“Respect and Trust Are Earned By Individuals”-Not Groups

Respect and Trust reflect our individual character. And, I believe those two words should always be used together. However, today it appears those words are rarely used at all, especially not for individuals.
Today we’ve turned more to group associations; (Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Politicians, Police Officers, Republicans, Democrats, Unemployed, Uninsured, Uneducated, Ex-cons, and Christians.) Today everyone is quickly labeled and assessed as a group. That may be good for all the members of a championship football team, but that’s not a good thing for individual Christians who are supposed to be living out the Gospel of Jesus.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Have you ever considered why Matthew 5:16 doesn’t say Let the group’s light shine before others? Or, why it doesn’t state: that they may see the group’s deeds?

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When YOU take your last breath on this earth, do you think Jesus will hold YOU accountable or the group or organization the world associated you with? When someone in a crowd commits a criminal act, do we charge the group or the individual? Then, why have we become a people who loves to LABEL individuals by race, where they live, their occupation, or their political affiliation? And, with that same disregard for individual accountability, we tend to stand silently and allow others to accuse and condemn an entire race, occupation, or political group, because of the actions of “individuals.” (Whether the actions are good, bad, accidental or criminal, we must always assess an individual’s actions and responsibilities and not place a label on an entire group of people.)

I believe we have become a nation that sometimes allows groups to hide the actions of individuals. Have you ever heard the saying: “There is Safety in Numbers”? Well, there are individuals who have discovered that groups can also be a good place to disguise or hide individual actions. It can be at a bank, a law enforcement agency, or a politician taking care of certain groups of people, rather than the citizens who elected him. We have bad guys everywhere, in every profession, in all walks of life. And, yes, without very quick, straight forward, honest acknowledgements and investigations there will be a problem. When “individuals” are not held accountable, well,“ONE BAD APPLE that is not quickly identified and removed will give the impression that the whole bunch IS ROTTEN.”

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Recently we have been witnessing angry adults, (Individuals), spilling into the streets outside the boundaries of the poorer communities where the better educated, socially accepted, and politically connected “individuals” have apparently been satisfied for them to simply exist. (Do you think most Alabamians really believe the increasing Medicaid and Prison costs aren’t a reflection of increased poverty and desperation by a growing number of “Individuals” in our historically poorer communities?)

Consistently poor neighborhoods with hungry children become alcohol and drug havens for angry adults. We must begin repairing and rebuilding strong Spiritual, Moral, and Educational foundations for those families to prosper, not just exist. We must address the NEEDS of the INDIVIDUALS in the poorer communities. We cannot continue to LABEL every individual because of the violence that regularly erupts around their homes with little hope for the future and less confidence in their neighbors. (News Flash: WE ARE THEIR NEIGHBORS.)

[Poor communities produce failing schools as a result of hopelessness at home. When a child is concentrating on daily survival, a test score is not that important.]

The third chapter of the Book of John tells the story of a man named Nicodemus. Now, Nicodemus was not an average guy. He was a very influential “individual” – A Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He was wealthy, well educated, powerful, religious, and “A Believer” in Jesus Christ. (Today, he would probably be called a career politician.) However, the Bible tells us in John 3:1 that Nicodemus went to visit Jesus at night. Was Nicodemus concerned about what the other Jewish leaders might think if they knew he was visiting an uneducated son of a carpenter? (That would have probably gotten him removed from the Sanhedrin Caucus.)

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Bottom Line: It’s past time that everyone who calls themselves an American declare what kind of American they are. I believe it is very obvious that we are no longer “One Nation Under God.” The acts of violence we have been witnessing across our country are definitely Not of God. However, our cities and towns are filled with people who profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Those people need to suck it up and STAND UP. (That roll call needs to start with those of us who have been blessed to be a Public Servant and hold a political office.)

Just a Thought: If a person professes Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but isn’t producing the fruit of a Christian, well, maybe when they were baptized they “Just Got Wet”?

John 3:19b-21 (NLT)God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. (20) All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. (21) But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

While politicians are entertained at receptions and placed on a pedestal by those wanting their needs met in the Alabama State House, while we have children sleeping on the floor and going to bed hungry. Do you think the politicians at those receptions have been
discussing those hungry children or their unemployed or incarcerated parents? Apparently Not!

Job 34:29 NLT But if he chooses to remain quiet, who can criticize him? When he hides his face, no one can find him, whether an individual or a nation.

God Bless America!!!

Allen Farley represents portions of Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the Alabama Legislature’s House District 15. Representative Farley can be contacted at allenfarley@bellsouth.net, or (205)-960-7526.
Representative Farley’s blogs can be viewed at
allenfarley.wordpress.com