This I believe about belief - 15 April 2019

Hennie Symington

I was filled with delight day after day/rejoicing always in his presence,/ rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. Proverbs 8:30-31

If you want to put someone in a spot ask him or her out the blue, what he or she believes. (Of course, the saying goes that politics and religion are to be avoided in most polite social circles.) For some it is difficult to verbalise what they believe, while others have been inculcated from a young age about their faith and what is right and necessary and what is unacceptable.

The customs and visual signs of various cultures and customs differ from nation to nation. In Japan only about 2% of the population profess to be Christians, yet you are dealing with a highly cultured and disciplined society characterised by mutual respect for one another, as well as for people who do not share their culture. Is would appear as if these people, who revered their emperor as a god until late in the 20th century, have something inside of them which binds them together as a disciplined and just society. Respecting others is almost second nature to them. Behaving in public in an orderly and civilized way, not walking on the wrong side of the road and crossing when a traffic light is red is not an option. It just isn’t done. What about garbage? Well, there are no garbage bins on the street. You take your rubbish home and dispose of it in the proper way.

What about a Christian country like South Africa? Of course, etiquette and good manners is not a religion, however, the way you interact with others, is a clear reflection of what you believe, regardless of what you profess to believe. The Law and the Commandments spell it out clearly: Love your neighbour as you love yourself. Our constitution even makes provision for this by offering us “Family Day” and “Freedom Day” where we all have the right to celebrate these important dates on our calendar with mutual respect. Let’s us help each other to celebrate it in the spirit of “Ubuntu” – which acknowledges that you are a person through others, and that God loves us all.

Prayer: Lord, so often we are unkind to those whom we regard as “the others”. Yet you are the one who wrote the “Constitution for Human Relationships” very clearly states in your Word: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Teach me to obey the letter of your law, but also the spirit. Amen

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