Tag Archives: Decision making

You decide the things that ultimately you do


You decide the things that ultimately you do.
You have choices in this world,
and that’s how I live.
Leah LaBelle


Dutch version / Nederlandse versie > Jij bepaalt de dingen die je uiteindelijk doet

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle, Positive thoughts, Quotations or Citations, Social affairs, Welfare matters

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

 

“1  My brothers, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality. 2 For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in; 3 and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place”; but you tell the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit by my footstool”; 4 haven’t you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4 NHEB)

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?” (James 2:6 NHEB)

“But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:9 NHEB)

“For judgment is without mercy to him who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13 NHEB)

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him?” (James 2:14 NHEB)

“17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself. 18 Yes, a man will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But do you want to know, foolish man, that faith apart from works is useless?

21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In like manner was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 NHEB)

*

 

***

The Works (Faith No More album)

The Works (Faith No More album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Christadelphian Agora comments:

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did” (James 2:22).
“An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the good old man had carved on one oar the word ‘Faith’, and on the other oar the word ‘Works’. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man, being a well-balanced believer in Christ, and glad of the opportunity for testimony, said, ‘I will show you.’ So saying, he dropped one oar and plied the other called Works, and they just went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to use the oar called Faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again — this time the other way around, but still in a circle. After this demonstration the old man picked up Faith and Works and wielding both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, ‘You see, that is the way it is in the believer’s life. Works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead also, getting you nowhere. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing’ ” (Maritta Terrell).

Peter Cresswell comments:

v.9 As a community (speaking generally) we are condemned by our inability to work out this maxim in our practical lives. There are those who genuinely are prepared to preach to anyone and accept anyone, but I think if we are honest, most of us are not happy with this teaching. A moment’s reflection on it today then will do no harm. Would we, for example, like Jesus in John 8:3-11, accept the repentance of the prostitute (which is seems this woman was) so readily? Lev.19:15

Peter Forbes  comments:

2:1-4 It is said that we form an impression about someone within a few minutes of seeing them. We have not had enough time to assess their character and yet we make decisions which may colour our view for the rest of our lives. It is really clear why God does not judge by outward appearance – 1Sam 16:7 – we should emulate His approach.

2:4 So we see that partiality which starts by looking on the outward appearance – see 2:2– is in reality judging the way others think.

2:4  Partiality is a consequence of being ‘double minded’ as mentioned in James 1:8

2:5 In speaking of ‘the poor of this world’ James echoes Paul’s comment about men of faith – Heb 11:37 . One cannot but wonder how we would have reacted to some of the men and women of faith if we had seen them in the street.

2:6 Continuing thoughts on our contribution for June 8th James asks his readers to think on the realities of their experience. The very ones that they would revere were the ones who were their persecutors!

2:6     ‘despised’ <818> is translated ‘shamefully’ Luke 20:11 and ‘dishonour’  John 8:49 showing that James is reproving the brethren for denigrating the ‘poor’.

2:9 That we should show ‘no respect of persons’ draws on the Law of Moses and is seen extensively in Scripture. Here are some occasions. Leviticus 19:15 Deuteronomy 1:17 16:19 2 Samuel 14:14 2 Chronicles 19:7 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Romans 2:11 Ephesians 6:9 Colossians 3:25 1 Peter 1:17 No matter how one dresses up the prejudice against the poor and favour toward the well dressed it is a violation of the Divine law. Actually it manifests pride. We like to identify with the rich in this world rather than the poor.

2:11   James here clearly shows that there are no degrees of sin. Sin is sin. Agreed the consequences of some sins is greater than others insofar as our actions impact upon other men. However any sin violates God’s principles.

2:13 These words of James draw upon the teaching of Jesus in Matt 7:2

2:14-17  I suppose one could summarise what James is teaching here by saying “talk is cheap”.  It is ever so easy to talk about how we love and serve God. It is far harder to simply get on with doing that.

