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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

World History for Dummies



A self-described "...
keen follower and an avid reader of World History" posted this claim. He said that if Columbus hadn't discovered America and the Europeans had never come there'd be no United States and therefore the following amazing things would have happened (he even includes "links" to prove his point:

We would have more of:

  1. Oil because US tops the list of Oil consumers of the world.Top Oil Consumers 
  2. More electricity because US is the 2nd largest consumer of electricity. Electricity - consumption - Country Comparison - TOP 10 
  3. Hopefully more money because FRS (that's the Federal Reserve System for you non-conspiracy theorists) wouldn't exist.
..and less of
  1. Wars .. don't ask me why. 
  2. Obesity because 32% of general american population is obese. 
  3. Weapons of mass destruction. Countries with the biggest nuclear weapon stockpiles 
  4. Oh, and Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have have never happened and generations of victims wouldn't have been suffering.
He's kidding right?

This simple soul (we'll call him Vishal Gorgia) pretty much figured out from his keen following of world history that history and economics is a zero sum game? If one bunch of folks have more, they must have taken it from someone else.  Let's look at his points

  1. We'd have more oil because the US wouldn’t be using it? Really? Well if you follow actual history instead of that stuff you got in Marxism 101, you'd realize that the US wouldn’t be drilling and refining oil either, so actually - less oil. It would be safely stored underground and we'd still be exploiting horses, mules and camels as beasts of burden and with the crappy transportation system, lots more people would be starving and poor.
  2. There would be more electricity for everyone? So, Vishal, without the United States, all those power plants that generate all the electricity we have today, would have what? Magically popped up out of the ground and started generating electricity. Then the magic transportation fairies would ship free buckets of electricity to the third world in their little wooden boats? 
  3. We'd have more money?  How exactly? Would the magic money fairy have kept printing it up and sending it to where exactly? I guess the magic transportation fairies could have bundled it up and shipped it along with those buckets of electricity in their little wooden boats to all the poor people of the world for free instead of hoarding it up the magical Federal Reserve caves like we do now.
So we then would, without a United States we would have less of the following:

  1. Fewer wars? Don't ask him why, Vishal says. He just knows since, as we all know, the United States starts most wars for no reason at all.  And by default the peaceful natives of the Americas (or whatever they wound up calling it), would live peaceful lives, sitting around campfires and eating Vegan burgers and smoking peace pipes full of pot. Even a cursory study of history should have given Mr. Gorgia a little actual history. The peaceful fantasy Native Americans he imagines were, in fact, professional warriors. Why else did all the men call themselves "warriors". It's not because they were community organizers. These warriors were busily murdering each in vast numbers vast numbers long before Columbus showed up. So, fewer wars? Probabaly not.
  2. No obesity? Hey, Vishal, you did finally get Michelle Obama's hobby horse into the discussion.  And you’re probably right. The native Americans would likely have been much thinner. Famine and slow starvation will do that for you and there was a lot of that in Meso-America and on the plains, mountains, and in the forests of North America.
  3. And no weapons of mass destruction? Okay, maybe there would not have been nukes (unless some arms dealer shipped them over from Nazi Germany). As to mass destruction, it's unlikely the New World would have been safe from that. They already had a good start on mass destruction techniques before Columbus got here. Next time you run down to Mexico take a look at the Aztec pyramids around Mexico City. They have channels cut in them just to carry off all the blood from their highly efficient human sacrificial system. It’s estimated that 250,000 people were sacrificed on the Aztec altars in just one year on the altars in Tenochtitlan. The Incas weren't much less bloodthirsty. They killed one in five of their children by abandoning them on cold mountainsides, tossing them into holes or burying them as sacrifices to their gods. And the Mayans, the calendar guys, made bloody human sacrifice and cannibalism into a religious art form. 
  4. And Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never have happened? Instead, invading armies would have fought long and bloody wars, destroying innocent civilians and their goods and property, raping, pillaging and committing genocide without fear since no one could put a stop to it. The world would have belonged to the thug with the most soldiers and weapons and war would have been even more hideous a thing. Actually, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, all out war has become an unthinkable thing, leading to the most peaceful half century in human history (unless you lived in a communist country where they starved, executed, tortured and imprisoned you if you argued with the dear leaders).
Obviously, Vishal thinks the USA is the fount of all things bad in the world. I don’t know what history you are reading, but I suspect it should be relegated to the fiction section of the library. The United States is pretty much the only powerful nation in history that didn't use it's power for empire building. Instead we rescued Europe from tyrants twice. We protected South Korea from a brutal North Korean invasion. We tried to do the same in Vietnam, but the thing was run by Democrats, so that got botched. We rescued Grenada from Cuban invasion, Panama from a corrupt dictator, Kuwait from invasion by Iraq, and pretty much everybody from an insane dictator who wanted to find a way to blow Israel off the map if he could and reestablish the Babylonian empire. We also went after the people who attacked us on 9/11.

