Two sides of the coin

I have many fond memories of visiting my Grandpop Kerns. Among one of these memories is when we were ready to go home, he would hand my sister and myself each a silver dollar. We were so excited. Unfortunately our first child-like thoughts were: “What can I buy with this?”

However, now as an adult, an older adult!!! at that, I think of what a coin teaches. It teaches us the value of money and resources which all come from God. The coin reminds me of the love of my grandfather and to cherish memories and gifts of love — the greatest of which is the gift of Jesus Christ.

But most recently, the coin teaches me that there are always two sides of a coin. Have you ever made a decision by the toss of a coin: heads you win, tails you lose? Sad, but true, we so often play this game when it comes to our choice of opinions towards others or situations. To truly make a right and wise choice, we need both “heads” and “tails.” The whole truth needs both sides of the coin before a wise decision can be made.

Why as humans are we so easy to judge and so quick to condemn each other? The Word says for believers, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35

Gossip, slander and non-Biblical, judgmental criticism are all rooted in pride. It is part of our fleshly nature to excuse our own sin by pointing out the failures and weaknesses of others. Let’s define gossip: “saying something negative about a person when they are not present!” And slander: “saying something negative that is not true or half true when the person is not present.” These definitions alone should make our conversation and attitudes more positive and encouraging! Remember, your thoughts are just as important as your words!

I am not so naive to think we will all get along or that we like everyone. But The Word does tell us to love everyone as Christ loved us. We are to encourage each other and lift each other up. The old adage “innocent until proven guilty” is still very true. In our world today, the devil wants you to have the attitude of “guilty until proven innocent.” So many of the examples we see today are blaming and finger-pointing which sets a very bad standard of how we should look at and treat each other.

What are we teaching the future generations?

A bird or a butterfly each need two wings to fly. Unfortunately, the world is going around judging each other on one wing. If we do this, we either fall to the ground or just keep flying in circles. Each is disastrous and unproductive.

What can you do to make this 180-degree heart turn? First, truly believe and receive God’s love. We do not have the strength to always think the best of each other on our own. We need Jesus for that.

We should think of a coin as one side being God’s side and the second side belonging to others. Your side is what you do with it. Such as: you are told something really negative and possibly sinful about someone. What do you do? Believe it instantly and condemn them? Spread the information around? No! First pray, asking God for all wisdom and discernment. He will give it to you. Second, get all the facts… Get all the facts before you react. This might mean that you will have to go directly to the person involved if necessary. Third, once you have all the facts, flip the coin to the other side. What is God’s point of view? What does the Scripture say? We like to make our choices with the “Bible of the Pick and Choose!” This Bible does not exist! We must accept the whole Word of God.

Then ask what does God want you to do with the information? Ask are you really part of the solution? A point in case, your final side of the coin should always be God’s side. I know this isn’t always easy. And sometimes a time element may be involved. Of course, if the situation is life=threatening or involves abuse, you must seek help immediately.

I have learned, and many times the hard way, when I do not stick with the facts and God’s way and decide with my own perception, it does not end well. It is so dangerous to judge with just our own perspective, without both sides of the coin. A good rule to follow before you speak is to spell the word THINK: T = is it true? H = is it helpful? I = is it inspiring? N = is it necessary? K = is it kind?

Let’s take a stand right here and now to follow the Scripture. To think best of each other, to want the best for each other, to love each other as God loves you and to be kind to each other. Two great scriptures to remember are Matthew 7:12: “…Do to others what you would have them do to you…” and Psalm 19:14: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

And keep a coin in your pocket just to remind you!

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Janis Heiser of River of Life Fellowship, Lock Haven.