Loneliness

 

 

Loneliness…

 

 

Loneliness is never fun.

Today, I listened to a sermon about loneliness and how many verses in the Bible talk about loneliness. Job, King David, Jeremiah (a prophet), Jesus Himself, Paul (an apostle) all dealt with loneliness.

What I failed to realize is how prevalent loneliness has been throughout my entire life. Before I go any further, I want you to know, I am not writing to complain, but to hopefully encourage others who go through the same things I have.

When I was in kindergarten, I did not know how to play with other kids- and so I had no friends. Today, I understand my problems began before kindergarten, but that isn’t important right now.

I did try to fit in by acting like the other kids, but the only examples I was able to really follow were all the bullies who picked on me. Thus, when I tried to follow the example I saw, I got into trouble- but I never saw other kids get into trouble by doing the same things I did, so I began to see myself as a whipping boy.

So, here I am, 8 years old, not having any friends, figuring that I am the person everyone is supposed to pick on. And this was reinforced by parents of other kids, by my fifth and sixth grade teachers, and others.

Now, when I look back, I see how other kids in the 8th and 9th grades did try to help me, but I was so distrustful of everyone, that I could not see what they were trying to do. I had no reason to trust anyone because so many kids had picked on me and I couldn’t figure out how to fit in.

Anyway, let me fast forward here and skip over the other years.

My Sr. year of high school comes and I actually start forming friendships- as in, meeting with people outside of school. I also finally get a girlfriend (though, because of many bad experiences in the past in telling girls I liked them, I was afraid to even touch her because I didn’t want her mad at me). Needless to say, we never had sex.

Just before college started- and I was looking forward to finally getting drunk and having sex- I realized that getting drunk resulted in a bad headache and forgetting the fun you had the night before. So I no longer wanted to get drunk.

I also remembered all my health classes about the potential dangers of having sex (ie, unwanted pregnancy, STD’s, HIV and so forth).

When I got to college, I started going to church. I found myself drawn to the doctrinally sound, but functionally strange churches… My most recent church experience has also been one of the best.

Why this worked so well for me is because I could slip in-between the strange people. No one really cared too much about my idiosyncrasies. Now, I can’t give them too much credit because I was still too weird for most of them.

But I was finally accepted. And I was able to learn and grow. I watched other people and started to understand how to be more normal. I am still a strange guy, but I am working on it. I also have to admit, many people within many churches are judgmental, so if your church body is among the judgmental, SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR CHURCH. How often did Jesus NOT cast shame upon the outcasts? REPEATEDLY. Jesus ate with the outcasts. He forgave the sinners (think John chapter 8). Anyway, I digress…

Today, I am 35 years old and I have finally understood the fact that I have been alone for most of my life. Sure, I had family. Sure, I had my friends, but I was still mostly alone.

And I am NOT supposed to be alone. YOU are NOT supposed to be alone. Sure, sometimes being alone is a good thing. Due to being around people almost constantly, Jesus needed it so much He went to deserts early in the morning to find solitude! But for most of us, we have too much solitude.

We need to seek out friendship. Find people to be with. God created us to be with people. To spend time with friends. Call someone. Go to a coffeehouse and try to make friends. Or to a park.

If you are a person who has lots of friends, make a new one. If you see someone who looks lonely or sad, say hello to them. Maybe you won’t get their number today, but maybe meet with them every week. Let them know you really care about them. Try to develop a relationship with them.

If right now, you don’t have anyone, spend time with God. Find a Bible and read it. Start with one of the Gospels (Matthew Chapter 11, verses 28-30 is one of my favorites). Click below for a quick peek.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=11&t=NKJV#s=940028

Anyway, I hope that if you are lonely, that you start spending time with other people. And if you are not lonely, that maybe you can reach out to a lonely person.

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I hate myself

Disclaimer: I have a good point at the end, so even if you disagree with me, please read to the end before you judge me. Thank you!

For a long time, I hated gay people. And I had good reason to hate them as well- all of the openly gay people I knew had cheated me or tried to cheat me. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth towards them.

Then I realized that lots of straight people have cheated me as well. And then I realized I shouldn’t hate all gay people just because of a couple of bad people.

And I grew with this and worked on loving gay people.

Then, I started hating those people who don’t stop for pedestrians. And I got really mad. So mad, I wanted to organize people to force traffic to stop for pedestrians constantly.

And then I realized shouldn’t hate them either- where I live, they sincerely don’t understand anything other than what they are doing…

And then I hated Muslims. So many Muslims do bad things in the name of Allah (that is, the moon god of Muhammad’s tribal gods before he created Islam). And what is worse is how so many people say it is a peaceful religion. Even the leaders will preach in English about peace- and then in Arabic preach about going to war against unbelievers.

So I do have reason to hate Muslims, but the vast majority of Muslims are, in fact, peaceful people.

But what really got me is I started thinking about how many things I have hated. But what DON’T I hate??? I don’t hate it when I sin against God (well, not while I am sinning at least. Afterwards, I do). I don’t hate it when I live a life that is filled with self pleasure. I don’t hate it when I am a bad husband.

