Monday, February 2, 2015

Collage of Death and Life; Fear and Love

My Thoughts & Explanation:

In the beginning, God created the universe and our world.  He created everything in and on earth: water, air, land, animals, human beings; everything.  It was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.  Everything was as it should be; we, humans, had yet to learn of and how to hate, fear, death, and pain.  This early world was paradise and all we've ever needed and wanted.  (Genesis Chapter 1)

However, something terrible happened.  We, humans, listened, believed, and acted on the lie that we are better than God and don't need Him.  We went against Him and choose to do things "our way".  We sinned and from that moment on, things have never been the same; they've ceased to be the way they should be.  It polluted and corrupted our hearts and the world we live in.  (Genesis Chapter 3)

Ever since then, humanity has continued to try and distance themselves from God; and while even in His just anger, frustration, sadness, and even regret, God in His perfect love, has continue to chose to bridge the distance we create and reconcile us back to Him and the perfect existence He envisioned and originally created for us.  (The Old Testament; especially all of Genesis, Exodus, and Isaiah)

All of God's leading and Words in the Old Covenant He made with humanity lead up to the greatest man and promise to ever come true; the birth, life and death of humanities Savior, Jesus Christ.  (The Gospel:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)

God, through Jesus, placed His righteous right hand over our sin stained hands.  Through the great, amazing, wondrous, inspiring, crazy, awesome, astonishing, surprising, breathtaking, spectacular,  remarkable, marvelous, and glorious love God showed us through the undeserving and ultimate sacrifice of His Son on the Cross, His love has permanently bridged the gap; righted our wrongs, and given us the pathway back to God; to paradise, to way the way life should be and was always meant to be.

An eternity of indescribable love and the promise of Heaven awaits those who are bold enough, brave enough, and humble enough to believe Jesus was who He said He was.  (John Chapter 14)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Eternal Longing

All of us have a longing for "something" that never ends; something that brings us everlasting satisfaction and fulfillment.

Many of us try to fill that longing with our jobs, money, sex, relationships, power, food, shopping, gadgets, alcohol, drugs, cars, vacations, etc. etc.; you get the picture.

However, the truth is that we don't actually need more of anything this world has to offer; we think we want more and often try to get more, but only to find we are still left strangely empty even after we get it.  So we start the cycle again, seeking to get more, trying more new things, hoping that some person or path we choose leaves us completely happy and fulfilled.

Here's the tough to admit answer.  What we do need more of, what actually satisfies this never-ending craving, is God; our eternal and inexhaustible source of joy, satisfaction, pleasure, and fulfillment.

Whether you want to believe it or not, you were made by God; a perfect eternal being; our Heavenly Father, who designed you to live in perfect harmony with Him.  We screwed up that up in Eden, but that longing in our souls remained.

Open up your eyes and see, that you aren't an accident caused by chance.  You have a purpose and it's bigger than yourself; seek God and discover who and whose you really are.

"Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”  So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”  Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground; everything that has life.” - Genesis 1:26-30

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." - Ephesians 2:10 
Let God renew your hearts and minds to the truth of your existence and how life is meant to be lived.

Love ya'll,


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

13 Ways to Live Life as a Gentleman

I had recently read an article via The Classy Fella Blog back in the beginning of June about being a gentleman and the qualities one should possess and exhibit.  It challenged me to be more of a gentleman and to share what I'm learning.  I then proceeded to expand upon what I had read and post thirteen different “How to Be a Gentleman” tips on my Facebook page for about two weeks.  I have collected them all together and done some editing to come up with my own list of 13 Ways to Live Life as a Gentleman for all of us men to remember, especially myself.  This list isn’t meant to make me look good, but rather show what God has been teaching me and what I have been learning about; all of which us men need to strive to live out each and every day.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE - This one should be a given. It is hard to respect an adult (or anyone) when their vocabulary is full of foul language; especially in the presence of ladies and children.  My father always told me that someone who consistently swears is someone who isn't intelligent enough to use a broader vocabulary; and that isn't someone I should strive to be... maybe we shouldn't let that soap in the mouth thing go to waste.

HAVE INTEGRITY - A gentleman can always be trusted.  You should never see a gentleman purposely let someone down; be someone others can count on.  Honor your commitments and show others that your word and promises are valuable.  A gentleman is a man of high moral and ethical standards and fights to protect them.  Deceit should not be something in a gentleman’s life’s vocabulary.

HAVE CONFIDENCE - A gentleman is a confident person.  This can be hard these days when men are constantly bombarded that confidence is found in lots of money, cool cars, having all the latest gadgets, or the best suits. Reality check; those are all lies and just "good" advertising.  A true gentleman realizes he is valuable regardless of how much cash or stuff he possess.  He stands and sits straight and speaks clearly because he knows that confidence is not bought, it is learned and exhibited.

