Being a citizen of a huge nation is difficult. Why? Regional concerns radically differ. A region commonly fails to grasp radically different regional realities. A single law cannot address all regional situations. Truly good things for one region can be truly horrible things for another region.

In a huge city, a .270 caliber scoped rifle is an unnecessary, deadly weapon of destruction. On a cattle ranch in Wyoming, a .270 caliber scoped rifle is a necessary tool in providing security for the herd. Cattle herds do not roam huge cities, and deadly people-to-people violence is not a reality on Wyoming cattle ranches.

California's population, climate, and sensitive environment necessitates environmental concerns. Automobiles and equipment with gasoline engines sold in other states often must be modified for California. Emissions standards addressing Los Angeles' smog problem are unnecessary and repressive in Kansas.

Commonly, one region's problems do not reflect another region's needs. From region to region, situations, needs, and people change.

People are poor at producing positive responses that respectfully understand differences. As long as "I am not affected," we can be understanding (or indifferent). Typically, people regard radical differences to be "stupid" (if we are prejudiced) or to be "ridiculous" (if we consider ourselves "enlightened").

In a horrible way, God's people often misrepresent Him. Outside church circles, godliness is regarded to be bad. Why? Too often, we use prejudice, arrogance, judgmental behavior, unkind attitudes, and negative emotions in attempts to force the values of godliness on others.

We find it difficult to be concerned for those "significantly" different. We more easily care about those "just like us" or "far, far away." Caring about the people among us who are different is hard.

This is God's basic influence on men or women drawn by faith and understanding to Him: He who cares about people leads us to care about people.

Matthew 5:44-48, But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect (complete, mature), as your heavenly Father is perfect (complete, mature).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 8 April 2001

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