimes he’d nod off, then he’d wake up and start studying again.
Orlando had calloused knees from kneeling down often to pray. He would always get on his knees to pray. He said it was a way to humble ourselves before the Almighty.
He had two silver trumpets that he would blow at the same time. A Tennessee newspaper once took a picture of him on top of his house, blowing both trumpets. The county was trying to get him to move some trucks out of his yard that had been there “forever.” He didn’t believe he needed to. He was blowing the trumpets in defiance of local government persecution, lol. Orlando meant business.
Orlando wore a hat all the time, but with the bill cut off. Most of the time his hat would have the Sacred Name on it, in Aramaic or Paleo script. Once though it was a Philadelphia Eagles hat. I never asked him why. It’s possible he didn’t even know that was a football team. He mightta’ thought it stood for the scripture about eagles wings.
Orlando wore an untrimmed beard, solid white. He also didn’t trim the hair on the temples of his head. That’s how he understood Leviticus 19:27. One time I saw him walk in the house and his beard was crooked. I said, “Brother Orlando! Your beard!” He responded that he had gotten a new shirt with the Tetragrammaton on it. With his long, untrimmed beard you couldn’t see the writing. He had trimmed his beard so people could see the Name on his shirt. He trimmed it crooked. 😃
I was at a Feast of Tabernacles up in Pennsylvania about 15 years ago, and brother Orlando was there. They had a huge congregational sukkah; the biggest I’ve ever seen. One night it started to rain. I said, “Brother Orlando, we’re going to go inside or get in the van. C’mon with us.” He said he’d be fine. He reached down in his sleeping bag, pulled out a plastic sheet, and pulled it over his head. I watched him lay there under that sukkah with the rain drops hitting him right in his face on the plastic.
Orlando told me that when he prayed, he always asked Yahweh to enlarge the borders of his heart, so that all the commandments could fit there. He didn’t want to neglect anything in Torah. I believe he was a man after Yahweh’s own heart.
Brother Orlando died somewhere in his 80’s. I wasn’t there. I didn’t attend his funeral. I don’t even know if he had a funeral. I don’t think he would care either way. He wasn’t well known on this planet, and he never tried to make a name for himself. His reward will be great in the Kingdom. He’s in the book of remembrance, because he feared Yahweh, and had a high regard for His name. He will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
Rest in peace wise Elder. You made a huge impact on me. I still think about you most every day.
There is a strong pull in our day to conform to some kind of cultural ideology; to get on board one kind of ship or another, and then bad-mouth anyone not on your ship.
The problem is this: all of the ships sailing around aren't good vessels. They may have a stripe of something good here and there, but they all lack, because they aren't built by the right manufacturer - and they sure ain't captained by the right people.
In order to judge right from wrong, you've got to have a standard, else you're just spouting your opinion. You can't just decide capital punishment is wrong or right by yourself. You can't just say we have to go to war with that nation or this nation, or that we need or don't need the government's help in schooling our children. People go round and round about matters as these, and you hear one opinion after another. One "solution" after another.
In order to make a decision about your marriage, or family, or job, or whatever... you've got to have some kind of blueprint to go by. Some say that blueprint is what you feel is best, but then comes along another person with a "what-they-feel-is-best" blueprint, that doesn't match yours.
Some people think the Democratic Party is the blueprint. Others think it's the GOP. Then you've got the Libertarians poking fun at both of them, while trying to build an industrial hemp plant.
The reason there is so much bickering is because most folks have somehow made the decision to NOT allow the Creator to make all the decisions. They've decided what He says might be alright sometimes, but when they run across something He says that they don't like, they run back to some other level (or un-level) measurement.
The other day my wife was showing me some amendments that people could vote on here in Georgia (our home state). As I read through each one of them, the only thing that crossed my mind is: what does the Creator say in His law? I've trained my mind to think like that. It's taken a while, but it helps to be a creature with a heart that's being written on by the Almighty Himself. He's helped me get to where I am today. I think like He thinks, because He has made me think like He thinks.
There was one amendment that was about alcohol sales on Sunday (before noon I think I was). I remember when you weren't able to buy alcohol on Sunday, and I get where that comes from here in the southern "Bible belt." But... the Creator doesn't say anything in His law about buying a 6-pack on Sunday. He doesn't forbid it, so that was an easy one for me to vote on. Plus I like to drink, so there's that. (In moderation of course... for all you people who think drinking means getting drunk.)