2:21-23  We notice that Abraham was “justified” in Gen 15:6. However it was many years later when he was willing to offer Isaac – Gen 22:9 – which demonstrated his faith. So, even though God saw Abraham’s faith no man could have seen the evidence of Abraham’s faith. But God knew in advance that Abraham had faith.

2:23    There are two earlier occasions when Abraham is called God’s friend – (#2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8)

2:23 How would you like to be called ‘the friend of God’? Such is the description of faithful Abraham – he believed that God would keep His word and so acted upon that knowledge. So we know the way to friendship with God.

2:23 There were quite a number of years between the statement in Gen 15:6 that Abraham believed God and his offering of Isaac. Faith is not a ‘flash in the pan’ activity.

2:25 The inclusion of Rahab as one who was justified by faith is a powerful testimony to the truth that observance of the law of Moses is not a pre requisite for pleasing God. A powerful lesson for Jews.

Michael Parry comments:

James exhorts against favouritism in our assembly.  Brothers and sisters should be treated equally in love and respect.  Do we naturally gravitate towards some and find it difficult to deal with others?  Of course we do.  But let us remember the example of Jesus.  Although He was drawn affectionately to John (John 19:26; 21:20), He still treated His betrayer Judas with love (Matt 5:44).

A point about verse 19:  there exist no such supernatural entities as devils (or demons).  What are being alluded to here are people possessed with demons (mental disorders).
There were demoniac people who recognized God and the Lord Jesus  (Mark 5:1-13, 16:9, Luke 4:40,41, 8:2).

Having scriptural knowledge, understanding, and faith means nothing unless it is translated into Godly action.

V.8 James is the only one to use the phrase royal law.  Loving one’s neighbour is the second part of the greatest law (Matt 22:37-39).  The first part concerns the love for God who is King over all – hence James’s royal reference.

V.12 James also talks of the law of liberty. No longer is anyone judged under the Law of Moses.  But, the moral commandments under the Law are carried forward and form part of the Commandments of Jesus.  It is expected that believers follow these commandments willingly.  Believers will be judged on their adherence to these laws.

John Wilson comments:

V.18 James introduces a third person into his explanation of faith and how it works by love. The third person is able to give a practical demonstration of his faith. James’ humility would not permit him to set himself forth as an ideal representative of a living faith. “I will show thee my faith by my works”  A practical demonstration of a motivating force that is greater than the individual himself, by which “he overcame the world”  (1John 5:4).

2:25 With the example of Rahab; along with that of Abraham (V.21,23), we would suggest is used by James to show the universality of the principle of faith that he was writing of. Abraham was the Father of all the Jews; Rahab was a Gentile who was converted. She was weak and sinful, but triumphed by faith. Not unlike what Paul wrote Gal 3:28.

2:26 Faith without works is like a corpse; there is a body, the substance of which is undeniable, but it is a dead body, and unless the breath of life enters into that body, it remains inactive and ineffective. Unless faith issues forth in a practical demonstration of a way of life which is pleasing God, it is a corpse without life, and incapable of imparting it.

Roger Turner comments:

v 5 First Principles>Kingdom of God>Gospel concerns God’s Kingdom
The Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles concerns the Kingdom of God.
2. Invitation for men to participate
Matt 25:34, Luke 12:32, 1Thess 2:12, James 2:5, 2Tim 4:1,8, 2Pet 1:10,11, Rev 2:26,27
For more about the Gospel concerning God’s Kingdom go to Matt 4:23 

Valerie Mello comments:

James 2:17

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

The apostle Paul defines faith as, “… the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Faith may be further defined as having a confident belief, value, or trustworthiness of a person, which does not necessarily rest on logical proof or material evidence.

This kind of faith requires development, and if we are not prepared to spend time in developing it, we shall not obtain the kind of faith that pleases God. The more we consider God’s actions in the past, and see His prophecies vindicated in the present, the more we come to learn to value Him, trust Him, and put our faith in Him concerning events not yet fulfilled, but promised by God.

