Thoughts to Ponder

 
Hurt people hurt people
I'm not an optimist. I'm a prisoner of hope.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
 
Ignoring the facts doesn’t change the facts.
 The highest result of education is tolerance.
Helen Keller
 
I think people need love or they die inside.
John R Williams, International Educational Foundation
 
Who can be good, unless made so by loving?
Augustine
 
How else, but through a broken heart, may Christ enter in?
Oscar Wilde
 
Being kind is more important than being right. 
Andy Rooney
 
Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds. 
William Shakespeare  
 
I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.
Abraham Lincoln
 
It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
Real communication happens when people feel safe.
Ken Blanchard
 
Cruel words hurt deeply, but loving words heal quickly.
Listening is the very first thing we owe the oppressed.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. 
Plato
 
The practice of peace and reconciliation is one
of the most vital and artistic of human actions.
Thich Nhat Hanh
 
 God and I have something in common - we both love you!
Love is hard to give away because it keeps coming back
Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
H Jackson Brown, Jr. 
 
How else, but through a broken heart, may Christ enter in?
The only way to make a person worthy of love is to love them. 
Thomas Merton
 
Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God,
Bob Pierce
 
Don’t confuse being "soft" with seeing the other guy’s point of view.
George Bush
 
God, help us not to despise or oppose what we do not understand. 
William Penn
 
Man's way leads to a hopeless end;  God's way leads to an endless hope.
Minds are like parachutes;  they function effectively only when they’re open.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of an opinion without the discomfort of thought.
John F. Kennedy
 
We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.
Helen Keller
 
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
The greatest undeveloped resource is faith; the greatest unused power is prayer.
Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith – it is the price we pay for loving.
It’ s so much easier to suggest solutions 
when you don’t know much about the problem.
Malcolm Forbes
 
Change comes from a degree of discomfort that 
allows for and spurs thought and action.
William Blum  
 
Compassion means being so close to someone 
that his tears run down your cheeks.
 The practice of peace and reconciliation
is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.
Lord, when I am wrong,  make me willing to change;
when I am right,  make me easy to live with.
Where the heart is  willing it will find a  thousand ways,
but where it is unwilling it will find a thousand excuses.
The truth can set us free, 
but only if we're always in the process of discovering it.
Rabbi Irwin Kula, Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life
Only in the context of grace  can we face our sin;
only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds.
Henri Nouwen

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:7,8
 
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no harm to its neighbor;
therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:9-10
 
I know whom I have believed,
and am convinced that He is able
to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
2 Timothy 1:12
 
One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder 
where you are when you don’t come home at night.
 Margaret Mead
 
If God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, 
what right do we have to condemn?
Cal Thomas
 
Life is a grindstone,
but whether it grinds us down
or polishes us up depends on us.
The first half of our life is spent
ignoring our parents’ advice...
and the second half trying to keep
our children from ignoring ours!
"Forgiveness is the economy of the heart. 
[It] saves the expense of anger,
the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits."
Hannah More
 
Nothing will make us  so charitable and tender to the  faults of others as, 
by self-examination, thoroughly to know our own.
Fenelon
 
It’s not enough to belong to a religion; you also have to put it into practice.
Religion is like a medicine; you have to ingest it to combat the illness.
the Dalai Lama
 
Dear God, 
Please make all the bad people good
and the good people nice. 
Amen.
 
