I am writing this letter while it is fresh in my mind but it might take another year before I mention that I have this blog where you can read it for the first time.
Watching your brother Don who is my friend slowly die is not an easy business for any of us but particularly for him, but because he, as Bev says, is a very brave man, he is bravely going through the motions of the last days of his life with courage that we all admire so very greatly.
I well remember the wee bit of time I spent with my brother Bernard’s best friend John. John was visiting Bernard on his death bed and actually happened to be alone with him when he died. I will never forget the grief stricken look on John’s face.
As much as I liked John I knew it was unlikely that I would see him again after the funeral.Bernard and I were very different from each other but I loved him. He was one of those loveable guys probably because he himself was a lover of people.
I often find myself thinking about John when those memories of Bernard are up front in my mind.When I think of him I am always hoping he is doing well. Also I’ve got to say that knowing that my brother had such a friend gives me comfort.
You and Bev as a devoted and caring brother and sister will make the impending loss of Don easier to bear.
Don was a champion, and with his good character and his other admirable traits he has been a good influence on me, without which I would still be the deficient person I was.
But I am still open to be influenced for good and I will seek to gain it from whomever I can, whenever I can. In your case I hope I can emulate some of your positive attitudes and that diligent onto it behaviour of yours.
Whereas with Bev it might be her love of music that I would like to catch and some of that cheerful charming disposition that she is certainly blessed with.
I would love to influence you in some ways to be like me but as I am mindful that this is unlikely to happen I take heart that as there are others apart from yourself, who might read this letter,and therefore there is a chance, however slim,that I might be able to influence them as Don, your brother, has influenced me.
Ross this what I would like to say.
I think most people would agree with the following: they prefer to be useful instead of useless,to be helpful instead of helpless,worthwhile instead if worthless,of value instead of valueless,of significance instead of insignificance,of importance instead of no importance to anyone at all.
We obviously have a natural inclination to avoid the life that offers little or no meaning referred to as the meaningless life and instead with all embracing we naturally look for and seek out the meaningful life, the worthwhile life or the significant life.
The point that I am leading to is this.
In my opinion I say that the desire to feel important or worthwhile far exceeds the desire to live the meaningless life, so much so, that this along with the desire to survive, is our prime motivator.
If we lead what we deem to be the worthwhile life, we will feel justified in conjuring up notions within ourselves of being viewed as worthwhile in the eyes of others in our peer group, and these feelings of importance or worth-while-ness will pump us up and make us feel good or OK.
These good feelings which we chase to capture and keep are being chased by the whole human race. They are our tonic because they strengthen us to not only edure our dayly toil but to, in some cases, lift us above it; Therefore we pursue them with great diligence albeit, in my opinion, it is not a pursuit that we do conciously.
But how do we define the worthwhile life?In my case as boy busily carving his name into his school desk I incorrectly concluded that I was indeed worthwhile in the eyes of those others who would be dumb enough to admire my purile form of stupidity, and as there were enough dummies to keep me studiously carving away, I did exactly that.However because my feelings of importance were overly heightened by participating in this form of madness or childish stupidity which I thought was deserving of tremendous admiration; I was nevertheless on the wrong track and would not have been persuaded otherwise no matter how much logic might have been poured on me; Therefore I became the brunt of my discipline masters cane.
Yep you guessed it right…the cane won the day because it over-road my erroneous reasoning which I eventually abandoned but it took a while. It took so many years that I am embarresed to tell you how long it took for the idiotic fool in my life to leave. Suffice to say it was years and years.
However through the foolishness of my wayward youth I recognised that the more profound or heightened our sense of importance becomes the greater our reluctance is to abandon the cause of it whether it be justfied or not.
History, apart from being a recorder of times past, is a great teacher because it teaches us knowledge of ourselves today.
Many will run from this knowledge which can be gleaned by embracing certain aspects of history because it might initially result in depleting our sense of importance and thereby lessen the amount of good feelings that we usually enjoy.
History teaches us that man’s nature is essentially changeless even though we seem to be on the pathway of becoming more and more refined.
Most of us incorrectly think that we would have believed that the world was round when Galileo said it was. The truth is we would not have abandoned our ancient point of view regardless of his logic because to do so we would have had to endure great feelings of un-importance which are always difficult to bare.
The quest to be always feeling good by not having our sense of importance under attack, sometimes will result in the sacrifice of knowledge;As it did to those ancient ones viewing Galileo’s round the world story, if it conflicts with our sense of importance and in times like this the heart is ruling the head. If we let the head rule we shall certainly suffer the experience of periodically having our feathers ruffled when we face some unpleasant information head on, that would be our preference to avoid and if we did avoid it we would be able to keep our sense of importance intact.
For us to have agreed with Galileo we would have needed to edure the experience of living without the approval of the finest in the land and that level of endurance would have been such an anathema to us that we simply would not have been able to view the information in a light of no bias or even seriously entertain his thinking.
Most people today are convinced that they would have been on Galleo’s side of yesterday, but they wouldn’t have been, and to disagree with this is to point the finger at history and say it be false.
History teaches us that the finest people in society can be wrong when they didn’t need to be, but because they needed, and who can blame them,the hearty approval of their peer group, they sub conciously let this sway their thinking at the expense of the truth that was yet to be popular.