And the United States didn't build an empire though we had the power to do so. We didn't keep Kuwait after we liberated it. We didn't keep Iraq after we defeated them. We left the Koreans and even the Vietnamese with their own government. We took the Philippines from Spain and then we liberated them again from the Japanese and gave them their independence. Even when we annexed the American Southwest, we paid Mexico for the privilege. We're still paying reparations to the Native Americans in the USA. There is hardly an appropriations bill that goes out that doesn't have millions earmarked for the tribes. And some of those wars were started by Native Americans so there is blame on both sides. The territories we gained in stray wars throughout our history have all chosen to stay with us. Some we'd like to get rid of but they won't go. We could have a world empire by now and exploit the heck out of them. Instead we let them rule themselves and send them billions in aid.

We've been the most peaceful powerful nation in world history (you know Vashal, that stuff you so keenly follow). We have stopped a lot of bullies from conquering and killing their neighbors. Some of them were as evil as the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. Had the Meso-Americans had better killing equipment, they might have done as well as the Nazis. They certainly tried.

I think Vishal needs to go back and read some more history. He should probably read something outside of the fantasy section, though.

© by Tom King

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Mothers and Daughters Forever?



My Facebook buds post stuff like this (above) all the time. And there's a kind of truth to it, but they leave out the tough bits. A daughter is always her daddy's little princess (unless he's some kind of psychopath or a complete jerk). Her relationship with her mom is always somewhat problematic. Beginning sometime around puberty, mothers and daughters find themselves at cross-purposes. It's biological. God put this "I have to get out of here" gene into all children so that a kind of madness descends in adolescence that drives them out of your house before they realize what a swell deal they've got going and wind up at 45 living in your basement and expecting you to do their laundry.

The first corrective measure God ever took with mankind was to throw them out of the Garden of Eden and to give them homework.

"Go forth, be fruitful and multiply!" God said as He gave them the bum's rush out of the Garden.
Remember too, God was unhappy with us when He said it. 


It works much like that with our own children. God wanted us to have kids so we'd understand in a very real way, what He experienced in trying to raise us to be decent, hardworking, kindly people. God wanted us to experience rebellion, ingratitude and distrust as manifest in our own offspring.

The above meme represents a condition that exists beyond a certain point in the mother/daughter relationship. It only happens after your daughter gets over being mad at her Mom for all the supposed motherly atrocities mom committed during her adolescence. Things like making them tell the parents where they are at, where they are going to be and when they are coming home. Horrors of that sort. In adolescence, the youngsters feel this terrible constriction when their parents demonstrate their love for them by demanding they not do things that are dangerous, self-destructive or generally bad for them

There is a strange transformation of the mother-daughter relationship that occurs during a daughter's twenties or thirties. It usually happens at about 2 am some morning after she's had a couple of kids of her own. The daughter-now-mother-herself is sitting up all night with one of her babies that is sick. It may happen the day she drops that first one off at school for the first time and cries about the loss of her "baby" all the way home. It can happen in Walmart when the two year old demands candy in the checkout line and when Mom says "no", the precious child screams "NO" right back in her face and the throws himself down on the floor and has a right old tantrum there in front of the cashier, the manager and 40 or 50 Walmart customers.

