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Weekly Blog

Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner

We’ve all heard before, “Hate the Sin, Not the Sinner”. Is that how you handle conflict? Or do you, like me, fail to abide by that practice?
 
I remember living through my first wife’s addiction, confessing to my therapist how upset I was with her. Given the family dysfunction related to addiction, the disease was killing her and it was killing me, emotionally and physically (stress, weight loss, headaches). Gratified to hear that my feelings were normal didn’t mean that they were acceptable. Having heard the above expression previously, it was the first time I really began to understand “hate the sin, not the sinner”.    

In Scripture we read…“do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12) and “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). Another Scripture verse that speaks to this issue is where Peter asks how often he is to forgive. Jesus responds to him in Matthew 18:22, “I do not say to you even seven times, but even seventy times seven times”.

All of these verses speak to “hate the sin, not the sinner”. As I’ve learned, one of the tricks is to not assume malice. Most often, when someone does something that upsets you, they’ve not done it to intentionally hurt you. It helps to have an attitude of understanding, believing that the other person wasn’t intentionally wanting to harm you, then working to resolve the matter. BTW, all of this is easier said than done. It really takes practice.

My experience would indicate that there’s another factor in all of this, that is the complicity that we may have in the conflict. How have our actions added to the dilemma? What role have we played? How does how we feel about ourselves contribute to the reaction we’ve had? All questions I’ve had to ask myself as I mature in life and in my faith.

Let’s consider a more global issue, i.e. abortion. As Christians, I’m hopeful that we can all agree that it is an intrinsic evil, as identified by the teachings of the Church and documented by the Unite States Conference of Catholic Bishops. After 49 years, Roe v. Wade was finally overturned by the Supreme Court, an answer to many prayers by many people for many years.

With the above, we’ve seen some real ugliness, whether it be personal attacks, protesting that turns violent, pro-life facilities being vandalized, and threats being made.

As Christians, we need to abide by Matthew 7:12 and 18:22, as well as Mark 12:31. We need to recognize that ALL OF US are beloved children of God. We’re also all sinners, each and every one of us. Another verse I’m reminded of here is when Jesus says, “how can you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and not see the board in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).

It may be easy to hate the protesters sited above. I get it and I’m guilty of it. Their actions are reprehensible. But that’s not what Jesus calls us to do. And the reality is that hating them isn’t going to change them, nor our world.

I’d encourage all of us to try very hard to “hate the sin, not the sinner”. It’s the only way we’re going to change hearts and change our world. I’d also suggest that we examine our role in all things. And always, for guidance and as our greatest example, go to Jesus.

As always, please contact me at [email protected] with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.

Always remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Why So Angry

If you’re paying attention today, especially related to politics (no…this isn’t a political blog), so many people are so angry. Whether related to politics or not, it seems that we’re less tolerant than in the past. Common decency is much less prevalent. Many of us were taught, “if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all”. That approach appears to be a thing of the past. 

It seems that not only does everyone have an opinion about everything, but that they are very eager to share it and with no filter as related to who the audience may be. It used to be that our rights stopped when they negatively impacted another. Today you’d think that it’s our right to insult anyone we want.

It’s a Problem for Me

I’ve noticed an anger building in me over the last several months. I’ve told myself that it’s a result of my frustration with how things are being done (or not done). It manifests itself in me yelling at the television while watching political commentary (nope…I won’t tell you which side I’m yelling at) or being critical of leadership to others, whether in the Church or the secular world.

In prayer recently, I very clearly sensed that the Lord said to me, “lose the anger; your heart is hardening, which is not of Me”. Wow!!! That smacked me between the eyes. Before that very moment, I hadn’t thought of myself as being angry and as such, hadn’t considered what else may be going on within me.

Where is all the anger coming from?

I discerned that the anger stemmed from ego and pride, things that I thought that I had in fairly good check. You see, in my mind I had better ideas and solutions than those being exercised by others. It not being practical to share my ideas with the people from the institutions or organizations I was angry with because they’re not in my immediate sphere, it’s not like I was rejected, attacked, or offended personally in any way. I just thought my ideas were better and that they were exhibiting poor judgement in doing otherwise. And I was angry about it.

If you’ve had a chance to review my website or read my free eBook , you know that one of my primary themes is the healthy self-love we attain by understanding and internalizing God’s unconditional love. And you further know that the person who knows such love is very comfortable with who she is, made in God’s image and likeness….to do great things. That person is not bothered by others’ thoughts or opinions, but instead is accepting (not necessarily agreeing or endorsing) of what they have to say. Not suffering from an inflated ego or pride, he doesn’t have to be invested in always proving himself right. Nor does he get angry over such things.

I had let pride creep back into my life. Ever so subtle, my ego (which stands for “edge God out”) had swelled. They being my most challenging sins from my past, I was somewhat shaken, to be honest, to the degree to which they resurfaced. Satan was at work and I didn’t see it coming.

You may have other theories as to why you sometimes get angry. I’d love for you to share them with me at [email protected].