BE CONSIDERATE - A gentleman doesn't regard himself as better than anyone else and realizes that others are just as valuable as he is.  A gentleman won't cut in line but will instead gladly allow someone, especially mothers or the elderly, to go ahead of him when they have fewer items than he does.  A gentleman opens doors and has no problem saying a friendly “hello” while he does.  A gentleman is quick to help and willingly sacrifices for the good of others.  He doesn't expect others to only consider him but rather first chooses to consider others before himself.

RESPECT WOMEN - This is one of the most important qualities to being a true gentleman, or even a man in general.  An "adult boy" treats women like he did girls on the playground; teasing them and moving from one to the other.  That is the sign of a boy who never matured.  A real man cannot be a gentleman unless he strives to treat his lady with the same care he would of pure gold.  A gentleman will open doors for a lady.  A gentleman will walk on the outside of the sidewalk when with a lady.  A gentleman will offer his coat when a lady is cold and he will also put it on her.  A gentleman loves only one woman and is NEVER a “player”; they are a one-woman man.  The mark of a true man is not found in "loving" 50 women for a night, it's having the strength, skill, and desire to love only one woman for 50 years of nights.  That takes courage and talent that many men seem to lack these days.  So sit yourself down boys and get educated because it's time for a manhood revolution.  It's time to stop adding notches to your belts and for you to cherish and protect a woman's purity. It's time to honor her and love her for her heart, soul, and mind; not just her physical beauty.  Fellas, it's time we Man Up!

COMMUNICATES WELL - A gentleman will be someone who speaks boldly for what is right but in a manner that is kind and gentle.  He understands the wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to listen; though isn't afraid to share his heart with others when appropriate to do so.  He speaks genuine words of love, encouragement, affirmation, truth, and honesty.  He aims to build others up rather than tear them down.  He strives to think before he speaks; controlling his emotions to prevent hurtful words coming from his mouth.  In these ways, a gentleman's words are usually more respected because when he speaks he tries to have something valuable to say.

"DAPPER DOWN" - A gentleman cares about his appearance.  Not because of vanity but out of respect for others and himself.  A gentleman knows he is a man of value and he aims to show that in all areas of his life.  He takes care of himself because he knows that when he is in good shape he can better take care of others.  He is sure to brush his teeth, comb his hair, exercise, and eat right.  He pulls up his pants because a gentleman doesn’t have swag; he has class.  A gentleman doesn't have to break the bank to look good.  He knows that money is better spent elsewhere than solely on himself.  He gives back and aims to buy products from companies that do the same.  A gentleman isn't narcissistic or prideful when being dapper, but he is confident and humble.

BE A LIFELONG LEARNER - The title says it all: a gentleman doesn’t stop learning; ever.  It doesn't matter if he has a GED, high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD.  A gentleman isn't bound by society’s definition of education; he learns wherever and whenever he can, and can never know enough.  He aims to soak in growth, maturity, wisdom, and knowledge like a sponge.  He strives to study and learn more about all the things in his life; his faith, his wife, his family, his friends, his career, his interests, the interests of his loved ones, etc.  A gentleman learns throughout life not only for his own personal benefit but to the benefit of others.  A gentleman doesn't rest on arrogance or ignorance.  He is a teacher and a student; realizing he can learn from anyone, even a child.  It doesn't matter if he is 25 or 95, a gentleman stays humble throughout his whole life; understanding he will never know everything but finds joy in the adventures of learning.

BE WISE - A great benefit to being a lifelong learner is that you should be growing in wisdom and a gentleman strives to be full of wisdom.  A gentleman should listen attentively and lovingly offer great advice.  A gentleman strives to wear wisdom daily, like a crown upon his head; realizing the significance and importance of it.  A gentleman isn't perfect and makes mistakes like all of us, but he seeks to understand why to try and prevent them from happening again.  He freely shares the wisdom's of his life to all that seek it and doesn't fear the advice of others.  Being wise doesn't just mean giving good advice; it also means to be able to receive it.  A gentleman listens, learns, and is humble at heart.  He embraces the correction, discipline, and instruction of others.  He cherishes experience, knowledge, and insight.  A wise man, a gentleman, is sincere, genuine, merciful, compassionate, considerate, controls his temper, and strives for peace.