It is during or shortly after one of those magic moments, when the daughter is unburdening herself to her mother, that Mom magically becomes her daughter's hero. And it's usually around about this time that Mom offers to take the grandbabies off her hands so she can have  "a couple of hours to herself" and seals the deal.

God, it turns out, is a terrific educator
. We just have to get the kids to do their homework is all.

© 2017 by Tom King


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Broken Record....

Shoes left behind at Auschwitz.
Humans want so badly to believe that we are basically good and perfectible if we just have the right laws, the right leaders and the right government. The fallacy of this was clearly demonstrated in the Old Testament. God meant it as a history lesson. The Children of Israel were given a promised land flowing with milk and honey, located right on all the best trade routes to insure prosperity. They were given perfect laws to govern their behavior. Had everyone obeyed those laws Israel would have been as close to Utopia as could be had. They asked God for stronger and stronger, more perfect leaders and a stronger centralized government like their neighbors had. God finally relented and gave them what they asked for. And the people waited for their nation to become strong and peaceful and perfect as it surely must under such a perfect system.

But God had warned them about kings and governments. He warned them that the king would take their sons for soldiers, their daughters for his wives and their earnings for his great palaces and his wars. Eventually, the Children of Israel sank so low that they killed the very Son of God.

But we want so badly to seize the power for ourselves as Satan promised Eve when he told her she would be like a god. So we ignore any evidence that we aren't going to be able to do the same thing we've tried over and over through thousands of years of human history. We avert our eyes from injustice or blame it on someone else. We forget the lessons of Auschwitz, the Soviet Gulags, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, the millions of peasants starved to death in the Ukraine and China, the slaughter in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Chad, the Sudan, Somalia, Cuba and the Japanese Army's Unit 731. We keep repeating to ourselves, "We can be like gods." and we keep becoming devils instead. Instead of leading us to a Paradise on Earth, those who promise us human perfection through law, government and dear leaders keep giving us gulags, death camps and wholesale slaughter.




More horrors are coming again. I can smell the copper scent of blood as black-masked thugs beat up people to silence their opinions and to prevent them from hearing other voices than their own. I can hear it echoing through riot-torn streets. I can taste the bitter gun smoke in the aftermath of another mass shooting. Fresh horrors are coming but I am not afraid, for even if the liars and the thugs and the great men (ah, but I repeat myself); if the premiers, potentates and dear leaders do score a victory, it will be a hollow one, for they will soon receive oblivion as their reward. The Children of the Living God cannot lose no matter what the outcome of the war might be. That makes us mighty.

This makes it possible for me to smile, even as the clouds roll over our heads and the lightning barks its angry warning.

© 2017 by Tom King


 

Thursday, September 07, 2017

I Hate Digital Tyranny


YOU HEARD ME GOOGLE



So apparently Youtube has joined forces with Google and Microsoft in a plot to make videos unwatchable from my beloved Firefox Browser. In the past week, Youtube went from requiring extra clicks to watch its videos to simply refusing to play videos at all unless I switched to Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. This does not make me love either Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge and it carves one more negative notch on my list o' gripes I have with Windows 10. I don't like either Chrome or Edge's interface - especially Chrome. Apparently the uber-geek coders at Microsoft and Google believe that we all want to learn a new browser interface every year or so, just because we are bored and have nothing else to do. At this point they totally ignore the druthers of anyone over 55 years of age.

While Windows 10 has some nice features, they also like to confuse you by hiding things you need in new less obvious places. And now a whole bunch of my tried and true software doesn't work anymore and they want me to buy or rent new software with money they want and which I do not have lying around to donate to Mr. Gates or the antifa thugs at Google. This is why Apple, despite being a socialist dictatorship of a computer system, keeps drawing adherents. People buy Apple stuff in the faint hope that they won't have to learn a new interface every year. There is a kind of pathetic hope that Apple will at least be consistent.