This is a true story about a captain commanding a passenger ship who was sailing from Liverpool, England to New York. His family was on board with him. One night when everyone was sound asleep, a squall unexpectedly swept over the waters and tossed the ship violently, awakening the passengers. They were all scared, and the captain’s frightened eight-year old daughter asked, “What’s the matter?” Her mother explained that a sudden storm struck the ship. “Is father on deck?”  “Yes, father is on deck,” answered the mother. On hearing this, the little girl snuggled back into bed, and in a few moments was sound asleep. The winds still blew and the waves still rolled, but her fears were calmed because her father was at the helm! Our Heavenly Father is always at the helm! It is this kind of faith the Father is looking for in His children, and despite outward appearances, without this kind of faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).

Wes Booker comments:

James 2:12,13.

What are some practical lessons and exhortations that we should try and practice in our lives in connection with what James is stating here – especially the last part of v. 13 – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

In thinking about a practical application of what James is exhorting us here, it’s important to keep in mind that within the pages of the Bible there are a number of very positive references to the idea of judgment. Though we might tend to immediately think of Christ’s words – “Judge not that you be not judged” (Mat. 7:1), there are a number of times where the flip side of the concept is there in such words as “judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24) and Paul’s words concerning the ongoing fornication in the Corinthian ecclesia – “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. Expel the wicked man from among you” ((1 Cor. 5:12,13).

In the example that James uses following up his statement about mercy triumphing over judgment (v. 13) – in James 2:14-17 he gives the example of a brother or sister without clothes and daily food and what should be done by the ecclesia in that situation. What he doesn’t state is the reason for them to be in such a destitute situation. Was it due to things beyond their control? Or did they do certain things that brought this dire condition on themselves? Were they able-bodied and in a position to seek employment and get themselves out of this situation without having to come to the ecclesia for help? Whatever their situation was, James states categorically that the attitude that wishes them well without providing for their physical needs is an example of faith without works being dead. So the #1 priority of the ecclesia is to provide help when they have it within their power to do so. And, of course, the same should be true for individual believers in Christ.

The person or ecclesia who has it within its power to help and chooses to not do so really needs to have a really good Scriptural reason for not helping. And if there’s ever a question as to the rightness of a course of action, then the weight should fall on the side of mercy. And so with the seesaw effect, mercy comes up as judgment goes down. I remember reading years ago in one of bro. Islip Collyer’s books – I can’t remember which one it was – what he had to say on this subject. And it was so powerful that it really stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing here –

When a tough-to-decide situation comes up ecclesially where both sides – the severe and the lenient (merciful) – both have positive things that can be said for deciding in that particular way, I, for one, will always choose the side of mercy for this one simple reason. I know that on that great day of judgment, I will need all the mercy my Lord can muster on my behalf. So how can I go the other way? If I’m going to err, it is going to be on the side of mercy.

Robert Prins comments:

Illogical Really

When James spoke about people showing faith through the things that they did, he gave two examples. One of them was Abraham as he was about to sacrifice Isaac, and the other was Rahab, as she hid the spies and sent them off in a different direction.

Neither of these actions were really common-sense logical. After all, if you had been promised that your son was to be your heir, and the door to a multitude of descendants, it would seem stupid to kill him! And in the case of Rahab, when approached by people who were planning to flatten her city, it doesn’t seem right to hide and protect them.

But, both Abraham and Rahab had their eyes on something bigger and better when they acted in faith. Abraham was so sure God’s promises would be fulfilled, that he obeyed anyway. And Rahab was so sure of God’s strength, and that God was good to those who were good to Israel, that she put her own life in peril from the authorities in Jericho to put her trust in God.

What faith opportunities do we have in our lives? What about the opportunities to let God take vengeance rather than ourselves? What about forgiving others and trusting God for the rest? Or giving money or possessions away when asked? Or speaking out about our faith in God at an appropriate time?

