Walking the Talk
Last updated 7/27/2013 at 5:56pm
If you are a follower of Jesus and have been following recent news and trends in North America, you have probably found a number of issues and events that have caused concern.
Here are just three that have come to my attention during the last few weeks.
It’s been five years since Canada’s formal Apology to First Nations People. This was a very moving and historic event and one which brought many people to tears. Yet something happened and almost went unnoticed following the Prime Minister’s apology. It would have gone unnoticed if not for the watchful eye of the former Member of Parliament Elijah Harper, who passed away in May.
Here’s a little historical background. If you’ve ever watched the proceedings in the House of Commons of Canada or any provincial legislature, you may have noticed the ceremonial Mace resting on the Clerk’s Table, or perhaps being carried in or out of the Chamber. The Mace is the symbol of the Speaker’s authority.
The Mace goes back to the Middle Ages and there is much pomp and ceremony in its history. The Mace has become a symbol of the king or queen’s authority. According to the rules of Canada’s Parliament, in order for the House of Commons to officially be in session, there are two significant factors that must be in place. First, the Mace must be in its place in the chamber and the Speaker of the House must be in his seat at the north end of the hall. If these two are not present, the House of Commons is not officially in session.
According to the rules of the House, when visiting foreign dignitaries or heads of state speak in the House, the official parliamentary ritual dictates that the Speaker be in his chair and the Mace in its appropriate place.
Most observers may have missed this but not MP Elijah Harper. He noted that both the Speaker and the Mace were in their rightful places when the prime minister delivered his apology. However, before the First Nations representatives spoke, the Speaker of the House left his chair and the Mace was removed.
According to the rules of the house, this means the House of Commons was not officially in session which implies that these Indigenous leaders were not respectfully acknowledged as leaders of Nations. It means that the government did not consider them to be entitled to the full weight and authority of the Crown.
If this is true and the actions were intentional on the part of the government, then Canada again added insult to injury. What’s even worse is that most of us watching missed it.
It’s subtle actions like these that I believe grieve the heart of Creator. We need to remember these words: “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth.
The Bible tells us that we are to give honor where honor is due and we should “conduct ourselves honorably in all things” (Hebrews 13:18).
Another disturbing trend is the growing jealousy and desire to ruin the lives and reputation of people who have achieved success. A prime example of this has been the attempts to ruin the reputation of celebrity chef Paula Deen over a racial slur she used 30 years ago. She admitted this and has apologized forcefully and with deep sorrow. Yet that doesn’t seem to be enough.
We don’t condone what she said. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. But what is being said about Deen now is far worse.
This shows how vicious and brutal people and corporations can be going after someone who has become significant in the world’s eyes admits to some failure. It’s been sad to hear how many businesses are canceling contracts with Deen. Once again, people are putting their own greed and profit above people. It is evil and it is wrong.
Jealousy and greed will tear us apart.
Deen herself gave a 21st Century paraphrase of what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery on NBC’s Today Show. She pleaded, “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me,” she said. “Please. I want to meet you.”
And you know what, she’s right. We all are guilty of some sin.
In a less significant, though no less vile case, a woman who wrote a book last year, is now being attacked by her own family. They are trying to stop her, not because it isn’t true but because they think she’s making money off the book and they want “their” share.
Because of this, we all ought to forgive Paula, this author or anyone else who sinned against us in some way.
Here’s what God has to say about how we treat one another. “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift...Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you,” (Ephesians 4:31-32, The Message).
Now we recognize that the individuals doing the accusing and meting out vengeance may or may not be followers of Jesus. Some may not even believe in Him or that the Bible is a book that can be trusted. Even if you do not believe the Bible to be authoritative and trusted, it’s message is still for you.
Here’s what God says to His followers: “...grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do...that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion” (Ephesians 4:14-19, The Message).
Many today claim to be Jesus’ followers but their walk doesn’t match their talk. The Bible tells us that we’re to “take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you” (Ephesians 4: 24, The Message).
Instead of watching what society does, let’s watch what God does, and then do the same.