Don't bet on it people. Geeks is geeks and they have no clue how normal people work. Check out Scott Adams' Dilbert comic strip for a peek inside the disordered brains of software designers. It's all true. I'm just surprised Google hasn't developed an app that drinks your coffee for you.

It's not Artificial Intelligence that's going to kill us all. It's Artificial Ignorance that'll do it. One day someone's going to find some deeply buried Easter Egg in some updated version of Microsoft Office 22, and quite by accident, when the robot voice asks, "Do you want to play global thermonuclear war?" the dimbulb who found this "special" feature of Office 22 (and who never saw the movie War Games) will say, "Yes."

Of course, by then, all he'll have to do is nod his head and the software will pick it up on his webcam, send nuclear launch codes to Cheyenne Mountain, and launch an all out attack on someplace like Terlingua cause the programmer hates chili or on Salt Lake City because he was once frightened by a Mormon missionary.

Our lives hang by such a thin thread.

© by Tom King

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

What Love Is Not


Love is not, in and of itself, immortal, nor is it some self-existent feeling, that lodges inside you; that is something you either "have," as in, "I have love for you," or that you do not have, as in "You've lost that lovin' feelin'." Love is something you create through committing relentless acts of love. It is not something you can suddenly acquire, like a headache, a cold or a new pair of shoes. That sort of acquired love is more like the song that goes, "I've got the hots for you!"  That is not love at all.

Love is something you create. Love is the greatest of the action verbs. To be shure there are feelings that come when you commit acts of love, but those feelings are an artifact of the act of love and not the thing itself.

Feelings of love help us know when we are doing acts of love. They remind us of our determination long ago that we shall love, honor, and cherish another until death forces us to stop loving, if only till we one day, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" take up immortality and resume what turns out to have been an eternal love after all.

© 2017 by Tom King

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Government Will Save Me!



On Rescuing Democrats in a Hurricane

Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey are not out of the woods yet, but Texans are coping.
We are a sturdy, stubborn and innovative people.  I saw a picture this morning of a half-submerged house where the family had staked out camping tents on the roof and had food and water and camp cooking stuff up there with them waiting out the flood waters. THAT is how Texans behave in a crisis.

I remember stories from Hurricane Katrina of volunteer first responders with boats being turned back by New Orleans police because the mayor had ordered that only government agencies be allowed into the hurricane ravaged city.
As a result people sat on their houses for days waiting for the Feds to arrive. Apparently the (also a Democrat) mayor of Houston refused to evacuate. Lets hope HE knows enough to let friends and neighbors lend a hand. (Note*** Apparently he does - see below). As it is, Texans still have managed to hold down the loss of life from Harvey to single digits so far while Katrina claimed more than 1800 lives. They never were actually able to count all the dead.

There's an old story I just made up about a Democrat whose home was flooded during Hurricane Rita. He was sitting on his roof watching the waters rise and suddenly got religion. "God," he prayed eying the rising water. "Send the government to save me!"

A while later the water was over his front porch and a neighbor floated by in a big yellow raft. "Come on," he cried out to the Democrat. "I'll get you out of here."

"No," the Democrat cried. "I'm waiting for FEMA. They'll have a trailer I can stay in and it’ll have a television." The neighbor shrugged and paddled on.

An hour later the water was halfway up the windows of his house. The head deacon from the church down the street came by in a canoe and offered to take him to safety.  "No!" the Democrat shouted back. "I'm waiting for the Coast Guard to come. They'll have warm blankets and hot food on board for me."  The deacon paddled off.

An hour later the water was at the eaves of the roof and he was getting nervous.  A couple of fishermen in a bass boat came chugging down the street and pulled up to his roof. “Get in, the water’s rising fast,” they urged.