And so, I am embarking to try to hate doing those things which are bad for me to do and to love those things which are good for me to do.

And I also read from Matthew 5:44- love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. So, the violent Muslim is my enemy and I must love them. All 3 million of my enemies.

And what will you do? Will you hate the bad things you do or the bad things you see other people doing?

And for a brief treatise on Islam, I suggest the link below.

http://youngcons.com/this-is-easily-the-best-response-ever-to-the-muslims-are-moderate-and-portrayed-badly-argument/

 

 

All cultures are more similar than they are different.

All cultures are more similar than they are different.

 

Well, ok, this is based on very limited experiences- although very diverse experiences. I have spent time in Sweden around Russians, been to Poland and currently live in Asia.

Every place I have been, I see the same things. People want very similar things.

Let’s look at hospitality. In the USA, people ask you what you want to drink. And you respond according to what they have and what you want. It works. Where I live, no one asks you what you want to drink- they just give you something.

In both cases, the host wants the guest to feel comfortable. So, the host does what is culturally appropriate. Here, it is giving the drinks/ food. In the USA, it is asking “what do you want?”

Now, the way in which the cultures operate is quite different. But both cultures have the same goals- the same desired end result. So, if you ever leave the USA, remember, different cultures want the same things: their guests to be happy and comfortable. However, they do different things to achieve this result.

So if you ever have any questions, just ask what is culturally appropriate. I am certain they won’t mind you asking and will provide a juicy bit of conversation for at least a few minutes!

Before you go:

Just to show you the differences, I was eating dinner with my wife and two of her friends (she is native here). I asked them what they want to drink, they said “I’m ok”. So I got up and bought 5 different things to drink and then they each took one. You don’t ask what they want to drink, you just buy them something and they enjoy what you get them.

Also, when it comes to paying for something, you don’t tell them “I will pay”. Instead, you need to fight them. It is common to see people pushing money out of the way to pay for something. It is also funny. With my nephew (my wife is the youngest and we got married later in life than her siblings), he was driving us around and needed gas in the car. So, rather than let him pay, I pushed (yes, I literally pushed him back) and thrust money into the hands of the attendant.

I have, in fact, behaved like this on several occasions (although, that was the only time I have needed to push someone).

In the USA, you would never do that. You offer to pay for something and the other person most often accepts graciously. You would never tell someone that you are not thirsty when you are actually thirsty.

Gun Control

We hear so often in our daily life about all of the terrible shootings that occur. Now, each shooting is terrible and sad, however, I wonder about the effectiveness of gun control.

I wonder about the effectiveness of GC for the following reasons:

1) Very often, the guns are purchased legally.

2) A high number of people who have committed violent crimes with guns are on psychiatric medication.

3) If someone really wants to kill others, you don’t need guns to do so.

4) The Constitution states: “Well-regulated militia”.

Lets look at #1: Guns that are purchased legally will always be available to those who qualify. If you require tougher screenings before being allowed to purchase a gun, how do you know if the person who is qualified today will remain qualified tomorrow? It is very easy for someone who has no past of violent crimes or indications of evil desires to develop the desire to do bad things to people. As well, it is possible to hide such information.

#2: We see a large number of people who have been taking anti-depressants to be guilty of violent crimes with weapons. Looking at webmd.com, I saw most anti-depressants have the warning that individuals under the age of 25 are likely to have suicidal thoughts. I think most people can conclude that suicide and homicide are very similar in nature.

Recently, there was a shooting where the young man was still a virgin and blamed women for not satisfying his sexual desires. My viewpoint of this is that, rather than internalizing his problems and committing suicide, he externalized them, blamed others and decided other people needed to suffer for his lack.

#3: How many people have been killed by means other than guns this year? If you add them up, many times the number who have died by gunfire. In the city where I live, 25 people were murdered by knives in one night (in 2014). Lots of people die in SWIMMING POOLS every year. Bombs have been used to destroy buildings and take lives. So have airplanes. If we are going to fear guns in this manner, shouldn’t we fear airplanes, knives, trucks big enough to be bombs, and swimming pools?

#4: Ok, now we are getting to solutions. Rather than regulated from a Federal level, why not have each state require militia involvement. If a militia is in regular (as in weekly or maybe monthly) contact with its members, then the militia will be able to identify dangerous individuals. If each person talks about their families and how the family members are behaving, this will also help. Requiring militia involvement before a gun purchase would increase responsibility as well as not cause the NRA to fight further gun control (or so I presume).
Also, rather than being afraid of guns, why don’t we teach people how to defend against guns? We teach some how to save people from swimming pools, right? We have people who help keep bad people off of airplanes, right? Parents teach their children how to cut food safely, right?

So why can’t we teach people how to safely handle guns??? Teach them that dying is real. Teach them how to take guns away from people. Teach them the reality of living with guns.

If we can do this, we can prevent deaths by gun. We can unite as communities and defeat those who would use guns to kill others.