Bottom Line – We Are All The Same

Those of you that follow this blog that also know me well personally, are very aware of the fact that I am a very politically-oriented person.  I love America.  It is not a perfect nation, she has many faults, because it is made up of imperfect people that themselves have many faults.  But I truly believe it is still the greatest place on earth to live.  I really do not ever want to make this blog about politics – however, there is a specific issue that I want to address, and I believe it can be grounded in faith and spiritual beliefs.  So, I am going to indulge myself today and I hope you will like what I have to say.  If you do not like it, please forgive me and return another day, I promise I will not make this a habit.  Once again, this article was inspired by a song I heard this morning while taking my walk.  

The things that are going on in our nation right now cause me to swing from sadness and a deep grief to frustration and anger.  The volatile atmosphere we have endured for years has caused families to break apart and friendships to fracture.  Why?  Because we may believe differently about how things need to be/should be done.  So then, as we know is our prerogative, we express our beliefs and the troubles begin.  One of the most precious of our freedoms and rights in America is based on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution established by the founders of our nation.  I believe the fact that they made the first amendment the FIRST amendment was not an accident. 

Amendment 1

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

A further explanation of that Amendment in simpler terms, according to the Legal Information Institute is this:  

“The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.”   

The particular part of that amendment that I want to focus on is – It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  So, if our duly elected leaders are not supposed to be able to restrict our right to speak freely, why do we think we have the right to do it to others? 

What has happened in this nation that causes us to have no tolerance at all for what others think and believe?  Why cannot we just peacefully agree to disagree?  I wish I knew – I wish I was wise enough to have a ready answer to share with you here.  But I do not have a clue.  However, I do know that these intolerant views are wrong on every level.  They have caused some people to deem their worth better or more important than others; it has caused some people to claim benefits and rights only because they look different than others; it has caused some to go out and destroy and steal things that rightly belong to other people.  All of this damages our society as a whole and accomplishes nothing good – and let me be clear, we all know that all races are guilty of this.  

What I do know is that the bottom line is that we are all the same.  I want to share some scriptures with you that I believe address this issue – that emphasizes how in God’s eyes we are all the same.  We all are entitled to the same benefits and rewards – we need to value others and treat them accordingly.

Jesus said: “This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you.”  John 15:12 ISV

Peter speaking to the Jews about the Gentiles (non-Jews) said: “We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”  Acts 15:11 NLT

Paul speaking said: “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:22 NLT

Paul continues saying:  “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’ Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  Romans 10;9-13 (Remember Gentiles are EVERYone other than the Jews – all races.)

We also need to remember that we all need one another, whether we like it or not.  As the saying goes – no man is an island – there is no one person more valuable than another.  Living and working together in love and cooperation, we can accomplish so much more.  This passage puts it in very clear perspective spoken in language we should all easily be able to grasp in The Message Translation (1 Corinthians 12:12-26):

“You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.  I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, ‘I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,’ would that make it so? If Ear said, ‘I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,’ would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.  But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, ‘Get lost; I don’t need you’? Or, Head telling Foot, ‘You’re fired; your job has been phased out’? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?  The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.”

What we need to always keep in mind is that our differences are what make each of us special and to live the best lives we can, to have the best nation we can, we need to accept and love one another.  The color of our skin, the amount of things and/or money we have, where we live, what faith we choose, or choose not to practice, etc. should not matter.  We all bleed the same.  

That brings me to a song that I have loved so much from the first time I heard it.  It is sung by Mandisa with TobyMac and Kirk Franklin.  The title of it is: “Bleed The Same”.  (I would encourage you to find it online and listen to the words being sung – it is inspirational!)  What I have done below is quoted the verses of the song putting the chorus in the place where it is first sung, then just noted where the chorus is sung again at different places in the song without repeating it.  Take these words to heart, please!

Chorus:  We all bleed the same, We’re more beautiful when we come together

We all bleed the same, So tell me why, tell me why, We’re divided

Woke up today, Another headline, Another innocent life is taken

In the name of hatred, So hard to take

And if we think that it’s all good, Then we’re mistaken, ‘Cause my heart is breaking

Are you left? Are you Right?

Pointing fingers, taking sides, When are we gonna realize?

Chorus

If we’re gonna fight, Let’s fight for each other

If we’re gonna shout, Let love be the cry

We all bleed the same, So tell me why, tell me why, We’re divided  

Tell me, who are we, To judge someone

By the kind of clothes they’re wearing, Or the color of their skin?

Are you black?  Are you white?

Aren’t we all the same inside?  Tather, open our eyes to see!

Chorus

If we’re gonna fight, Let’s fight for each other

If we’re gonna shout, Let love be the cry 

We all bleed the same, So tell me why, tell me why, We’re divided

Only love can drive out all the darkness, What are we fighting for?

We were made to carry one another, We were made for more, 

We all bleed the same, We’re more beautiful when we come together…

Let’s stand united!  

We all bleed the same, So tell me why, tell me why, We’re divided

If we’re gonna fight, Let’s fight for each other

If we’re gonna shout, Let love be the cry

We all bleed the same, Bleed the same

Let’s stand united, Let’s stand united!

Kirk Franklin then prays:

So Father God, I pray, That our families will come together right now

And seek Your face, You will forgive our sins

And You will heal our incredible land

In the name of the only Savior, Jesus Christ

Amen

Written by Karran Martin – June 21, 2020

P.S.  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL YOU DADS OUT THERE! 

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