I saw the movie "Crash" tonight. I have to say, I was more impressed than I expected. As I watched the film, two thoughts came to the forefront of my consciousness:
1) Love your neighbor. The movie dealt with relationships (and yet, it wasn't really a chic-flick; imagine that!), and whether taking a gun in hand to avenge a wrong, or reacting in anger at a scared, hurting person who rages at you unjustly, or simply being in your own little shell oblivious of real people around you, the answer to the sickness of these types of relationships was the foundational proclamation by Yahshua, who said that the two most important life-rules for living are to love YHWH with all your being, and to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. If we all made this second rule of loving others (i.e. "the Golden Rule" - "Do unto others as you would have them do to you") the starting base of our lives, and constantly strove to live our lives by this rule, our lives and our world would be healthier than they are.
2) Do the right thing. The movie also had some subplots in which certain right/wrong decisions had to be made: "Do I frame the innocent guy to 'pay' for the guilt of my family member, or do I do the right thing?" The answer should always be, "Do the right thing, even if it costs you dearly."
A third thought came to mind later: You may not be who you think you are. In the movie, one person who was the bad guy turned out to be the good guy, and one who was the good guy turned out to be the bad guy. (Actually, this happened with several characters.) And the solution to this problem is to refer to Thought #2 above - "Do the right thing, even if it costs you dearly."
A friend pointed out a fourth thought, which I deem important: Don't judge people without knowing them. You've heard it since Grade School in the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover".
The evening was capped by a message from God as I did my nightly Bible reading. In Luke 12, Yahshua condemned hypocrisy. In the same breath he pointed out that, "[t]here is nothing covered that won't be uncovered, nothing hidden that won't be made known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an ear in private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops' (Luke 12:2-3). In other words, if you're sneaking around with your best friend's husband, or you're hiding your stash of porn mags, or you're secretly drinking or doing drugs, or you're slyly stealing from the cash register, you may think you're doing these things in the dark, but you're not. One day, in a grand courtroom, the bailiff will stand before all your friends and family and spouse and kids and enemies and announce to the world that you did X, Y, and Z in private. You may think you're hiding it, but you're not. I think it would be best if we learned to live our lives in such a way that we won't be ashamed of our private lives when we're in the Defendant's Seat. Don't be a hypocrite: be in private the person you pretend to be in public.
Luke 12 also has some other good nuggets:
* God knows every detail about you, even the number of hairs on your head. You may think He's not paying attention, that He's ignoring you (after all, He hasn't answered your prayer, has He?), but He's not. He knows everything about you (including those things you do in private, which are being recorded for announcing to the public later) (Luke 12:7).
* Store up treasure for God, not for yourself. Don't spend your resources on yourself. (Luke 12:16-21)
* Don't focus on supporting your lifestyle: instead, "Seek His Kingdom .... Sell your possessions and give to the poor" (Luke 12:31,33).
* The sinner who knows better will be punished more severely than the sinner who is merely ignorant (Luke 12:47-48).
This evening has been educational, and encourages me to take these lessons to heart.