Faith is seen in what we do. Let’s make sure God sees it in our lives.

Rob de Jongh comments

The bird resting on the patio

From v14 to v26 James explains how faith without works is dead. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, so perhaps an analogy may help.

Last summer we were on holiday in a cottage that had large glazed patio doors leading to a patio outside where the children watched birds hopping around. One day we came back from a trip out and our little boy said,

“Mummy. Why isn’t that bird moving?”.

We suspected the bird had flown into the glass and either stunned or killed itself, but we didn’t tell the child.

“Maybe it’s resting”,

we said, while earnestly hoping that the bird was going to get up at any moment and fly away.

Here was a small child who knew nothing about death, yet he recognised from the inaction of the bird that something was wrong. Later in the day when the children were elsewhere we took the bird and buried it beneath some overgrown bushes in the garden. As grown ups we knew that if it didn’t move for a half hour, it was probably dead. It was still a bird — recognisable even by a child, but what good was that? So it is with us. Any or all of us may be called a believer, confessing that God is one (v19), but if there is no action based on faith, it’s likely that faith isn’t alive in us:

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26

But what can we do if we suspect this is so with us? The first step is to pray to God, confessing our lack of faith and asking for help. If we want to be alive, seek for it, and ask, we will have our faith revived, as promised in Luke 11:9-13.

+

Preceding articles:

First man’s task still counting today

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

++

Additional reading

  1. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  2. The sin of partiality
  3. The Greatest of These is Love
  4. Faith Alone Does Not Save . . . No Matter How Many Times Protestants Say It Does
  5. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  6. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice

+++

Further related articles

  1. (01/07/2016) Salvation Only Through Christ?
  2. Partiality In The Church
  3. Christian Prejudice: Finding Answers to a Shameful Problem
  4. Human Rights Are Not “Common Sense” – They Are Christianity
  5. Is Jesus Partial? Colossians 3 verse 11
  6. “What is Christianity about?” by Michael and Susanne
  7. Today’s life is full of fakeness..
  8. The James Series: Surprisingly Equal
  9. 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, cycle B
  10. Micah 2: Soap in studying the Bible
  11. Favoritism Forbidden
  12. Are We Partial?
  13. Friendship and partiality
  14. My Journey to Racial Reconciliation
  15. Can Faith Save You? Sermon by Keith, 6.14.15, Pentecost 3
  16. How To Beat The Competition?
  17. Facing Our Prejudices
  18. James: Favoritism
  19. The Book of James Chapter 2:1-9,12-13 (NKJV)
  20. 2:9 – But if you show partiality, you commit sin
  21. 2:13. For judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.
  22. “Sunday Best”
  23. Partiality and The Law
  24. No Partiality
  25. What does the Bible say about partiality By…
  26. Mercy the missing piece
  27. Living Life Partially Impartial
  28. unjust justice
  29. How can you say God is not partial?
  30. Herrenhuter readings for Sunday, the 8th February 2015
  31. February 2 – Walking the Line
  32. Show No Favouritism. Show Mercy.
  33. Reflective Paragraphs Week 11 – James
  34. Losing Integrity Over Identity
  35. The imported and the favoured workers
  36. Playing Favourites in the Church. A Reflection on James 2:1-17
  37. Healing wilful deafness
  38. Daily Digest: Playing Favourites
  39. Disease favouritism
  40. Diminished
  41. Not Of This World
  42. How Important is Belief?
  43. Substance and Evidence
  44. Religious Literacy
  45. Bible-In-A-Year Day 33: Leviticus 16-18
  46. Death-Defying Faith.

+++

26 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

My Choice (by Jezabel Jonson)

I would not say a person has to undergo certain situations to have an idea of what is going on in such circumstance. People can have some idea of what a person must or can undergo in a certain situation. We also do know that every person in a similar situation undergoes it differently.

Not one abortion by woman is the same as an abortion by an other woman.

