Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

On character...

We often forgive people of sins who agree with ourselves either politically or theologically; and especially those who are "important" in our eyes. A blatent example is Democrats forgiving Ted Kennedy for killing a young woman, with whom he was allegedly having an affair, while drunk driving. The only repercussion he has suffered is that he won't ever be president. Conservatives do the exact same thing, Chuck Colson, Richard Nixon, etc.

Josh and I, as those who associate with Christians of very diverse backgrounds, are often asked to support the ministries of our friends, acquaintences, and out right strangers. So, we need to make the determination on who we should support. We have a couple of requirements, namely that they preach the gospel and have a fruitful ministry. And we also ask that the people we support be people of character. Note that we didn't say that we have to agree with 100% theologically. It is more important to us that the people we support be people of character.

How do we determine this, especially of strangers or people we don't know well? We have a couple of tests that we do. First, how are we treated? Second, how do they treat their family? Third, how do they treat those who serve them in their ministry? Forth, how do they treat their converts?

Josh and I don't like to be treated like a bank. Now, I don't expect to be close friends with all of my missionaries, but I do expect a level of humanity. I have an acquaintence from college who only writes to me when she needs money for a mission. I don't particularly have a problem with that, in and of itself, but a "Hi, Liz, how are things going with you?" no matter how insincere, is nice and appreciated. Josh and I have some new friends, who we met through other missionaries we support, that we invited to our home and made dinner for. They were so nice and appreciative. And they asked about us. So, when the time came to make a financial committment, or lack of, we decided to support them. If I don't hear from them often, that's OK, because I know that they have a level of courtesy towards people.

Occasionally, we come across a ministry through church or elsewhere when we have no opportunity to interact on a personal level with the missionaries. In one instance, a missionary said, "Even if you can't give financially, there is a blank spot on the back of the envelope. Please write a note to my wife who is suffering from Huntington's disease. She likes notes of encouragement." Someone who is that interested in his wife's welfare is a good guy. So, Josh and I support that ministry when extra money comes along.

My mom was in the position to act in service to several missions and organizations that sold books as part of their income. And I distinctly remember one man, in particular, who treated my mom and her co-workers very poorly. Josh and I have found ourselves confronted with opportunites who give financial support to this man's ministry. And we won't. Sure, after about 15 years, he probably learned to treat people better, but I don't know that.

I have other stories of people who Josh and I either choose to or choose not to assist. We assist in the spreading of the gospel out of obedience to God. We choose ministries based on the obedience of others. To me, it is not enough that one proclaim the good news, one must behave like a Christian as well.

In politics and theology, do we ignore jerks who are our jerks, or do we ask that jerks reform? We have lost the ability to treat others with a touch of kindness and civility. We have no expectation of it of our leaders, how will our children learn?


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