Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Faith Post

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."  1 John 4:7,8

Have you ever pretended to care/love someone when you just didn't feel like it?  Try it, it works.  Is it worth trying?  I think so.

Have a great day.  Friend/contributor/commenter Pris and I are having lunch together today!  Wish some of you could come, too! :-)



Brooke said...

Have a blessed Sunday and a tasty lunch!

FreeThinke said...

"Have you ever pretended to care/love someone when you just didn't feel like it?"

Yes, indeed! Cynics might want to call that "hypocrisy," but I see it as one of our primary duties to perform in daily interaction with family, friends, business associates and perfect strangers.

The loving approach -- especially when we don't particularly feel like being kind, understanding, accepting and appreciative -- is the one thing that makes life not only more tolerable, it brings us joy.

Suspicion, resentment, distrust, disapproval, dislike, fault-finding, eagerness to punish, etc. breed more of the same and become self-perpetuating.

One of my great aunts, whom I have mentioned numerous times, was a woman who had great faith. She believed -- absolutely -- that Jesus "walked beside her, and guided her way through every moment of every day."

She was poor, lived alone in New York City, and continued to work till the end of her EIGHTY-EIGHTH year, simply because she needed the money.

Obliged to take public transportation she firmly maintained the belief that every stranger was a friend she had not yet had the chance to know.

She was accosted several times in her career by young toughs -- thugs -- gangsters -- whatever you want to call them -- and each time she responded without fear. Instead, she always smiled up at the young men, expressed sympathetic concern for their well being, opened up her purse, showed them her money, and said she'd be glad to give them whatever she had, because she could see they needed it much more than she, and, then asked politely if they would please let her keep one subway token so she could get back home.

Each time this happened the boys backed off, looked chagrined, and apologized for bothering her.

Her focus was on THEM not herself. Her concern for THEM was real. Her active faith -- an approach to life she deliberately cultivated through daily prayer made her fearless, kind and generous.

Those who knew her -- or encountered her -- responded accordingly.

I think she proved that a determination to express loving concern for the well being of others at every available opportunity was the most powerful "armor" anyone could wear.

Her faith made it possible for her to see beyond the surface, disregard undesirable behavior, and get to the heart of things by sedulously practicing The Golden Rule.

Many in the family would say she was crazy -- "a dotty old lady who looks at life through rose-colored glasses" -- was their opinion.

Well, with very little going for her she managed to be one of the happiest, most confident people I've ever known. She lived just a few weeks shy of her one-hundredth birthday, was never ill, was never forced to leave her little apartment to enter a nursing home, and died peacefully after a short bout with pneumonia.

It really doesn't get any better than that.

Always On Watch said...

Pray for those whom we don't like.

We can't hate someone for whom we are praying. Exception: the Patton Prayer.

Always On Watch said...

Wonderful personal story.

I had an aunt something like your great aunt. She even got an obscene phone caller to back off.

FreeThinke said...

Thanks, AOW. Yes aunt was a great person -- one the many truly great individuals who lived and died in obscurity.

What is that saying I've recently grown to love?

"The famous are rarely great; the great rarely famous."

I'd love to know what your aunt did to neutralize the effects of an obscene caller. I knew one person who stopped it by pretending to be thrilled, and asking when they could meet to indulge their mutual passion.

She never heard from HIM again! Most of these types are scared little people who wouldn't say "BOO!" to a goose if they met one face to face.

Aggressive wimps derive satisfaction from the feeling of power they get when they know they've upset or frightened someone they perceive as defenseless.

By not showing fear -- or even annoyance --, a potential "victim" can turn the situation around quite easily.

It's the "victims" who cower in fear gibbering, pleading, begging for mercy -- OR -- who go into "high dudgeon" and insult or berate their attacker who are most apt to get hurt.

Erma Bombeck, that wise and very funny lady whom most of us still miss many years after she succumbed to cancer, once wrote briefly on the subject of obscene phone calls:

"First of all," she said, "if you should be lucky enough to get one ..." and went on from there in the same humorously dismissive vein.

Taking things too seriously is not only self-defeating, it may actually be an odd form of conceit.

After all, who are any of us that we should dare to believe we are so fine and noble that God should render us immune to "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?"

Developing humility, maintaining a wry sense of humor, and focusing concern on Others instead of Self are necessary ingredients to living as a loving person.

sue hanes said...

Z - Yes - I believe that can happen. There is a saying that is 'fake it till you make it.'

That could be just what you are talking about. Liking/caring about/loving a person can start if you just have the will to do so.

And pretty soon it can become real.

Have a grert Sunday - Z. And enjoy your lunch with Pris.

Silverfiddle said...

For love to be Christian, it must be Caritas, Charity, an act, not an emotion.

Great story, FT! We do have a duty to treat others charitably (with love).

Ed Bonderenka said...

FT. That story deserves to be retold. May I?

Z said...

FT...your aunt was an angel on earth, wasn't she! I have a dear Christian mentor like her, Muriel, who's just short of 90 and just now not doing well... She helped me through Mr. Z's death and with so many other things.
I'd walk into her home feeling so down and she'd be standing in her living room with her arms outstretched, saying "Well, Z....I'm SO glad you're here, just where you need to be!"
We'd talk a few hours and I'd leave feeling 150% better.
She, like your dear aunt, kept God front and focus...ALWAYS.
That reminder to me had me walk back to my car after every visit feeling like the grass was 2' below my nice.