In this world of a lot of violence also not all unwanted babies do come from horrible situations, like rape or unwanted sex. We also must be aware that because of no allowance or of no provision or of economical difficulties to provide for contraceptive pills, condoms and/or implanon (the rod) the world also sees about 21.6 million women each year with unsafe abortions, adolescents suffering the most from complications and having the highest unmet need for contraception ‒ yet are still not perceived as eligible for “family planning” in many countries.

We also in many countries can find medical abuse, such as refusal to provide pain relief or the use of caesarean section to avoid doing a second trimester abortion that would be illegal (Argentina) or to save the life of the baby when the woman has asked for an abortion (Ireland, Paraguay).

For those persons to come to a decision which is going to change their life for ever is not easy and often underestimated.

In our society we also have to take certain responsibilities which give no excuse to accuse the one who has become pregnant. To incriminate the person with child is an easy way to escape the responsibility of not having guided her when she was young and without child. Before things happened female beings should have learned about ways to prevent and in case something went wrong how to avoid a pregnancy (e.g. after-morning pill).

Though when no help is offered or no knowledge about safe ways was there when the person comes to know she is pregnant it will be up to that person herself to make decisions, which not always will be easy to make.

In the West the decision to have an abortion would be totally different than in China were there are about 13 million abortions conducted every year. The US, by comparison, which has about one-quarter of the population, conducts around one million annually. Forced abortions, as part of the government’s one-child policy, have long been used to contain the country’s population since the 1980’s. It is more common to see an ad for “painless abortions” than for condoms in China.

The Holy Father talks frequently about spiritual struggle, as a devoted follower of St Ignatius Loyola would do. He has clearly condemned abortion on many occasions, and he has said that the “door is closed” to the ordination of women to the priesthood. At the same time in many other denominations the woman is still a second citizens and seems to be there only to reproduce. But as Pope Francis I has so deftly demonstrated, respect for life does not fit neatly into left or right, liberal or conservative. Undocumented workers’ lives are worth respect. Unborn life is worth respect. Muslim refugees’ lives are worth respect. The handicapped, the elderly, the patient with cancer or a brain tumour – their lives are worth respect. Criminals in prison – even on death row- their lives are worth respect. The Catholic Church, according the Pope, has always faithfully taught that every life is precious.

The Bible for sure has taught that and still demands human beings to have respect for every living soul. This respect is for all living beings (plants, animals, people) and that is so often forgotten by those who want to throw stones to people who have chosen to end the life of a foetus. What we also see and hear is that of those protesting against abortion there are many who are against the abolition of weapons and against the abolition of the death penalty. Suddenly there it does not seem to be wrong to take life of some other living being (be it a man, a woman, an animal, but also even not a child) Is that not a hypocritic attitude of many Americans?

We all better should listen to those people who had the experience, for whatever reason, to be put in front of the decision-making.

It is wrong to think mishaps only happen to certain people or even only to yourself. No one is excluded from certain unpleasant happenings in life. Therefore we should be well aware that others can have had certain experiences we never would like to have but which we also not would like to have others, or when there are people who had to undergo certain experiences that they find ways out of it and can find ways to come back on the right track of a better life.

The witnessing on Jezabel and Catt therefore is important and may not be ignored.
We all must be aware that every day somewhere in the world living souls are confronted with
“The good, the bad, and the ugly. ” and perhaps then it is better to have “No censorship, no bullshit, no knights in shining armour.”

Lets face reality and help each other to bear it.

+

Preceding: Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

++

Additional reading

  1. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  2. From Despair to Victory
  3. I can’t believe that … (4) God’s word would be so violent
  4. 2014 Human Rights
  5. American Senate ignoring many voices and tears of their own people
  6. Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America at war
  7. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  8. About lions and babies
  9. Westboro Baptist Church and Catholic Truth against Nelson Mandela
  10. Always a choice

+++

Further reading:

Jezabel & Catt

I want to talk about abortion. I want to talk about my abortion.

