DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Celebrating the Fourth
I can smell the grills already. My mouth is watering just thinking about all the good food that we will be enjoying this weekend. My family will gather at my brother’s house for the annual Fourth of July celebration. In this crazy time, we need family gatherings to help us remember what is really important in life.
There will be hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, salads and so much more to enjoy around a table with our family together. There will be laughter, joking and lots of stories shared. There will be various games played and if there were any sports on TV, they would be watched, too.
I usually head for home when the family heads out to the fireworks. I am not sure if there will be any fireworks this year. I usually get home and watch the Capital Fourth of July celebration on PBS. I am looking forward to this Fourth of July tradition.
One thing I am hoping can happen this Fourth of July is that we can all come back together and realize that we are all Americans. It doesn’t matter where we have come from, we are united as Americans.
One of the great things about our country is that we can think differently about various topics, but in the end we are Americans. We unite and come together to solve our problems and compromise on our differences.
It seems to me that we have lost our way on the values of compromise recently. We have forgotten that critical lesson from childhood that we can’t always have our own way. We seem to have forgotten that people see things from different points of view. Your point of view and mine can be complete opposites and we can still come together and celebrate that we are Americans.
We can have different political, religious and social views and still come together as Americans. It seems we have forgotten how to celebrate our differences in love.
When we speak in love towards each other, even though we think differently on various subjects, we are speaking God’s language. God is love. When we speak hatefully, as many have been prone to do lately, we are not speaking God’s language.
I recently watched a great TV series called “The Chosen,” which you can stream for free. I strongly encourage you to watch it. I love their depiction of Jesus and all the biblical characters that surround Him. In the series, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews of His day were supposed to hate Samaritans, yet Jesus talked to her. Jesus not only talked to her, but revealed Himself as Messiah to her and offered her the gift of salvation.
America is known as the melting pot: many different people from many different backgrounds all as one people — Americans.
Christianity is similar. Every person who is alive on earth is invited into a personal relationship with Jesus. If we are working to fulfill the Great Commission, then we want to reach all people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do we do that by speaking hateful things to each other?
I think it goes back to that old hymn, “They’ll Know We are Christians By Our Love.”
How can we say that we want everyone to get saved in one breath, and then speak hatefully towards that same person because they have different beliefs or commit certain sins that we find offensive?
The Jesus that I read about in the Bible ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. He spent three days with the Samaritans. He healed the Roman soldier’s servant, the government that oppressed the Jews. The only people whom Jesus spoke harshly towards were the religious leaders who were making it difficult for people to connect with God.
That should remind us to be careful that our words and actions should not hinder people from a relationship with God.
I want to encourage you to consider the things you say, whether it is on social media or to the cashier or waitress that serves you.
Are your words and actions loving, and do they encourage people to have a relationship with Christ?
None of us is perfect; I’ve blown it more than once.
But I want to live my life so that people will know that I am a Christian by my love.
A good place to begin is in our hometowns. When we meet someone who looks, acts or thinks differently, will we respond to them with the love of God?
I hope we will.
Happy Birthday, America! I hope you enjoy your Fourth with your family and friends … at a safe distance.
Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.