”No, that’s okay,” the Democrat shook his head. “The National Guard will soon come and rescue me and take me to an evacuation shelter where there will be beds and food.” He waved them off.

An hour later he’s sitting on his chimney completely surrounded by water which is over his roof. He’s seen an alligator from the nearby bayou swim by a couple of times.  “He hears the thump thump thump of a helicopter overhead. It pauses directly above him and suddenly a sling drops down beside him.

”Put your arms in the sling and we’ll pull you up,” a voice shouts through a bullhorn.  The Democrat looks up and realizes the helicopter is from one of Exxon’s Gulf oil rigs. By this time he's losing faith in the government to come and rescue him, but he sticks to his ideological guns.

”No!” he shouts back. “I can’t trust you people. You’re destroying the environment. I hear that the Sierra Club will be sending helicopters to rescue people. This disaster is caused by global warming. They should be the ones to rescue me not the ones who caused it.” And he refused to climb into the sling. The helicopter pulled up the sling and flew off to rescue others.

The water rose and eventually washed the Democrat and his house away. The sheriff’s department found the Democrat floating face down in the swamps along the coast once the waters receded. Next thing the Democrat knows he’s standing before the judgment seat before the Pearly Gates, his clothes all soggy and covered with mud. 

“What happened?” he demanded of the recording angel at the desk when he got to the front of the line.  “I asked for help from you people,” the Democrat complained. “Isn’t that your job to save people. I think you guys are seriously falling down on your responsibilities. I want to file a complaint.”

“A complaint?” the angel asked incredulously. “We sent you a raft, a canoe, a bass boat and a helicopter. What more did you want?  Then the Democrat disappears in a puff of smoke.”

”Next,” says the angel.


© 2017 by Tom King

* No actual Democrats were harmed in the making of this story. Perhaps a few got their knickers in a twist but given some of the nasty things they’ve said about me and the president lately, I consider this little story a very mild response - especially to the Hitler references. That was really tacky. You should all be ashamed.

** To my friends who think this story is in poor taste, I'd like to remind you of how tasteless the treatment of President Bush was in the wake of the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans - a situation that was not his fault and was aggravated by a Mayor (D) who kept out aid while he threw a tantrum and tried to bury the evidence of his years of embezzlement before he was tried and convicted and sent to the posh prison where they keep Louisiana's (D) governors and judges and miscellaneous politicians who get caught with their hands in the till.  
*** I'm so proud of the way Texans handled this. What happened in Katrina is NOT happening in Texas. Everybody is working together to rescue everyone else. Even Houston's mayor who I earlier criticized for not evacuating made his case and I now agree with his decision. Along the Texas coast we are not Democrats and Republicans, we are not liberals and conservatives. We are not Hispanic, black, white or Asian. We are TEXANS and I couldn't be prouder of my state and how they responded to this crisis.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Bipolar - Just Get a Little Self-Control


I posted something about bipolar the other day and was shocked to get back two of those "it's not real, they just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get a little self-control responses. God help the people who said that. It's like telling someone with cancer to just grit their teeth and stop having cancer.

That attitude, all too common in the Christian community is just so entirely wrong that I can't find words to express how appalled I am at that attitude. I've worked for 40 years with people with mental illness and other disabilities. I have two immediate family members with bipolar disorder. 

And I'm here to tell you that bipolar is a physical disability. It affects the mind, but it has physical causes. Imagine, if you will that you lost control of your emotions. One minute you are depressed, another you are angry and another you are exhilarated and it has absolutely no relation to what's going on around you, other than that stress can trigger the onset of a new fresh emotional hell. Your mind searches for a reason for your anger, depression or exhilaration. The emotions are entirely a response to chemicals in your physical brain. 