I don’t want this blog to turn into a pro choice versus anti abortion discussion. I merely want to share my experience about a very personal and difficult time in my life.  Everyone has their own opinions and everyone will have some form of judgement when they read this. The fact is, that is your opinion and your judgement. Not mine.

So, here goes. When I was 21 I fell pregnant. It was an accident, I didn’t plan it and I was scared. I was at university, I had just met this man and I was petrified. I was scared not just for the 21 year old girl with stars in her eyes, I was also scared about how I would be treated when I admitted to myself I didn’t want a baby.

As a woman in…

View original post 271 more words

15 Comments

Filed under Being and Feeling, Crimes & Atrocities, Educational affairs, Health affairs, Juridical matters, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Welfare matters

Let you not be defined by the effect of your wrong choice

Leah Houseman, writing as Sophia Bar-Lev writes:

as we continue to make our way through the Hebrew month of Elul which is dedicated to repentance in order to prepare our hearts for the approaching Festivals of the Lord (Lev. 23), this is the time to take an honest look at our personal acceptance of responsibility.

A big difficulty for a lot of persons is that they never want to take up the blame for something that went wrong. Most people prefer to give others the fault. When they themselves did something wrong they are fast to find somebody else to blame, even when they can put it on an imaginary figure like a devil.

These days of reconciliation and looking at the transition of the old into the new year it is time to look into our own heart. When we are prone to blaming others for our problems, we should reconsider and wonder if it is not high time to change our attitude.

Our world is still at war. Also in the Torah readings for this week the Jews find wars, at the beginning and the end. In the Weekly Torah Commentary — Ki Tetzei September 5, 2014 the author wants us to look at the cause-and-effect relationship, something which is too often overlooked.

From the writings we can get that the clear absence of unity between parents breeds rebellious children. today we do find lots of families with problems between partners and children. Many adults forget how their actions, their way of treating others, affects their children.

how parents live affects their children far more than what they say.

How many times we do see today that partners are not honest to each other and betray the people around them? In how many cases negativity becomes a bigger facto in the family life than positivity. Parents saying to their children they are not doing well enough. Family-members shouting at each other. Are the parents willing to remember the stupid things they did themselves when they were children? Are they willing to accept that their children learn by their mistakes?

English: We are not born parents we have to le...

We are not born parents we have to learn how to be parents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a household each member should help each other to make it work. Together they should aim to go united on the path to greatness by choosing to learn the lessons of every experience we have in life.

The lesson for all of us is unavoidable: Human beingschildren and adults -are too easily tempted to blame others for their own shortcomings. The Torah sets a higher standard, one consistent with how we were created.

Every human being has Free Will; regardless of what has happened to you, what parents you had, what hurts you’ve experienced, what hardships you’ve endured, You – and only You – have the responsibility for your decisions. It is ‘we’ not ‘them’ who have the ability and the power to choose whether we will wallow in negativity and in the past; or will we have the wisdom to learn from every life experience, using each one as a stepping stone to greatness. Cycles of abuse and pain can and must be broken. Amon and Moav, as well as Lot, has so many opportunities to learn from their experiences and become great men. It was for choosing to focus on their own feelings of disenfranchisement, their experiences of cruelty and selfishness, their own anger and sense of fatalistic doom, that they were forever barred from the congregation of Israel.

+

Please read the exhortation by Sophia Bar-Lev: Weekly Torah Commentary — Ki Tetzei September 5, 2014

++

Find also to read:

  1. Running away from the past
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  3. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  4. The Existence of Evil
  5. Satan the evil within
  6. What is life?
  7. Elul Observances
  8. Never making mistakes because never doing anything
  9. We all have to have dreams
  10. Youngster all over the world with the same dream
  11. 30 things to start doing for yourself – #6 is vital.
  12. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  13. It is a free will choice

+++

  • Judaism Does Not Allow Us to Hate (algemeiner.com)
    Ki Tetzei contains more laws than any other parsha in the Torah, and it is possible to be overwhelmed by this embarrass de richesse of detail. One verse, however, stands out by its sheer counter-intuitiveness:

    Do not despise an Edomite, because he is your brother.