BE A GREAT HUSBAND - A gentleman understands the value of having the lifelong love of one woman's heart.  He wooed her with his chivalrous and respectable ways while dating but doesn't stop once they've gotten married.  A gentleman continues to woo his woman after she becomes his wife.  A gentleman honors the vows said at his wedding; knowing that "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part" aren't just some cheesy romantic words; they are a meaningful and UNBREAKABLE promise.  A gentleman doesn't quit his marriage; no, that would be too easy.  A gentleman boldly takes the challenge to love his wife unconditionally.  When it's hard to love his wife, he loves her even more.  A gentleman knows that his wife's greatest need is his tender love.  He doesn't demand respect, he earns it each day.  A gentleman works hard for his wife; he sacrifices for her, he listens to her, he shares with her, he honors her, he praises her, he cherishes her, he takes care of her, and above all, he stands firm in the commitment they made when their love seemed to be at its peak; knowing that the joys of love don't end when the joy of loving doesn't end.  Like anything worth achieving, a gentleman knows that the sweetest victories come from the hardest battles.  Marriage may be a tough battle to "win" sometimes, but it holds the deepest pleasures and most rewarding triumphs.

BE A GREAT FATHER - A gentleman stays a gentleman all his life, even after he has kids.  A gentleman continues to live out all of his great chivalrous qualities so that his children may learn from him.  He is loving with his children, understanding that love is our greatest need as people, no matter what age.  He is patient, gentle, and calm with them.  He cherishes them, knowing they are a gift, and reveres his time with them.  He allows his kids the freedom to be individuals but isn't afraid to firmly discipline them to protect them and teach them.  A gentleman father teaches by word and by action.  He is active with his kids; whether it's with their school work, during their play time, in their individual hobbies and interests, in their disciplining, or even during their bedtime routine.  A gentleman father is there for his wife and kids.  He spends time with his family and realizes that the real treasures in his life aren't earned at the office or bought at the store; they are found at home.  One of the most important truths to being a great father and gentleman is to love their mother well; showing your children what a loving team and lifelong friendship should look like.  A gentleman understands that there are WAY too many fatherless homes and therefore takes the challenge to refrain from making love to a woman unless he is prepared to be a father.  He respects the woman, the possible future child, and himself enough to understand that great power comes with great responsibility.

SERVE OTHERS - Mahatma Gandhi once said that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others".  There is something really great about serving others rather than yourself.  The humility and generosity of offering your services to someone rather than yourself, always grants the greater rewards and deeper joys.  A gentleman knows that his life isn’t about himself.  He understands that improving the lives of others around him is what truly holds value.  He strives to be a lifelong learner and obtains knowledge and skills for the main purpose of sharing it with and helping others.  He doesn't horde things for himself.  What purpose would that have anyways?  No one wants all that life can offer but not enjoy it with others.  A gentleman gives just for the sake of giving; and he gives gladly.  He relishes the opportunities in life to bless others with his talents, time, knowledge, and money.  A gentleman is a man of humble integrity so he doesn't require a "parade" for each of his good acts.  Gratitude and thankfulness are his rewards, and even if those are scarce, doing a good deed is reward enough.  A gentleman can be anybody, and he knows that he can serve no matter his circumstances in life.  Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently describes what is necessary; "Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.  You don't have to have a college degree to serve.  You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."  That's the core of every gentleman; a heart filled up with grace and a soul that is powered by love.

LOVE JESUS - This is the "last" but MOST important advice to becoming a gentleman.  Jesus is the ultimate gentleman.  He lived a perfect life in complete submission to the perfect will of His Heavenly Father.  He trusted the headship of God in His life; the one who teaches all of us men, through His Word, how to be gentlemen. During His life on earth, Jesus cared for the sick, He served others, He never stopped learning, He was the epitome of wisdom, He respected women and even protected the ones that society deemed "worthless", He knew how to communicate well, He was considerate, He was humble, He was strong (imagine going through what He did and not retaliate in anger or violence), He was very confident, He was the definition of integrity throughout His life, He loved deeply, and He was a great leader.  Jesus is the best gentleman to look up to and aspire to become because He is the only man to live without fault.  Even the noble knights of old served a king; and there is no better king to serve than Jesus, the King of Kings.  When a man chooses to begin to love Jesus, Jesus can then begin to change him into the "perfect" gentleman.  All of the qualities of a gentleman can flow freely from a humble heart that loves Jesus.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Two IS Better than one

Well, I am sure like many of you on the East Coast, I was shoveling out snow this afternoon.  As I was outside with my grandfather cleaning off our cars and shoveling the driveway, this great reminder popped into my head; "Two really is better than one".  Immediately after that I thought of the verse in Ecclesiastes that states this same truth.

