One day a few weeks ago my doorbell rang. I went to the door to answer. Two people were standing on my porch. They were well dressed, with the man carrying a bag of literature and the woman held a tablet PC. I immediately recognized them as Jehovah Witnesses. They greeted me and asked about my day.
Usually, when the Jehovah Witnesses come to my door, I tell them that I am a spiritualist minister, and I am not interested in changing my religion. Then they leave. But, this time they didn’t leave. The woman asked if she could read a brief verse from the Bible. I told her OK. She said that this verse was from I Peter, and she proceeded to read the verse to me. This is what she read.
I Peter 5:5-7 King James Version (KJV)
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
I told her thanks, and they turned to walk down my driveway. I went inside but immediately got from Spirit that this would be a good lecture topic. I opened the door and caught up with them in the driveway. “Can you tell what was that scripture again? I’m going to use it in my lecture on Sunday.”
Both the man and the woman smiled, and she told me that it was I Peter 5:5-7. The man asked where I was a minister. I told him it was at a spiritualist church downtown. He asked me what we believed. I told him we believe in God; the Golden Rule; the soul never dies; and that nobody is ever beyond redemption.
He told me that Jehovah Witnesses believe these same things. He then looked up at my office window and saw my One People – World Peace sign that I use to keep the sun out of my eyes when I am writing. He asked if I believe in world peace. I said I did, and he said Jehovah Witnesses refuse to serve in wars. I told him I thought that wars were a major waste of money and lives.
He then said spiritualists and Jehovah Witnesses have a lot more in common in our beliefs than he had thought. I told him that I had found truths and good people in every religion. They wished me a good day. The three of us walked away thinking that this was a good conversation to have had. We unexpectedly found common ground in our beliefs.
This very brief encounter was a great reminder to me that we need to honor and respect the beliefs of others, whatever they may be. My personal position on religion is as follows, “If your religion works for you, it works for me that it works for you.” I traveled to a lot of places around the world when I was working, and I met a lot of people. I found that the vast majority of people are honorable, trustworthy and did not wish to do harm to me or others.
We are living in times where we are bombarded with events from around our country and from around the world. The focus is not on the good, but on the bad. Sometimes the focus is on the really, really bad. If we believe that a large number of the people we encounter are bad, the world becomes a very scary place. Our trust erodes until we become paranoid about those we meet if there is the slightest indication that they are not like us.
“Not like us” can be race, religion, color, sexual orientation, or whatever makes the person or group appear to be different from ourselves. If we are secure in the love and trust that we have in ourselves, others and God, we do not need to fear people in general. It is the lack of trust and feeling of worth for everyone we meet that leads to the definition of FEAR as being False Evidence Appearing Real. The result of believing that everyone is potentially a threat generates overwhelming paranoia and has us willing to barricade ourselves from the world.
There are some very evil people in the world. There are people that you cannot trust, and those that broadcast negative energy into the world. My advice is to avoid these people as much as possible. When I meet people lacking in love and compassion, I respond to that energy; we all do. That negative energy is the exception and not the rule to how the world exists. The final stanza of I Peter 5:7 is “Cast all your cares upon God, for God cares for you.” This is the faith we need to have to trust others.
You are a child of the Creator and worthy to be here. Be grateful for God’s love and for the good that surrounds you. We have difficult lessons in our lives, and the most difficult lessons often have the greatest value. If you retreat from the knowledge that you are to love yourself first, you are hampered in your attempt to love others. You miss the greatest lesson of all when you fail to love your self. You are denying your connection to God, and your peace will suffer in your fear and doubt.
Find your common ground and stand on the foundation that you are here for the purpose of loving and serving everyone, including yourself and the Creator. Go with Grace and Peace.
© Copyright 2018
Rev. Jim Hetzer