How to Overcome Anger

Here’s my experience. When I live from that place of God’s unconditional love (knowing that God made me with special gifts and put me on this earth for a purpose, all according to His plan, which includes wanting me to be happy) for me, the anger doesn’t exist. Neither does it when I’m practicing surrender, gratitude, humility, and love.  

We Have a Great God

The good news is that we have a great God Who forgives all. He loves us unconditionally. He’s there for all of us all the time. He knows that we’re going to fall down. He’s always there to pick us back up. It was anger for me, caused by ego and pride. What is it for you? Take it to our Lord. He doesn’t disappoint. 

God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph


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Weekly Blog

Our Challenging Times…Three Things We Can All Do

Regardless of whether you’re on the political left or right, or right down the middle as an independent, we can probably all agree that our country is facing challenging times. In talking to folks, although the above is the consensus, it’s typically followed up with:

  • “There’s nothing I can do” (or)
  • “What can I do about it?”

As indicated in previous posts, I’d suggest taking that question to prayer, like we should all things, asking God to speak into our challenges and our lives. That said, there are three things that all of us as Christians can and should do, assuming we want to make a positive impact on those around us and the broader society…yes our country.

Those three things are indicated in the:

  • Great Commandments – Mark 12: 30-31 or Matthew 22:37-39
    1. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”.
    2. “The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
  • Great Commission – Matthew 28:19-20
    1. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

I heard a Priest once say that hardly anyone confesses sinning against the First Commandment, which is “I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me”. The fact is that in abiding by this Commandment, including how it is stated in the positive above (“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength”), the other 9 Commandments are much less an issue. I don’t say this because they’re not important. I say it because if we truly love God and do so before all else, the degree to which we sin is far less.

In abiding by the first part of the Great Commandments, we’re happier and healthier, helping those around us to be the same.

Many of us know the Golden Rule as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 7:12. Stated in the positive, as Jesus expressed in the Great Commandments, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. What kind of world would we live in if this were always first and foremost in our minds?

The Great Commission speaks to our call, not a mere suggestion by Jesus, to share the love of Christ, to share our faith with others. Jesus makes the point that He’ll be with us every step along the way.

So many in our society, as evidenced by the dramatic decline in practicing Christians (including Catholics), don’t know the love of Christ. Statistically we’ve gone from 75% claiming themselves as being Christian in the 80s and 90s to just 50% today.

What would happen if we could change the above trend? Think about it. Think about the impact it would have. In summary, love God, love others, and share our faith. What would our country look like if we all did a lot more of that?

The next time you think “there’s nothing I can do” (or) “what can I do about it?”, do the above. Again…Love God. Love others. Share our faith.

As always, please contact me with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember….God made you for GREATNESS!!!

 

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

It’s Been Four Years!

April 25th marks the Feast Day of St. Mark the Evangelist, my patron. It also marks the day, four years ago, that I began posting weekly…never missing a Wednesday since. As such, this is my 209th straight blog. Other posts, mostly on Fridays, have included notable quotes or short videos (vlogs), in addition to the occasional holiday or holy day message. Wow!!! I can’t believe it’s been four years. 

I’d like to thank you for being on this journey with me. It’s been my pleasure to engage with you. It’s my sincere hope that you’ve been as blessed as me by our time together. I’ve learned a lot over these four years. That said, the message has never changed….knowing the unconditional love of Jesus Christ is foundational to who we are. And fundamental to living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

Given the impact that the Lord has made on my life, my passion continues to be sharing the message with as many as possible. As such, I have a favor to ask. Assuming you like what you’ve experienced, can you help me share it with other?  

Weekly Blog 

This is what you’ve been receiving every Wednesday…primarily real-life issues related back to the faith…all free of charge. Please consider sending this (link) to a friend or two, helping them along the same journey you’re on.  

Mark’s Book 

Overwhelming Pursuit: Stop Chasing Your Life and Live (found in my store)…like my blogs, it’s all based on real-life experiences, where all my lessons were learned. It’s my deepest desire that you and your friends benefit from what our dear Lord taught me. It’s not about the money. 

  • If you want a book and can’t afford the $15.95, pay me what you can. 
  • If you can’t afford it at all but still want it, I’ll give it to you for free. 

My passion is getting the message that God so blessed me with to as many as possible.  

Speaking Opportunities

As part of my ministry, I do keynote talks, Parish Missions, and seminars, most of which are done on the Parish level. I’d be grateful for you to connect me with your Pastor. You can see a sampling of the things I speak on my speaking page. Should you be interested, I’d suggest emailing me so that we can connect and discuss the opportunity.  

All of my past blogs are archived on the website. There are free resources, i.e., eBook there, as well as my course and other useful items. 

I know you know, but my primary message consists of the following at a high level: 

  • God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. 
  • In understanding and internalizing that love, the unimaginable is achievable. 
  • God made you for Greatness. 

The problem is that nobody talks about these things. Let’s change that together. 

As indicated, I’m blessed that you’ve accompanied my on this journey. I’ve asked for your help above. Likewise, if there’s anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph