He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20)Faith means trust. Trust is something that can be easily broken in this world; and as trust is broken, grief, sadness, disappointment, and doubt are common forms of distress that can follow. A person's inner strength and the wealth of that ingredient referred to thus far can be determined by their response to this untrustworthy world we live in. I had the unfortunate experience of coming to terms with this world when I blindly put too much faith in others without realizing the consequences of my overzealous actions and beliefs at the time. In other words, I was recklessly used and lied to and I couldn't help but be bitter for a time. It was one of my biggest wake up calls where I learned just how weak I was and just how much strength and common sense I lacked for these new situations I was facing. In addition to that I was now lacking faith; I was now lacking trust. As someone who always looked for the positive in situations and the good in every person I met, these were strange and unfamiliar feelings for me. When I decided to go back to school, I felt like I was born a kid again, full of hopes and dreams. So to have that candle of hope be blown out was quite a shock. And although I grew up being critical and weary of certain authority figures, I had never looked that way at people who I'd otherwise care deeply for. When people lie and betray you it makes it really hard to carry on a sincere friendship. In fact, it's impossible.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)Yet, it is not easy. And sometimes life doesn't work the way we expect it to, but the outward actions and appearance of a man is not the ultimatum of life. What truly matters is what's on the inside. Do you WANT to change, are you WILLING to get better, are you ATTEMPTING to strive towards a better life? If you answer yes, then do not give up hope; what you are waiting for is already happening. It just may not be finished yet.
...continue to work out your salvation... (Philippians 2:12)For myself personally, as I continued to work out my salvation within my situation, I sometimes felt as if I was moving backwards. But each time I moved backwards I did feel as if I was learning something, and I sometimes questioned weather I needed to hit bottom again in order to change particular habits and regain that ingredient for life. I wouldn't exactly say that I hit bottom, but I did skip a day of work and took a weekend to be a hermit. And then as if an angel came down from heaven, all it took was the striving actions of a friend to change my heart. But as my heart was still somewhat hardened, I didn't trust that person completely. I couldn't believe that they were the way they said they were; I had to test them, I had to know, I had to selfishly prove it to myself. What a shameful lack of faith. But this beautiful person was anything but a let down. They are a friend to be cherished, a friend in whom you could trust. They are not perfect, but they are working out their salvation just as I had been (and still am) attempting, which makes for a wonderful sight to behold. During this cold winter, it was that shining beam of light that changed my attitude and woke those feelings back up which told me of how I ought to be acting again.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.I grew up as a somewhat aggressive young man who loved the martial arts and got no bigger high then when he was fighting. But yet, I was shown by our creator this beauty, and from my experiences seeing violence and fighting (and it's prevalence in our world today), it only made sense how much we needed this love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, emphasis added)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. For he who loves his neighbor has properly understood the Torah. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one instruction: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the true purpose of the Torah. (Romans 13:8-10 emphasis added)
"I shall be a champion of justice and freedom.General Choi placed a heavy emphasis on moral culture with in Taekwon-Do, and many other martial arts do as well. It should be pointed out that without the moral culture martial arts are only barbaric fighting. But learning and following these ideals are no easy task. General Choi said that under taking moral culture should be as follows,
I shall build a better and peaceful world."
"It must indeed seem like an impossible undertaking to a mere mortal." (Taekwon-Do: The Korean Art of Self Defense, 1999)How right he was. In our world, how difficult would striving to attain unconditional love be? How difficult is it to live up to the moral culture from the quotations provided at the beginning of this article? Growing up, everything I learned about morality and respect came from the martial arts. The martial arts, and more specifically my teacher, intiially taught me the ways of a successful and honorable life. But knowing these things was not enough. In fact, I was driven away from love because of my pursuit of fighting strength. A little quote from Kill Bill should sum up why,
"When engaged in combat, the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior's only concern...But even with that attitude it seemed that I continued to fight until I found love, and I found love when I hit bottom and my life changed forever. I gave up my current subterfuge dreams and strived for a better life with this love I speak of. And that love came from Creator of the universe, our Heavnly Father. He is the very source of love, who is Himself, love, as the apostle John so clearly teaches us,
...This is the first and cardinal rule of combat...
...Suppress all human emotion and compassion...
...Kill whoever stands in thy way, even if that be Lord G-d, or Buddha himself... "
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from G-d; and everyone who loves is born of G-d and knows G-d. The one who does not love does not know G-d, for G-d is love." (1 John 4:7-8)While the standards of unconditional love seem so far off, and while General Choi was quite correct in saying that is is an impossible undertaking for a mere mortal, it is not impossible for us to express. The beloved disciples our Master Yeshua asked Him about the difficulties of these things, and in the original Aramaic text He gives the imagry of a thick rope being stripped away (humbled) until it can fit through the eye of a needle. And this can only be done by our Heavenly Father, which is why immediately after Yeshua says,
“With the sons of men, this is impossible, but not with G-d; everything is possible with G-d.” (Mark 10:27b)Amen. We can do all things through the Mashiyach who gives us strength (Phillipians 4:13). I pray that each and every one of you reading this can grasp part of the essence of the feeling which I'm attempting to articulate here. If some loving thought struck you inside while reading this, I further pray that you might have an opportunity to act on such a thought. I was inspired to write this because of the beauty of a friend of mine. Sometimes our Heavenly Father works through the most unexpected of ways to teach us the lessons we need to learn. And the beauty revealed to me helped to change my heart and reminded me of our Heavenly Father's grace and love towards us. Now if you guys happen to notice something beautiful in one of your friends, let them know. Everyone has something awesome to offer; sometimes they just don't realize it.
"Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living G-d. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 13:1-13, emphasis added)