Devotional for Week January 14th
When Jesus was here on earth, in the flesh, many people saw him and interacted with him but arrived at different views of him. They touched him, they saw him, they heard him, they probably smelled him too. Some saw him as a prophet or some heard him as a wandering minister, like so many others at the same time. Some saw him as a peasant. Some heard him as a disturbance and some saw him as a troublemaker. Some touched the edge of his garment and were healed and experienced him as a healer or holy man. Some heard his words and were touched and some were not. Today, few things have changed. We hear God’s Word and some react differently to it than others. We see miracles and some believe and some do not. God touches us through a sunset or a baby and some experience renewal, redemption and some do not.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are widely regarded as among the founders of our country. Washington was a soldier and a man of faith who was married to one woman his entire life. Thomas Jefferson was never a soldier, he was a Unitarian, he was a man of letters, and had many affairs most notably with Sally Hemmings, his black slave. Ben Franklin was also had many affairs, was divorced several times, and he was a scientist and a member of the notorious Hellfire club (hopefully he is not today). These three people could not have been more different these ways. Yet, they accomplished something great together. They put aside their differences and found the ability to work together for the government of their country.
Just as Mr. Washington did not allow himself to be prejudice against the differing beliefs of his fellow founding fathers, we must allow ourselves to work shoulder to shoulder with those who disagree with us or who are even on the opposite pole of our beliefs. We must show respect to them who challenge us. For their perspective may help to increase the understanding of our own and show us the weaknesses in it.
However, this is not a reason to allow disrespect of one’s beliefs nor to stand by while someone else’s beliefs are maligned. Search and research the truth that is right for you. Question yourself on the perspective and experience you had when you encountered God. Stand up for the truth you know.
If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be atheists.
George Washington, letter to Tench Tilghman asking him to secure a carpenter and a bricklayer for his Mount Vernon estate, March 24, 1784, in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion (1963) p. 118, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”