"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.  But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.  But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.  Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Now, this isn't really a new topic.  Pop culture seems to get it, or at least the artists Boys Like Girls & Taylor Swift do, and I would assume that most of us understand when you do something by yourself, it tends to take a long-time and can be quite boring.  When you share the work with someone else, it cuts both each other's work in half and can make things a lot more enjoyable.  Add more people, and the task is lessened even more.  Simple fractions really.  However, there obviously are some arguments that can be brought up; like "I don't need anybodies help, I can do it all by myself" or "too many heads equal too many problems", etc.  To this, I say those mindsets represent foolishness and pride more so than true wisdom.  Of course, the more people you have work together, the greater possibility that there can be disagreement.  It's why I believe you see in the verse above praising a team of two and maybe even a team of three but it doesn't go into great detail about more than that.  Perhaps a discussion of the struggles large groups working together can experience could be a post for another time, but for this one, I really just want to focus on the "two is better than one" concept.

When I see that verse above, the team of two means to me a married couple.  Both are committed to go through life together, bringing to life so much joy, pleasure, excitement, and comfort.  Sure it will be hard at times and painful, but love is always worth the fight.  When I think of the three chords, I think of a husband, wife, and God all working together as a powerful team.  God helps keep both spouses on the right path, keeping them humble and choosing love, forgiveness, and compassion rather than resentment, hate, or anger.  Although my mind automatically thinks of relationships when it comes to this topic, I know that verse can be used to enforce its wisdom in many aspects of life and the accomplishments that can be carried out by working together in all aspects of life.  And there's the key statement folks; WORKING TOGETHER.  That's what makes this whole concept work.  It doesn't matter how many people you may have together, if you do not have a common purpose or goal, if you do not communicate effectively as you seek that goal, you will fail.  A company will fail if all the working pieces are not aligned.  A watch would not function without each cog moving in sync with each other.  A couple will not last if they are not moving in the same direction; which should always point "north" towards a greater love, together as one.

At times, it is very important to do things by yourself.  You can only change yourself; no one else is responsible for that.  You are responsible for you; your own job, your own personal growth, your own maturity, your own relationship with God, etc.  However, the point I want to make, is that you do not have to, nor should you, do life alone.  We are not designed or meant to live life alone.  For starters, God is with you, each second of each day.  You already have a forever guide and helper throughout life, if you choose Him to be.  [side note: it feels so good knowing that God is with you; with His love lighting your path]

Being alone is not ideal.  To help explain my thoughts let's look at solitary confinement.  There is a reason why solitary confinement is one of the worst consequences of incarceration.  It is easily documented why being alone is detrimental to our very humanity.

The devastating psychological and physical effects of prolonged solitary confinement are well documented by social scientists: prolonged solitary confinement causes prisoners significant mental harm and places them at grave risk of even more devastating future psychological harm.  Researchers have demonstrated that prolonged solitary confinement causes a persistent and heightened state of anxiety and nervousness, headaches, insomnia, lethargy or chronic tiredness, nightmares, heart palpitations, and fear of impending nervous breakdowns. Other documented effects include obsessive ruminations, confused thought processes, an oversensitivity to
stimuli, irrational anger, social withdrawal, hallucinations, violent fantasies, emotional flatness, mood swings, chronic depression, feelings of overall deterioration, as well as suicidal ideation." (Center for Constitutional Rights)
"The human brain is ill-adapted to such conditions, and activists and some psychologists equate it to torture. Solitary confinement isn’t merely uncomfortable, they say, but such an anathema to human needs that it often drives prisoners mad.  In isolation, people become anxious and angry, prone to hallucinations and wild mood swings, and unable to control their impulses. The problems are even worse in people predisposed to mental illness, and can wreak long-lasting changes in prisoners’ minds."

To argue the validity that being alone is in fact better, would in my opinion, be not only false, but a travesty to yourself and the many other people that could find you to be a blessing in their lives.  In my experience, those that think they need to do life alone or are better off alone, are those who have been deeply wounded, bought into the lie that they are worthless, or just quite self-centered.  Whatever, the reason, just know that there are many benefits to why you should go through life with others, not alone.  God listed a couple in that verse above, yet there are many more:

- When you fall down, literally or figuratively, you have someone to help pick you up and dust you off

- When you work together with someone, you can accomplish many things more efficiently and more thoroughly.

- Trying to cut back on your heating bill?  Not enough blankets?  Snuggle up with someone, body heat can be the best kind of heat you need.

- When you are attacked, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, you have someone there who can help defend against the assault, stand up for you, and aide in mutual protection.

- Cliché, yes, but you know what they say, "Two heads are better than one".

- You share the burdens of life

- You add to your own life and the life of someone else's.

- You tend to laugh more with others than by yourself; and they say that laughter is medicine for the soul.

The list goes on and on.  When you constantly have a "me" mentality, you forget how great a blessing it is to go through life as "we".  When you choose to be with others in your life, life just gets more exciting.  Would you go to a restaurant by yourself, the majority of the time, probably not.  Life is more exciting and more fun with other people.  It is more rewarding and more meaningful.  One person can make a difference, but strength can truly be found in numbers.  