The brain of a person with bipolar or schizophrenia or Asperger's for that matter, inexplicably shoots out neuro-transmitters that trigger often violent emotion, delusions or voices in your head if you're schizophrenic and YOU HAVE LITTLE OR NO CONTROL OVER IT.
I have a child in prison because he felt "better" on his meds so he decided to stop taking them and then confessed to a crime he didn't commit because he thought he could save a child by manipulating the legal system and in his deluded state thought he could get away with it. My wife deals with the side effects of medications she has to take to keep from experiencing wildly fluctuating emotions that confuse her mind and impair her judgment.

Carrie Fisher made her struggle with
bipolar very public hoping to help
others escape the stigma of mental illness..
Just because you cannot see a wound or find a tumor on x-rays doesn't mean there's not something wrong. To say that people with bipolar should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps is simply ignorant. Humans do not possess a disconnected "soul". The soul resides in the organic machine that is the brain. When God made man he first made a body from the clay and then breathed life into it. Only then did man become a "living soul". If the machine is messed up, the soul is in trouble. That Psalmist said, "He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust."*

Most people with mental illness no longer have any bootstraps to pull themselves up with.
Some mental conditions CAN be treated with behavior change, abstinence from drugs or alcohol or talking therapy in the same way we can fix a computer by reinstalling the software or moving the magnet away from our hard drive. Medication is a crapshoot at best because what's going wrong in the brain varies from person to person and there are no X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs or PET Scans that can detect anything other than secondary level effects.  

For instance, with kids who have true Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (and there are other disease including bipolar which mimic ADHD), a PET scan reveals lowered levels of glucose in the attention centers of the forebrain.
They don't know what causes this and the only treatment they have for it is to administer stimulants which logically should make it worse. It doesn't. Stimulants like Ritalin and Cylert re-energize the brains attention centers and help the person with ADHD to focus and from there to "have a little self-control".

Self-control, talking therapy and "good discipline" only work if the underlying hardware (the human brain) is functioning properly. It's like trying to install new software on a damaged computer. If the organic hardware that is the brain is not working properly, often the best you can do is try medication, therapy and other work-arounds to achieve the best quality of life possible under the circumstances. It's unlikely, however, that you're going to fix it. You can slap a patch on your leaky lifeboat while you are at sea, but don't expect it to be able to take a lot of pounding from the sea.

Even medications are not all that accurate in treating specific conditions because we cannot see inside the living brain to find out what bit of it is not working and we do not have the ability to fix the delicate mechanisms of the brain.
The best we can do is cut out tumors, but there aren't any surgeries available to "fix" bipolar. You can only diagnose it by its symptoms. It's kind of like trying to fix your car's engine without opening the hood or taking the engine apart. 

Other attempts to mechanically cure mental illness through surgical means have resulted in some horrific solutions like lobotomies and electro-shock.
These do violence to the mind. It's like using a hand grenade to clean out your closet. Such radical solutions may make the person more compliant or less violent, but the mind is irrevocably altered in the process.

With bipolar and other mental illness with a brain defect of some sort as the cause, all you can do is try different medications until you find one or a combination of meds that give the person some relief. 
For example, if your computer has a defect on the motherboard, the software won't work properly however much you want it to. If you have a defect in the brain, no amount of gritting your teeth or efforts at "self-control" will work effectively to make it go away. The best we can do is create some sort of chemical workaround or some intense therapy that works around the problem. The defect doesn't go away, though. It remains there lurking in the background for the rest of a person's life. It's why addicts say they are never cured. They're only "in recovery". Addiction, however it's caused, makes physical changes to the brain that you will have to deal with the rest of your life. The brain is too complex for mere humans to dig around in it to fix the problems. The best you can do is to try to control the neuro-chemicals through medication and fix the damage through therapy. It's tough to do.