Christ who for about 3 years enjoyed great popularity was condemned by the same crowd because their sense of importance took such a big hit. Here was this guy healing the people and being a real decent type, but when they thought he was a blasphemer they yelled crucify him.They killed him not because of logic, for he was a just man, but because he claimed to be God and it incensed them.
If we cannot admit that we too would have been yelling crucify him if we were the everyday Jews of that day then we are kidding ourselves.Paul the great apostle to the gentiles would probably have been yelling the loudest.
I think I am right in assuming that you are like Bev and that you don’t believe in the existence of God.
There is tremendous power in the idea of athiesm because it allows our sense of importance to become so terribly boosted.
In a way the idea of the existence of God is the greatest negative for all of mankind to endure. Supposedly there is this being who has always existed and who has created everything and is all wise and so on.
This idea is an attack upon our sense of importance because if we compare ourselves to this entitiy, we don’t become a distant second or third; But because He is so superior that we don’t even begin to compare. If we compare this to an ant and the entire human race we might begin to get some idea of vastness of the difference between God the creator and us his creation.
Most people don’t go around the place conciously thinking like this but nevertheless it is constantly wearing away at them in the background dragging them down. To defy this is to defy logic itself.
If there is no God then we don’t have this problem and hence the attractiveness of that idea.
God of course understands this understandable problem and essentially says that as we can’t beat him we might as well join him.
When he commands that we must love him it is not because he is need of love.
He does so because it is the only appropriate way for us to handle ourselves in these circumstances.
You and I have children and as they will be inclined to be somewhat influenced by us we have to be especially mindful or careful that our behaviour does not unwittingly work against them.
I would certainly take a bullet for my family without blinking an eyelid and no doubt you would do the same but and here is the but Ross. How much love do we really have for them because if you have got it all wrong about God you will not only go to hell but you might take some of your children with you if they follow your example.
The evidence for God is so overwhelming but if you have tripped into atheism you will have more chance of seeing God’s truth than I did as a wayward school boy who could only be influenced by the cane.
I am not saying that hell is God’s cane because it isn’t, its much worse. The cane improved me but hell by comparison destroys, for the scriptures says that those who go there will perish.
But we can use hell as a goad, as a motivation to seriously investigate our ways to ensure that they are not in need of amendment.In my case I could not avoid the school boy hell which was the cane in the hands of my discipline master.
If God is true, and I obviously say that he is,then I say that the good and decent people who have done good things will still go there if they have spent their lives ignoring God in atrocious ungrateful rudeness by not loving him and therefore making themselves ill-suited to be with the God loving people in heaven who do love God and will enjoy everlasting life.
The shortest sermon I have ever heard lasted about 20 seconds which certainly was not entertainingly long enough for me but it was unforgetable.
As we sat back ready to listen to this acclaimed speaker from the USA he said something like the following. He said…the purpose of this life is to ensure that we accept God’s offer of everlasting life via Jesus Christ who is God who became a man. And then he sat down.
We will not be able to tell God that we did not realise that he existed and therefore we should be excused from such a severe punishment.
The real truth is that those who say there is no God, feel more greatly admired because there is no God greater than them that would diminish their greatness. But also they are essentially saying that they will not bend the knee to God and they are telling God to get the hell out of their life and actually are mad haters of God, although they are kidding themselves that this isn’t true.When that great day of judgment comes they recognise what they are and hate themselves for it and regret their stubborness that resulted in making a decision that shuts them out of heaven and everlasting life.
Knowing that they are to perish and miss out on everlasting will give a new meaning to the word anguish.
Just as Hitler kidded himself on a dayly basis saying to himself Oh what a good boy am I. I have just killed another 25,000 Jews. Do you think that if he says to God on that great day of judgement when he has to face the truth, that he is sorry that God will say thats OK Adolf come into heaven with all your mad hate?
This life is your big chance to make the right decision.
I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be to be impressed with the way so many, who do not love God or appreciate Him with any gratitiude, have the attitude that God wouldn’t cast the likes of them into hell just because they were small thinkers that refused to look at the big picture painted by Jesus Christ who laid down His life for them. This life became their everything so much so that it was at the expense of everlasting life itself.
Heaven is awaiting for you Babe but you have to clean your act up to get in.In other words to get in you need to qualify and your qualifications are as follows.
You have to love God and people, keep His commandments,accept the deity of Jesus Christ,be grateful for His sacrifice for you on the cross and don’t hide your light under a bushell.
All this is easy peasey except its hard to tell your peer group that you’ve changed sides. That is tough…..but everlasting life compared to everlasting damnation will give you the motivation.
I don’t want to offer you all the reasons why you too should be a follower of Jesus Christ because I think you are too caught up with the pervading view of athiesm to be influenced by me…..But Ross you can read the gospels yourself and therefore I have done the next best thing…I have warned you which is probably at the expense of the common friendship we share with your brother.
But if I was to offer one reason and one reason alone I’d say this. I’d say hey babe the resurection did happen and it ain’t no biggie if you are God which is exactly who Jesus Christ was in the flesh.
Turn to Christ and don’t be ashamed of what those that are perishing think of you: After all they are heading for hell where they and you will perish, unless they and you chuck a U turn and repent.Nevertheless if for one moment you thought I was not for you, you would be greatly mistaken.
I am for you very much……God bless you.