Yes, there will be sacrifices to make.  Sacrifices that should be made.  News flash, I don't know it all and neither do you.  We learn so much by letting other people in.  It's a small price to pay for the happiness we experience when we feel the deep joy of having someone there.  Yes, you will need to let go of your pride, get over yourself, and expand your personal realm of life, but wouldn't you rather enjoy the freeing and rejuvenating sensations of intimacy than the solidarity and suppression of singularity?  You already know I would!  ;-)

It's not the worst thing in the world to be humbled and learn that you have a lot to gain from others; be a courageous risk-taker.  All relationships involve risk and vulnerabilities, but when you are wise with whom you share your life with, you also experience immeasurable love and benefits by living life with a lifelong partner and multiple friendships.  If you have been hurt or struggle putting yourself "out there", don't give up.  You are valuable and so worth it.  Take the time to heal and try again, being confident in yourself and that you are so worthy of love and friendship.

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people, who see eye to eye, keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” - Homer

...couldn't agree more my Greek friend.

Teamwork is the best kind of work because "team work makes the dream work".

I challenge myself and each of you to not go through life alone and to live life knowing that, Two IS in fact, better than one.


-Matthew    =)


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Conviction vs. Judgment

Judgement is defined as: a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion.
I try my best not to judge others.  I understand that it truly isn't my place to judge others.  Judgment is Gods alone.  He is the only one worthy of doing so.  I could only have the authority to judge someone else if my life was in fact flawless, which is certainly not the case.  In fact, none of us are perfect, only Him.  Judging others isn't the life Jesus was about and that's not the life I seek to live.  Did he rebuke his disciples and the religious leaders, yes.  There is a difference though between the two. 
To rebuke means to: express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.  As Christians, we are called to be "sharpening" voices to help aide others in their walk with Christ, however, we must remember that we are NOT the refiner Himself.  I've made many mistakes in my life and am certainly nowhere near perfect, nor will I ever be.  I need God to forgive me, humble me, love me, and teach me daily. 

That being said, I'm not going to be afraid to stand up for how God calls us to live life; not out of judgment, pride or arrogance, but out of love.  My hope is to see others understand that God loves them unconditionally.  That the way He blueprints how we should live life according to His Word, is a life that He asks us to live to protect us and bring us the greatest joys; He won't ever force His Will upon us.  God has granted us free will.  He loves us too much to control us and simply asks for our faith; for us to trust Him. 

My hope is to love others as He does.  It's very important for us to realize and understand that true love changes us.  God's love is the constructive type of love; He is our perfect Heavenly Father.  It's at times disciplinary; real love doesn't always feel good.  Sometimes love is painful and sometimes it hurts.  The beauty of God's love though, is that it always serves a noble and pure purpose and we must be willing to look past our self-centered mindsets to see that.

True love never gives up and God never gives up on us!  My hope is to see everyone as He does; to cherish and value each life. My hope is to live life like Jesus; taking this world and it's people as they are, not as He would want us to be.  Does that mean God approves of everything we do; absolutely not.  What it exhibits is God's great mercy and grace.  Through Jesus, he forgives us and works towards refining us so that we might need to ask for it less and less.  Just as a child learns the hard way not to touch the stove when its hot, sometimes we must learn like that as well; even as adults.  Like a loving parent, God will be there to heal our injuries and provide us with wise counsel and guidance on why we shouldn't sin (hurt ourselves/others) again.

I pray to never think I am better than anyone else, but rather be transparent in my many shortcomings. There are certain aspects of my past that I regret, am embarrassed by, and even ashamed of. In the present there are many things I still need to learn and allow God to change in me. Yet I truly believe that God can turn our messes into inspiring messages, our trials and the testing times we go through into our testimonies, and our failures into victories; for it is not "I" that is great but it is in fact God in me who is great. 

Love is who God is; perfect and holy.  Not that puppy love stuff; the fully committed, lifelong, for better or worse love; true love.  Even though God is not afraid to allow us to fall flat on our faces, hit rock bottom, and challenge us to be the best we can be, HE IS the one you have always hoped for; the one who will love you, as you were yesterday, as you are today, and who you are becoming; for all eternity.

He simple wants you to follow Him, because He knows that when you do, your life will be greater than you could have ever imagined.  It can resemble the utopian life He imagined and created for us in the Garden of Eden.

He sacrificed His Son to prove His love; and there is no greater love than the type of love that lays down its life for another.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters." - 1 John 3:16

Conviction is defined as: a strong belief or opinion.

I am a man of strong convictions, yet I also know so was Jesus.  I am learning more and more that it is not my place to judge others but to love others.  Although Jesus rebuked His friends and religious leaders, He hated no one.  Jesus commands us to love one another, as He loved us.  I can only control my own actions and I hope my actions love people to Christ, so that He may change them as He has changed me.  It's a great thing, not a bad thing...

I am still me; just a better me.

God is good!  I challenge you all to get to know Him; not through the media, but through the Bible.  It's your choice, no one can force you to believe.  God himself chooses not to force you either, it's one of the greatest things about God; He is fair and just and loving.


-Matthew     =)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why I am Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

Can I just be really honest with you all?  I am terrified to write my thoughts on and surrounding the topic of abortion.  I have actually wanted to write them out for months now.  I suppose that on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I have found the courage to do so.

Being a man, I can see the outrage that this post might bring.  I can see the hateful comments that I might have to endure and statements like “you’re not a woman, how could you ever understand” being said.  Well ladies, you are correct, I will never be a woman.  I cannot fully understand how a woman thinks or what being pregnant is like.  However, what I am able to do is share my feelings and state my opinion on a topic that does not only affect women, but all human beings.  I am a man who is learning increasingly more from God that life is precious. All human beings, both women and men, are special and valued.  I view this topic as a human’s rights issue, not a women’s rights issue.

I view pregnancy as a gift and a privilege.  Pregnancy is a gift because you women are the only beautiful one’s who actually get the privilege of sustaining and delivering human life into this world.  Ladies, if it weren’t for your unique ability, the human race would be extinct.  My reason for speaking up is brought on by the anguish and pain I experience from this issue; how can so many of us accept this damaging mindset in which we casually discard how amazing conception is, how extraordinary pregnancy is, how precious giving birth is, and how valuable life is?  Life is a beautiful miracle, just watch a documentary about conception.  Is it comfortable all the time or convenient to have a baby; no it isn’t.  Yes, it is painful, and no, I do not totally understand exactly how painful it can at times be, but I do know that more often than not, this common phrase holds to be true; “no pain, no gain”.  Not to minimize how difficult pregnancies can be; but when it comes to enjoying many of the joys we experience in life, it takes great struggle, pain, and sacrifice.  If you want that chiseled body, it’s going to take lots of painful body sculpting workouts.  If you want to start a thriving company, you better believe it’s going to take a lot of personal sacrifice and hard work.  If you want to graduate from college, you will have to take the time to study and possibly struggle through all the tests and papers to get that degree.  If you want the joys of having children, you better believe it is going to, at times, be painful, a struggle, and require self-sacrifice.  Yet, having children can be so rewarding and often bring us some of the deepest joys in life.  I know that isn’t exactly on topic, but my point is, whether or not you in fact do want children, we need to be prepared and accountable for the actions that lead to bearing a child while accepting and expecting the possible results of those actions.  The important focus to understand is that these consequences involve human life, and more than just the consummating parties’ lives.  We cannot perceive the resulting outcome as anything less than precious and beautiful; regardless of how the action is played out.
Let’s talk about this action and the resulting consequence.  In a VERY simplistic description, you bring a child into this world by having sex, becoming pregnant, and giving birth after 9 months or so.  So what extremely cheap way (actually it’s free) can you not have a child?  Simply don’t get pregnant.  How do you not get pregnant?  You abstain from sex!  It’s that simple.  Now, in no way am I trying to act “holier than though”.  Most of my adult life, I have failed miserably in this department.  I wasn’t really taught about abstinence and its importance, I was taught how to use a condom.  I wasn’t taught about the emotional, physical, chemical, and spiritual connection that happens when two people join together in sexual intimacy.  I wasn’t taught that virginity was something sacred; something to be cherished.  This isn’t to blame anyone, but rather to point out that we, society as a whole, tend to do a REALLY poor job of teaching our youth the whole truth about sex.  Purity isn’t something to be scoffed at; it is something to be proud of.  Virginity should NEVER be a goal of young men or women to take from each other.  Men and women alike should NOT be applauded for their sexual conquests.  Why you might ask?  I now confidently stand up for abstinence because of every brokenhearted boy or girl out there.  I speak out for the millions of innocent lives aborted before they ever had a chance to be lived out.  I am speaking up for the men or women who have suffered from wondering who their biological parents are and questioning why they didn’t keep them.  I am standing up for the mothers and fathers who have had to make these heart-wrenching decisions.  I am standing up for each man or woman who gave themselves away in the false belief that it would keep someone around or fulfill them.  I stand up for abstinence, this lost habitude of preservation, because of the many tears I have shed by my foolish choices and for the many tears I have caused others by those same foolish choices.