Repeat Performance:
Oh God of Second Chances and New Beginnings,
Here I am again.
There are  two ways to slide easily through life:
to believe everything or to doubt everything.
Both ways save us from thinking.
The Holy Spirit's voice is only as loud
as our willingness to hear it. 
To be otherwise would compromise our free will, 
which the Holy Spirit seeks to restore, not to destroy.
Marianne Williamson  
 
"God created us to be in relationship; 
first with Him and then with one another.
And the need to belong and be a part of  someone else’s life
is still one of our  primary basic needs."
Willie and Elaine Oliver
 
Life is too short, and we have never too much time
for gladdening the hearts of those
who are traveling the dark journey with us. 
Oh, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind!
Henri F. Amiel
 
God’s love to sinners involves
His identifying Himself with their welfare.
Such an identification is involved
in all love; it is, indeed, 
the test
of whether love is genuine or not.
J I Packer
 
Biologically, adults produce children.
Spiritually, children produce adults.
Most of us do not grow up
until we have helped children do so.
Thus do the generations form a braided cord.
George F. Will
 
You may discover that what truly matters in life
has less to do with getting exactly the right answers
than with asking the truly important questions.
Timothy Johnson, MD, medical commentator on Good Morning America
 
The essential problem before the church is not 
reconciling homosexuality with the Bible, 
but to reconcile the continuous abuse and condemnation 
of gay and lesbian persons with the love of Christ.
Dr. Harold G Porter
 

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism
and other forms of bigotry 
in that it seeks
to dehumanize a large group of people,

to deny their humanity, their dignity, and personhood.
This sets the stage for further repression
and violence
that spreads all too easily
to victimize the next minority group.

Coretta Scott King, Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998

Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery,
Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida,
and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement.
Many of the courageous men and women were fighting
for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices
for their own, and I salute their contributions.
Coretta Scott King, Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1998

The more we study the divine character
in the light of the cross,
the more
we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness

blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly
we discern innumerable evidences of a love
that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing
a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child.
Steps to Christ, E G White, p. 15

The Savior is still carrying forward the same work as when
He proffered the water of life to the woman of Samaria.
Those who call themselves His followers may despise
and shun the outcast ones, but no circumstance of birth
or nationality, no condition of life,
can turn away His love from the children of men.
E G White, Desire of Ages, p. 194

The soft-minded man fears change. 
He feels security in the status quo, 
and he has an almost morbid fear of the new.
For him, the greater pain is the pain of a new idea. 
Martin Luther King
 
The truth can set us free, but only
if we’re always in the process of discovering it.
Rabbi Irwin Kula
 
When we honestly ask ourselves which people in our lives
mean the most to us, we often find that it’s those who,
instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds
with a gentle and caring hand. The friend who can be silent with us
in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us
in an hour of grief or bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing,
not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness
– that is the friend who cares.

Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude
 
Mother Teresa realized that the greater poverty is
to be unloved, unwanted, rejected and lonely. 
She saw the physical poverty, but she saw more - 
the poverty of the soul which needs love and compassion, 
but which one may not find in the church.
Let it be love which builds bridges between us
and encourages us to do everything possible. 
Let love for each other and love for the truth be the 
answer to present difficulties and tensions.
From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, 
From the laziness that is content with half-truth, 
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all the truth, 
Oh God of Truth, deliver us!
Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling 
what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. 
It is the knowledge  that there can  never really be any peace and  joy for me 
until there is peace and joy finally for you, too.
Frederick Buechner
 
If I am inconsiderate about the comforts of others, 
or their feelings, or even their little weaknesses;
if I am careless about their little hurts 
and miss opportunities to smooth their way,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.
Amy Carmichael
 
Among the varieties of American innocence that were lost on 9/11,
perhaps the most intriguing was the mass discovery of what
it feels like to be hated. ‘How can they hate us,’ people asked,
‘just because we’re Americans, when they don’t even know us?’ 

Well, I thought, welcome to my world.
People hate homosexuals all the time, across great distances,
from places where they feel threatened by us
even though most of us would never contemplate living there.
 
