Training the Kids to Fight
While the parents are fighting their neighbors on these fronts the kids are fighting their friends in the streets for bragging rights on who has the coolest car, loudest boom box, newest rims, fastest engine, coolest clothing, tattoos, piercings, best fade away jump shot, fastball pitch, swing, kick, throw, punch, dodge, leap, swim, fish, drive, ad infinitum. All of which began when little Billy got the first tricycle on the block or little Suzie got the coolest Barbie in the neighborhood. Maybe it was before that, when the parents insisted that at 3 years old the kid have their first $100 pair of Nike tennis shoes (Nike is Greek for victory). How could love possibly exist in this environment? How can anyone love their competitor? But this is the world mindset. This is why schools are such a harsh place for many kids to try to exist. The cruelty of kids can nearly scar a person for life. All so the person can jockey for position in this life and at nearly every age.
Who is truly at peace with their neighbor?
Is there anywhere where this competition is not found? Is there any place where fallen man will not draw a line and commence a competition? From cradle to grave it seems to happen. Have we not heard it all? “We planned our kids while every one else’s were ‘accidents.'” or “My kid goes to the best school and gets the best grades.” or “My kid is on the honor society.” Then there are the stickers on the bumper; “Proud parent of a Principal Honor Roll student.” And if that were not enough, “My kid beat up your honor roll student!” “My kids are on the deans list.” or “My kid is first chair in the band or is the ‘star quarterback.’ My kid has an academic scholarship. My kid went to private school. My kid is going to Harvard; … oh, really? well mine is going to Oxford!” On and on and on. The madness is nearly enough to gag a person. How many kids have been destroyed by their parents working day and night to forge a child they can be proud of and boast about? Some kids have come to despair even of life because of it. How about this, how about lets just love them and seek God’s will for their lives?
The battle for status
I submit to you that the primary reason people are not happy is because they are caught up in the spirit of competition that dominates their lives. They struggle to be happy because they are always reaching for something newer, better, cooler, more expensive, etc., and can never just be thankful for what they have and the state they are in. What an awesome thing it would be to simply stop competing with everyone in all these areas we have mentioned and simply rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15) How can a person have compassion on their neighbor when he’s about to lose his house if he feels exalted because he has his paid on time? How can you weep for someone that are are competing against when their misfortune positions you higher than them in this world’s rat race? What use is it to bemoan the gang in the streets that wear red or blue and fight to the death- but wist not that they battle and fight and war – even soliciting God into the mix- praying for more and greater – why? That they may ‘consume’ these things on their own lusts. But lust for what? All that is in the world- simply, possessions, popularity and pleasure. God will not be a part of this fighting and warring. God is not going to bless a person so they can exalt themselves above their fellows. In this the spirit of this age is running utterly contrary to the Spirit of God and we must identify it when it tries to influence our lives.
My talents and abilities as weapons in this war?
So when your on your way to work and get cut-off by that aggressive driver that’s hoping to get to work an hour early to get that extra overtime to get that larger check to buy that new gadget bigger than the neighbor he don’t like or the buddy that he heard through the grapevine- just bought; consider all this. Consider why it is so difficult to rejoice when someone is blessed. Ask yourself why there is such envy- such displeasure at the blessing of others? Could it not be because we have fallen victim in society to the popular culture that would rather see men and women fight in the afore mentioned battle fields than in the streets with their guns and fists? Was the BBC right when they suggested in the acclaimed video series, The Century of the Self. that these things have been fostered in order to control the dangerous crowd and the hostile forces that exist within fallen man? Can human nature be so depraved- that the masses have to be controlled in this way? This is a radical question to consider.
Why many cannot rejoice at the blessing of their neighbor
We should ask ourselves, when was the last time I was happy that my neighbor got a better paying job than me? When was the last time that I wept when they lost their job and their home was foreclosed upon? What about if their child did well in school? If we struggle in these and similar areas there is a good chance that we are failing in Romans 12:2 and are allowing the world to press us into its mold. Born again believers have been delivered from the spirit of this age. The challenge to all of this is the ongoing spirit of competition that keeps us from feeling like we are all on ‘the same team’. Nobody gets excited when the competition succeeds. God never intended that we look upon each other as ‘competitors’. This is the worlds ways and it has profited the big corporations in the multiplied billions. What happens if we play the game? Everyone ends up on an island- not in the Spirit of the New Testament, but pressed into the mold of this wretched world (Romans 12:2). We lose the sense of love and compassion and rejoicing that God desires that we experience one for another. In all reality when a person suffers loss- there could actually be pleasant feelings because they are less of a threat. God deliver us from this brutal game that steals our love, compassion and joy. May men be transformed by the renewing of their minds having renounced love for this present evil world.