My heart breaks for each aborted human being.  My heart breaks for each mother who chooses this painful act.  My heart breaks for the underlying cause of abortion, an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.  My heart breaks because we live in a society, a world, that is progressively teaching us the unhealthy view that sex is something to be marketed, used for our own selfish pleasure (no matter who it hurts, including oneself), and seen as something more trivial than special.

Many of you may not know this, but Jane Roe’s actual name is Norma Leah McCorvey.  Norma’s story is a very sad one.  Norma was a very troubled girl who endured an extremely terrible childhood.  She was raised by a violent alcoholic mother and her father left their family when she was a young teen.  She was placed in boarding schools and a reform school.  She was raped by a woman at one of these schools and later also by a man, her mother’s cousin… Without going into more detail, she was a very hurt girl. It’s been said and observed that, “hurting people; hurt people”.  It is quite commonplace in many psychological observances that people who are indeed hurting, tend to hurt others; including themselves.  McCorvey herself revealed that she sought an abortion because she was unemployable and greatly depressed.  The sad truth is that this young 21-year old girl was just looking for “a way out” of her own pain and wrongfully assumed aborting her third pregnancy would solve that problem.  Norma didn’t even end up having an abortion and has said herself that she believes she was the "pawn" of those two young and ambitious lawyers; Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington.  Norma actually has stated that she regrets the role she played in this negative change in our society; admitting she was a very confused young woman.  Norma is now fighting for the civil liberties of unborn babies and has been since the late 1990s.

It is in my observation, that Roe v. Wade had nothing to do with cherishing women or protecting them; it rather had more to do with two young lawyers wanting to use a controversial issue to further their own prominence in this countries legal system; mistakenly thinking that they were standing up for women’s rights by simply being women who won a significant court case involving women.  They were only partially correct, as the women’s rights movement began in order to provide equal opportunities to women in all aspects of life, including education, employment, and government representation.  However, they were horribly wrong by assuming that fighting for the equality of women in society could be associated, even in the slightest, with the inhumane practice of abortion.
The definition of being humane is “characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals”.  The very word, humane has the word “human” in it.  What blows my mind is that we have federal laws that protect the unborn babies of turtles, birds, and other animals, yet we actually have the audacity to create and support laws that kill human babies?!  Do not try to argue with me and tell me that a fetus is just a bunch of cells; guess what, SO ARE YOU!  The only difference between you and a fetus is that you are in different stages of human development.  The fetus, an unborn baby, is a child; he or she is a developing person, not just some lump of protoplasm.  I do not need my religious beliefs to convict me that a fetus is in fact alive and in the very earlier stages of a human being, science has already deemed a scientific law that proves this.  The law of biogenesis is “the observation that living things come only from other living things, by reproduction”.  Your eggs are alive in you and so is the sperm that penetrates it.  They are two halves of what it takes to make a human; the second they join together, that is the moment a living human being is created.  Not only that, but abortions go directly against the original Greek Hippocratic Oath that many physicians swear to uphold before practicing medicine; where it clearly is translated to stating: “I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a destructive pessary to cause an abortion.”  A pessary is any medical device inserted into a woman’s vagina.  This was/is a rule of doctors to protect unborn children and their mothers.  It makes my blood boil that we stamp the label of women’s rights on something as unrighteous as abortion.  Abortions have killed over 50 MILLION human beings alone in America; talk about genocide… and this is actually legal?!  Abortions not only sever unborn human life, they also hurt women physically and emotionally!  Women’s rights should be there to protect women, not hurt them.  The only thing “the right” to abort a pregnancy defends, are the ones living “unpunished” with the magnitude that quite literally is killing a human being; which most likely was the result of someone’s selfish act to seek pleasure without the desire to be responsible for the consequences of those actions.  Candidly speaking, it can be used as a jail-free card that allows people to have sex without any of the resulting concerns; the right to abort, which is sometimes used like a contraceptive, merely “protects” irresponsible people; allowing them to continue being selfish with their sexuality; whether that be a man or a woman.  There is no gender to blame here; both men and women are equally responsible for abortions; a baby cannot be created absent of one or the other.  I recognize that what I said may sound harsh, yet what I described as being selfish is exactly what the definition states; “a person, action, or motive lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure”.  I speak so strongly on the issue, not simply because of what I have learned from reading The Bible or learned from scientific or psychological studies regarding sex, I do so because I have lived out the opposite of what I am suggesting.  I have seen the pain I have caused others with my selfishness and I have felt that pain myself.  You can call me a hypocrite if you like, but it won’t stop me from changing and believing that the way I lived in the past was not the right way.  I now actively live out abstinence as I wait to marry my wife.  Although it’s not easy, it is much less painful and totally worth the little sacrifices I make.  I honor myself and any woman I date.  We all need to stop twisting the truth for personal gain, confusing what is right and wrong in our society, and making excuses for the consequences we try to avoid as a result of our self-centered actions and desires.