Do you all remember Dr. Laura Schlesinger? She said once to a woman who was angry at her husband "PRETEND YOU LOVE HIM for a few's miraculous."
People would call in and tell her they'd done that and the husband had felt that 'fake' love and attention and completely changed..responded IN KIND! And that is a great reminder that Silverfiddle's right; it's our ACTIONS which make an effect.

Mom used to say "Honey, don't tell me you're sorry, just don't DO it again". Another excellent reminder.

FreeThinke said...

Of course you may share aunt's story, Ed! How good of you to see the value in it!

I tried to get her to write a book about her life when she was in her early eighties. She tried, but Alas! was no writer. She was a professional accountant -- and had been a good concert singer in her youth -- but writing was not her forte.

Aunt's life was full of remarkable anecdotes. If I'd realized sooner how remarkable she really was I would have made it my business to tape record our conversations.

She was not only a sincere Christian who practiced her religion as few do, she also managed to be living proof that money, power and "position," do not necessarily give someone dignity, tact, good taste, and fine appearance. It's true aunt had started out as the daughter of wealthy man who made sure she received a good education (by the standards of the late-nineteenth-century), but when he died whatever money he had, apparently, died with him. Aunt and her mother were destitute. To make matters worse the mother promptly had a nervous breakdown. Understandable, maybe, but certainly no help.

This sudden reversal of fortune proved to be the cornerstone of the foundation of what was to become her life.

She never married, never made much money, but -- as far as I'm concerned -- her simple, childlike faith made her a big winner in The Game of Life.

FreeThinke said...

Z, I hope your special friend recovers and lives many more years -- if she is still able to be herself, that is. I wouldn't wish a "persistent vegetative state" on my worst enemy.

By anyway, you and I very fortunate to have had these wonderful influences in our lives.

I'm not sure "they make people like these" anymore, but even in better times they've always been in short supply. Hard times either defeat you, or they build character, and thus turn out to be a great advantage.

He works in mysterious ways, indeed.

I think we must work to keep ourselves open to the possibility that GOOD may come our way, instead of worry and fretting so much about the bad stuff.

Hard, I know. ;-)

Z said...

FT, doesn't sound good for Muriel; I think she's really sort of given up and just wants to go to heaven and be with her husband who passed 19 years ago.
She was also a psychologist (Christian and not) and saw clients until she was 88, ran her own home, drove, etc., and then a final fall and hurting her back very badly was the last straw and so her daughters have her in a MARVELOUS old aged home (A Baptist home that is THE best kind of place like that that I have EVER seen) and sold her house and car and, suddenly, there is Muriel in a lovely room and not much intellectual stimulation, you know?
The nurses and other staff go to her like the saint she is and she counsels and advises, etc., but that's it.
I believe she's given up the will to live. But in a positive way, if that makes sense!
Thanks for your thoughts re her.

I wish we could all know women like your dear and wonderful aunt and my Muriel. With Muriel, I went to her a couple of times as a counselor about something I was dealing with and then we became fast friends for 2 1/2 years...I could only contribute financially to missionaries she supported, she'd not take money from me...and, as I said previously, she got me through my Mr. Z's short illness and sudden death. So, I feel so honored just to be her very good friend.
And I believe God gave her to me JUST when I needed her most. The little problem I had was nothing compared to the solid platform she gave me through Christianity by which to deal with such a HUGE loss.

I'm rambling..sorry.
Just feel I needed to share a bit about my relationship with Muriel and that I wish everyone had a Muriel.
Or an aunt like yours! :-=)

Z said...


Get this!: Last night, I wanted badly to write about Love because some recent comments at my blog got me to thinking...

Anyway, I felt that LOVING OTHERS was what I should use for my Sunday Faith blog and I started typing a verse I know. Suddenly, I must have pushed the wrong key and what I'd typed disappeared. Laughingly to myself, I thought "I guess that's not the one God wanted me to use!" :-)

So, I used the verse I DID use here today.

In church this morning..the sermon was about GOD and how He is ALL ABOUT LOVE and IF WE DON'T LOVE OTHERS, WE'RE 'LAWLESS' BECAUSE THE NUMBER ONE 'LAW' IS TO LOVE OTHERS.
WELL, you can imagine my amazement when my verse was used in the sermon. IMagine? The one that I typed after the first one disappeared and the one I DID use, today, was mentioned many times with practically the same message in the sermon as I'd written here?

Sometimes, things like this just BLOW MY MIND~!


Ed Bonderenka said...

Z: Thanks for commenting on your relationship with Muriel and her influence on your relationship with Jesus.
FT: I posted your comments at my blog and then flogged it on Facebook.
So there's six more people who will read it.

Z said...

Ed, you CRACK ME UP!!!
what a great sense of humor.
xxx SIX PEOPLE :-)

Z said...

oh, and Ed..if you only could have known Muriel. Talk about SPECIAL in every way.

Jen Nifer said...

Thank you for posting this today , Z. I needed it. And thank you FT.