We have a lot of work to do in our common struggle
against bigotry and discrimination. I say “common struggle”
because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry
and discrimination are equally wrong and should be
opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere.
Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation
is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy
as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.
Coretta Scott King, 2000 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Atlanta, GA
 
A pastor was appealing to his congregation
to reach out to gays 
as Jesus would.
A concerned parishioner countered, 
"But then more gays would come and fill up our church." 
The pastor responded, "Yes, that's true,
and they could sit in the 
pews beside 
the adulterers, murderers, liars, thieves, gossipers, etc."
It appears to me that the problem of homosexuality 
isn’t what it does to people who have that orientation
(and their families), 
but what it does
to those of us who are trying to 
reflect
Christ’s character in our lives and communities.
Steve Chavez, Associate Editor, Adventist Review
 
When we honestly ask ourselves which people
in our lives mean the most to us,
we often find that it’s those who,
instead of giving advice, solutions or cures,
have chosen rather to share our pain
and touch our wounds with a gentle and caring hand.
The friend who can be silent with us
in a moment of despair or confusion, 
who can stay with us in an hour of grief or bereavement, 
who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, 
and face with us the reality of our powerlessness
— that is the friend who cares.
Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude
 
He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in.
Edwin Markham
 
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace!
Where there is hatred,  let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt,  faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy...
St. Francis of Assisi
 
 A Franciscan Blessing
quoted in the Adventist Review  special issue on Loma Linda University
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice,
oppression and exploitation of people,
so that you may wish for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in this world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
 
Lean Hard
Child of My love, lean hard, 
and let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child, I shaped it; 
poised it in My own hand,
made no proportion in its weight 
to thine unaided strength;
for even as I laid it on, I said, 
"I shall be near, and while he leans on Me,
this burden shall be Mine, not his;
so shall I keep My child within
the circling arms of My own love.
Here lay it down, nor fear
to impose it on a shoulder which
upholds the government of worlds.
Yet closer come; thou art not yet near enough;
I would embrace thy care 
so I might feel My child reposing on my breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it.
Doubt not then, but, loving Me, lean hard!
 
Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you.
Matthew 5:44
 
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion,
Philippians 1:6
 
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2
 
By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35
 
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3
 
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8
 
Blessed be the Lord, Who daily bears our burdens.
Psalm 68:19
 
As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.
Isaiah 66:13
 
Do not judge or you, too, will be judged!
Matthew 7:1
 

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.
E G White, RH.1892-07-26, p. 8

The Reformation did not, as many suppose, end with Luther. It is to be continued to the close of this world's history. Luther had a great work to do in reflecting to others the light which God had permitted to shine upon him, yet he did not receive all the light which was to be given to the world. From that time to this, new light has been continually shining upon the Scriptures, and new truths have been constantly unfolding.
E G White, Great Controversy, p. 149

The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother’s yearning sympathy for her wayward child.
E G White, Steps to Christ, p. 15

We must not for a moment think that there is no more light, no more truth, to be given us. We are in danger of becoming careless, by our indifference losing the sanctifying power of truth, and composing ourselves with the thought, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing."[REV. 3:17.] While we must hold fast to the truths which we have already received, we must not look with suspicion upon any new light that God may send.
E G White, Gospel Workers, p. 311

The Savior is still carrying forward the same work as when He proffered the water of life to the woman of Samaria. Those who call themselves His followers may despise and shun the outcast ones; but no circumstance of birth or nationality, no condition of life, can turn away His love from the children of men. To every soul, however sinful, Jesus says, “If thou hadst asked of Me, I would have given thee living water.”
E G White, Desire of Ages, p. 194

The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God's people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what.
E G White, Testimonies 5, p. 707

Peter exhorts his brethren to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God's word and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative and seek to avoid discussion.
E G White, Gospel Workers, p. 298

No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it with the meekness of Christ. But many do not do this. When a controverted point is presented, they pour in question after question, without admitting a point when it is well sustained. O, may we act as men who want light! May God give us His Holy Spirit day by day, and let the light of His countenance shine upon us, that we may be learners in the school of Christ. 
E G White, Gospel Workers, p. 301

"In matters of conscience, the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions.”
E G White, Desire of Ages, p. 250