The topic of abortion shouldn’t even be a discussion because of the great cost abortion takes; a human life.  How is that not appalling to us all?!  You might say, “well, what about incest and rape?”  Those are both TERRIBLE things to have to endure.  It brings me great pain to think about each horrid action, more so than you readers can understand; yet NEITHER are viable excuses or justifications to have an abortion; not morally or ethically.  Yes, the mother or father did not ask to be abused in such a manner, yet neither did the resulting child ask to be created from it.  Abortion does not solve the problems of incest, unwanted pregnancy, and rape; in fact, it is a severely devastating and ineffective way to combat these horrible acts.  What can make a difference is accurate education about sex, a paradigm shift on how we view sex, and proper moral teaching on how we need to treat each other as fellow human beings; regardless of gender, age, race, religion, or social class. 

The organization, Feminists for Life, states; “Abortion hurts women, kills children and destroys families”; I couldn’t agree more.  Ladies and Gentlemen, whether you choose to believe the truth that each fetus is indeed human, worthy of protection at the point of conception, or not, I implore to you all; please terminate this dishonorable fight for the right to abort babies.  There is nothing admirable about a fight that creates ‘fairness’ by injustice.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire

As stated in the title, I am both “pro-life” and “pro-choice”.

Why I am “Pro-Life”:

·                       I am for the worldwide understanding that each and every human life is valuable and to be cherished, regardless of how it was conceived.

Why I am “Pro-Choice”:

·                       I am for choosing to educate our young men and women on the many dangers, both physically and emotionally, that are caused by abortions.
·                       I am for choosing to teach men and women, the very Biblical standpoint, that women are equal to men.  That Eve was created second out of Adam’s rib, not because she is any less important, but to show us that women are literally a part of men and should be treated as such; with the utmost care.
·                       I am for choosing to teach our boys and girls to protect themselves and their bodies; that being a virgin is something to hold onto and be proud of; not their sexual prowess.  We are sexual creatures, yet it is not in our sexual desires that make us strong or powerful people, it is in our learned ability to purely love and cherish one another.
·                       I am for choosing to teach our boys and girls that they are loved, valued, and important.  That they are not sexual objects.  That man and woman are the two most treasured parts of God’s beautiful creation; both being designed in His image.
·                       I am for choosing to teach both our boys and girls that although, in some ways, we are clearly different, none of these differences make either gender weaker or less important.  In fact, our inherent gender differences compliment each other almost perfectly.
·                       I am for choosing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; when it doesn’t cause another human being harm, danger, or death.

I cannot claim that I have always felt this way or acted as I should have.  I have cried many tears for the mistakes of my past and have done a lot of soul-searching these past two and half years.  I have and continue to grow as a man and human being.  God has this marvelous way of transforming lives and changing people for the better; He has and continues to do so in mine.  The Bible is actually filled with many troubled and hurting people: Jacob was a liar, Joseph was abused, Moses was a murderer, Rahab was a prostitute, David had an affair and was an accomplice to murder, Jonah ran from God and thought he was better than a whole city of people… all who chose to change their hearts with God; all of whom were changed for the better.  Shoot, Norma McCorvey is a great example herself.

My intentions for writing this are not out of judgment or anger towards anyone; women or men.  If anything, I am actually mad at the men, including myself, who have allowed themselves and society to devalue women; which has thus resulted in the telling signs we see today where some women devalue men.  It’s an ugly cycle that we all need to break free from.  Both men and women are unique and equally valuable.  I honestly believe that there should’ve never been a women’s suffrage or a women’s rights movement only because there should NEVER have been the need for one.  I wrote about abortion not just to enlighten our viewpoints on the matter, but also to expose its ugly culprit; irresponsible and egocentric sex.  I wrote my views on the topic with the hopes of speaking some truth and shedding some light on how it should not and cannot be acceptable for us to choose to kill human beings; regardless of the reason or ones developmental stage.  I believe that we have great opportunities in life, even responsibilities, to show love and exhibit compassion; even after the most horrific of acts.  Saving innocent lives rather than aborting them should be one of these events.  You may think that you do not have a choice, but you do.  You always have a choice.  Choose life.  Choose Love.

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” - Thomas Jefferson

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life” - John F. Kennedy

“There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.” - Nelson Mandela

“If you truly believe in the value of life, you care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society.” - Joni Eareckson Tada

I challenge each of you, including myself, to live a life of purity; to see each other as valued equals in society as well as in life; and to protect one another through acts of selfless love.



p.s. during my research, I discovered the book Won by Love by Norma McCorvey.  It is a book I plan on reading myself and if any of you are also more curious about her story, you should check it out too.