My point is that I have a standard, and that standard is the law of Yahweh, the Creator, and the author of the Torah, His instructions and guidance for humanity. I'm pro capital punishment, because He is. I'm anti-homosexual practice because He is. I'm pro helping widows and orphans and foreigners because He is. I really couldn't care less about what anyone else says. All other arguments are mute to me. You might as well talk to a telephone poll if you are trying to get me to okay something that He forbids, or to forbid something that He allows. I'm not listening. I'm closed minded.
It makes life easier to have such a standard. I'd argue that it's the only standard in the universe, but regardless... I have one. It's not me. It's not my feelings. It's not a political party. It's not a denomination. It's the holy law of the Creator of all things. He created us, so I let Him call the shots. I go by what He says.
What's your standard? What do you judge everything by? Why do you think the way you do? What makes something a sin to you? Why do you allow some practices and forbid others?
Everyone judges by something. I'd suggest making that something Yahweh's Law, else you'll always end up changing with the whims of the culture.
My children don't play organized sports much anymore, but they did a lot when they were smaller. I was big into sports as a kid. I loved basketball, and have so many fond memories of my coach and teammates. High school ball is a highlight of my life.
I do think sports can become an idol (like many things). A person can put a sporting activity or event above service to Yahweh. That's dangerous. When a parent is constantly on their child to do better and practice more, the child feels overwhelmed and pressured. The parent has then idolized the sport to the point that it takes over their own life and their child's life. Life becomes about how good the child is at basketball, or football, or softball. That's not a healthy way to live.
I think that an organized sport can be good for a child, if it's kept in its proper place. The child learns respect and how to work with a team. They learn about ups and downs. They learn discipline. These are good things.
I would always tell my children that there were 3 rules to a sport. Yes, I'm about to get spiritual here, so hold on to your hat. I think everything we do should be filtered through Holy Scripture. If you don't see things that way, you might want to stop reading here.
Rule 1: Put Yahweh First
I didn't let my children play a scheduled game if it was on the weekly Sabbath. I was teaching them priorities. When Yahweh's holy time came around, His time came first. His time was prioritized over our time and recreation. I was trying to instill in my children that Yahweh is number 1, not number 2. No matter how important a game was, Yahweh took precedent.
This wasn't always easy. I specifically remember one game my two oldest sons missed. It was an important tournament game, and my sons played first base and short stop. I almost gave in, because I didn't want to hurt the team. But I had to stick with what I had been teaching them. Yahweh comes first.
(I haven't been perfect in this area. Sometimes activities have arisen, and I've allowed my children to do them on the Sabbath. Some of this, I'm okay with. Others, I kick myself for putting Yahweh on the back burner. It's a learning process when you have children.)
Rule 2: Be like the Messiah
This is a rule that goes against the main tenant in organized sports. I taught my children that it didn't matter who won the game.
Now you've got to realize something: I'm a very competitive man. I like to win. I like to be first in everything, and I do think it's okay to try to win, but ultimately it is just a game. I have to remind myself of this when I watch the Atlanta Falcons play, because I'm a huge fan. My wife has "helped" me for years: "Matthew... remember it's just a game. It makes no real difference honey." I shake my head and mumble. (She's right you know.)
I would tell my children to be kind to everyone on the field. I'd tell them to tell the players on the opposing team "good play" when they made a hit, or caught a fly ball. I would tell my kids that when they lost, the other team had the chance to have that good feeling of winning, so they should be glad for the other team. No matter how bad you felt because you lost, rejoice because your friends got to win one.
I know that's not easy, but I didn't want my children making their life all about winning, because that's a big, fat lie. In life, there are so many losses; so many heartaches; so many disappointments. You don't always come out on top. I wanted to prepare them for that, and let them know that they are still great people even when they lose. It's no big deal, especially when it's just a ballgame.
Rule 3: Have Fun
I'd always end by telling my children to have a good time. Laugh, high five, encourage everyone, and be an example of fun. Sports are fun, if you approach them rightly, but you can't let a game steal your joy. You can't let a missed ball or a strike out make you bitter for the whole game. You've got to go into it with a mindset that you are there to enjoy some recreation with your friends.
I'd encourage any Christian parent to re-evaluate their priorities if their child is active in sports. It can be a good thing, but don't turn it into the main thing. Don't neglect the Creator who gives people their talent and ability in the first place. ✌🏼
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.