    Do not despise the Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land. (Deut. 23: 8 )

    These are very unexpected commands. Understanding them will teach us an important lesson about leadership.
    +
    If we think less of a person because of the colour of his or her skin, we are repeating the sin of Aaron and Miriam – “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman” (Num. 12: 1).
    +
    Generous Tit-for-Tat says, don’t always do to him what he does to you or you may find yourself locked into a mutually destructive cycle of retaliation. Every so often ignore (i.e. forgive) your opponent’s last harmful move. That, roughly speaking, is what the sages meant when they said that God originally created the world under the attribute of strict justice but saw that it could not survive. Therefore He built into it the principle of compassion.
    +
    Do not forget the past but do not be held captive by it. Be willing to fight your enemies but never allow yourself to be defined by them or become like them. Learn to love and forgive. Acknowledge the evil men do, but stay focused on the good that is in our power to do. Only thus do we raise the moral sights of humankind and help redeem the world we share.

  • Ki Tetzei (thejc.com)
    The term mamzer has no precise English equivalent. Hertz in his translation of the Chumash renders it “bastard”, but clarifies in his commentary that this “does not mean a child born out of wedlock, but the child of an adulterous or an incestuous marriage”.The moral difficulty raised by this law is obvious. Why is the child punished with severely restricted marriage opportunities because of the sins of the parents? Doesn’t this sidrah itself say further on that “Parents shall not be put to death for children, neither shall children be put to death for parents; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin”(24:16)?
  • Ki Tetzei (anitasilvert.wordpress.com)
    I guess before we can fully forgive or be forgiven, we need to engage with the memory of what’s happened, and sometimes it takes time for that to dissipate.  Maybe that’s also why we start thinking about forgiveness a full month before Rosh Hashanah; to give ourselves and even God time to work on the process, and it’s not clear if the process begins with Forgiveness, Remembering or Forgetting.   This year, I’m still in the remembering stage.
  • Ki Tetzei (thejc.com)
    One example of how the laws of war differ from peace time concerns the protection of enemy civilians. Are they protected by the familiar category of pikuach nefesh — the injunction to save life at nearly all costs. Following the approach of the verse above that at wartime many rules are suspended, Rav Yosef Babad of Tarnopol (1800-74) argues in his iconic work, Minchat Chinuch, that there can be no sense in applying pikuach nefesh during a war. On the contrary wars are won by minimising the value of life.
  • Ki-Seitzei: DIY Judaism (5tjt.com)
    We must take precautions. Although we believe in miracles, we are not permitted to rely upon them. There is a Yiddish proverb that “the man destined to drown will drown even in a glass of water.” But that doesn’t mean that you have to be the one to put his head under the hose. In short, we believe in the concept of bashert but we mustn’t live by it. Otherwise, why go to work? We say in the bentching (Grace after Meals) that G‑d is the feeder and provider for all. So if G‑d will support us, why must I schlep off to work?
    Clearly, this is not the Jewish attitude. That’s why it is a commandment of the Torah to safeguard our health. Likewise, we are not to live dangerously by leaving roofs unenclosed or swimming pools unfenced or our doors unlocked. As they say, “Trust in G‑d, but lock your car.”
  • Ki Tetzei: Doing Jewish (anitasilvert.wordpress.com)
    We’re heading into a New Year.  How will you connect your inside spirituality to your outside…connect your Jewish feelings to your Jewish actions?  It isn’t necessarily about praying or changing your kitchen (although…maybe that’s what your spirituality learning leads you).  But maybe you eat a little differently, and know why.  Maybe you take moments to see the good things in your life, and acknowledge them);  maybe you find out about a Jewish way of acknowledging those good things (that’s called blessings).  Jewish life is a verb.  How will you Jew?

 

5 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Spiritual affairs