There's a reason Robin Williams played mentally ill people so well....
The landscape of mental illness was all too familiar to him.
The #1 side effect of uncontrolled bipolar is suicide. Bipolar isn't a made-up excuse for bad behavior. It's a real disorder. It can be traced genetically through multiple generations of families and you better pray to God you don't have the genetic marker for it yourself, because one day a physical or emotional trauma may trigger full blown bipolar disorder. Left untreated or left for the person to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, bipolar may drive you to the point that one day you find yourself sitting in a porta-jon on a California beach with a shotgun in your mouth like a former preacher/evangelist and good friend of mine did. He did not survive. My wife's uncle did not survive his final bout with bipolar. He went to bed, rolled over to face the wall and starved to death in that position. Her niece's life is a wreck because of her bipolar. We've been to the ER and mental hospitals five times with my wife's bipolar. She's not a bad person. She's just overwhelmed by it from time to time. 

A lot of famous people have successfully coped with bipolar and some not so successfully. A lot of them have lost or ruined their lives as the disease progressed. Earnest Hemingway killed himself. Mel Gibson's disastrous bipolar psychotic breaks are famous and nearly ruined his career. Robin Williams killed himself. People like Winston Churchill, Ben Stiller, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Dreyfuss, and Jim Carrey have all struggled with bipolar. You can also add Vivien Leigh of "Gone With the Wind" fame, Carrie Fisher, whose youthful drug abuse has been tied directly to attempts by the actress to self-medicate her then undiagnosed bipolar, Jean Claude Van Damme, Linda Hamilton, Vincent Van Gogh, TV journalist Jane Pauley, Marilyn Monroe and Patty Duke all have struggled with bipolar disorder. The disease is often fatal if untreated and unmonitored.

So before you tell someone else that's sick to pick up their bed and walk, please make sure you are Jesus! And remember, Jesus first healed the demoniac's mind BEFORE he healed his soul.

© 2017 by Tom King
 *Psalms 103:14 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taking Advantage of the Good Samaritan


We've all heard the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished. It sounds true but it's not. Most good deeds, if not rewarded, have positive consequences or at least don't hurt the good deed doer. An unfortunate trend in charity is toward making sure the person in need "deserves" the help. We don't want to cast our pearls before swine, Jesus said.

But Jesus wasn't talking about doing charitable acts when he said that. He meant, if someone didn't want to hear you preach at them, you should shut up and move along. Don't waste your breath in other words.  We often get the meaning of that Scripture all wrong.

When Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, the lesson was not, "Do a background check before you help people."
The Good Samaritan didn't sneak back to the inn and peek through the window to see if the whole thing was a con and the innkeeper and the "injured" man were high-fiving and splitting up his money. Jesus did not tell the disciples to go back and make sure the injured man wasn't faking. 

Christ's lesson was that all men are your neighbors and we are under orders to love our neighbors and to treat them as we would be treated ourselves. I know that He says we should be as "wise as serpents and gentle as doves".  BUT (and this is a very big "but") that does not give us permission to be cynical about doing acts of kindness. Nowhere does God say, "Thou shalt not be taken advantage of," or "Thou shalt not do a kindness for someone who doesn't deserve it." We are to treat others the way we would wish to be treated, for who knows but that we may one day entertain angels unawares.

Jesus fed the 5000. He just fed them. He did not send the disciples out with application forms to determine which of the 5000 might not be worthy to receive food assistance. They were hungry. Jesus fed them - the deserving alongside the undeserving. No questions asked. When he cured the demoniac or healed the cripple, Jesus did not do an "intake" interview to determine whether or not their illnesses and injuries were "deserved" or not. He simply healed.  In like manner, we are counseled to, if asked to carry a burden for a mile, to carry it two.

Does that make us suckers. Hardly. We are soldiers in God's Army and the war we wage is against selfishness, greed, hatred and cruelty. We wage that war by example. We heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and provide shelter for the homeless.

We cannot know the effect of our mercy and kindness on a person, even though the effect may not be immediate. We may never know the downstream effect of our Christian charity. We don't have to. God knows what it will be. That's why he places us in the way of acts of kindness which need doing. God plans the strategy. He gives the orders and it is He who is responsible for the results of the efforts of His soldiers. When Scripture tells us to obey, that's what it's talking about.

© 2017 by Tom