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thursday swap – joshua white

June 10, 2009

you guys know i love me some joshua white! this guy has become my little brother. i am so proud of him and ryanne, his wife. they are in the middle of a huge transition in life…and their faith, resilience and determination blow me away daily! josh is a wicked photographer and a fierce friend. i love him to pieces!

and im at his place today. but read his here first!!

***********************************************************************************

all politicians are crooks.

pastors on tv cannot be trusted, they just want your money.

cops are jerks.

that guy panhandling will just use the money for drugs.

entertainers don’t have hearts, and can’t have intelligent opinions.

these are just a few of the many gross over-generalizations i used to believe and spout off on a regular basis. i had a bad heart… and honestly, i’m going to be harsh here… i think that’s where cynicism and that kind of attitude comes from. it certainly isn’t Godly.

as Christians, we are called to love. and for me, i can’t imagine how that leaves any room for not giving people the benefit of the doubt. it’s easy to sit and say that all politicians are crooks, but do you know that? really? my aunt is in politics, and she is one of the most real, authentic, and down to earth people i have ever met. at one point, i had considered going into politics… would that have made me a crook, just because of my profession? love leaves no room for cynicism. where do we think we get the right to judge others?

much like brody’s +/- campaign, i have personally made it my mission to think through everything i put on the web. i am trying to think “does this tear someone down, is it a passive-aggressive attack on someone, how is this helpful?” with every single thing i put on the web. are my snarky comments regarding.. whatever.. helping anything? maybe our parents and our grandparents and our great grandparents were right all along; if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. it’s way too easy too hide behind our computer screens and tear people down, and we may not even know we’re doing it, it’s so subtle. and lets be honest for a minute, not only do we all do this, but we all see right through it too. it’s not difficult to discern the cynical and snarky tweets from the not-so-much.

love each other. that counts for everyone, even the people you don’t think deserve it. we certainly didn’t deserve God’s love, but we got it. how about passing that along, kind of… you know… like the Bible says to?

so, at the risk of being wrong… a lot, and being hurt… a lot, i say lets start giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. let us see the best in people, even actors/actresses/politicians/musicians/cops/tv pastors… because really, do you know personally the people you’re making a snarky comment about? walk a mile in their shoes and maybe you’ll understand why the say or do what they say or do. in the end nothing we say or do will control others, all we can control is how we act/react, and i’m calling for us all to act and react with a little more love.

because, like 2Pac said… only God can judge me.

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. June 10, 2009 8:35 pm

    you’re preaching my heart, josh. love really is greater than…

  2. June 10, 2009 8:51 pm

    Amen.

    I think God is calling His Church back to loving the world… lots of us are talking about it again.

    And yes, Love is greater than___________ (anything we could ever dream up!)

  3. Heidi permalink
    June 10, 2009 8:55 pm

    Amen…

  4. June 10, 2009 9:00 pm

    josh – brent and i were talking the other day, and i happened to be on the phone with heidi (above) at the same time…but brent and i were trying to describe you as a person…and we couldnt. and i figured out why. its easy to describe most people because they tend to remind you of someone else, or they have a “standard” quality or sumpin. but you. you raise the bar, josh. you really do. brent and i struggled to describe you to heidi. your authenticity, sincere compassion, deep love for people, passion for all things right, determination to change this cynical world we live in to something positive – its like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

    you are genuine, in the most beautiful way.

    and this post…proves it.

    • Heidi permalink
      June 10, 2009 9:17 pm

      She truly was stumped. But you could hear in her voice that she truly loved you from her heart right along with Brent.

      This is an incredible post. I get so angry when I sit in a room of complainers and people who belittle.

      They don’t know the people’s stories until they LIVED their stories.

      In example: Just like me, Don’t cast judgement on me because I am stutterer as I am stupid or retarded. Yes, I am 42 year stutterer who practices daily in front of a mirror so I can have a decent phone conversation like w/ Tam or an easier business encounter. That’s Why i email or text instead of calling.

      But don’t belittle me, don’t take away my joy or heart because you are afraid of the truth.

      The truth is I am still making a difference.

      So can the panhandler, the prostitute and the gang banger or the awful B rated movie star. But we need to give them a chance, we need to love them. Give them a chance to tell the true story.
      We need to be Christlike.
      So they one day can make a difference and come out their hiding.

    • June 11, 2009 4:27 am

      this makes me smile and blush at the same time. i’m really not that cool of a guy people, i promise.

  5. June 10, 2009 10:37 pm

    Those drug dealers, just like most lost people, stay the way they are because beyond the walls they have built around themselves, they care too much about what we think. They naturally assume we don’t care and that we fully expect them to be horrible people.

    People don’t realize the weight their expectations carry. To someone with no hope and a life of drugs, they crave someone to expect goodness. Been there!

    I often wonder about my “former life”…..What if someone “expected” me to straighten up…..What if someone actually looked behind my actions and knew my heart…..What could I be if I lived my heart rather than my reality. And then I would get the dirty looks and the yells of “LOSER” from the passer-bys…..and my thoughts of goodness were gone.

    In the end, it was God, but I wonder how much sooner I could have been pulled from the wreckage, if someone, in His name, cared.

    Great post that hits home!!

    Thanks!

    • June 11, 2009 4:28 am

      exactly. love free from expectations is the ultimate cure.

  6. June 11, 2009 1:27 am

    Everything you had to say was getting to me… right up to the last 3 lines…

    ‘in the end nothing we say or do will control others, all we can control is how we act/react, and i’m calling for us all to act and react with a little more love.

    because, like 2Pac said… only God can judge me.’

    if 2 pac will forgive the analogy – you kinda shot yourself in the foot a little there!

    if nothing we say or do controls others (presumably referring to the over-generalizations we make which won’t change people for the better) then saying all of what what you just wrote was pointless – we are not going to change because you asked us to?

    Fortunately, in this case, you are incorrect – what we say and do often DOES control people (besides just ourselves) and i can think of at least 3 very ‘good’ bloggers off the top of my head who can verify that truth (One is the person who’s blog this post appears on). What our parents (or their boyfriends) say and do controls us for a very long time indeed.

    If we are lucky, maybe in 40 or 50 years or so (sometimes less, sometimes never) we can start to get ‘our’ lives back – the ones we could have had from the start if those we trusted most had given us True love instead of what passed for ‘love’ in their minds/hearts/actions.

    Very few of us ever really control how we act/react we don’t have the slightest idea how to do that for the most part – even though we’d all love to; we mostly just keep on acting and reacting in the same way over and over. Sometimes we try to do something and it might work for a while – but only when we can think of no other way out of a hole we find ourselves in.

    and for the last line – i’m fairly sure juries and judges also were able to judge 2-Pac – and a fellow gangsta rapper shot and killed him long before he reached old age. Pretty severe judgement, that one.

    i’m not so sure he was a good choice to go out quoting on a ‘high’?

    But up until the 3rd last line? – sounded Right On! 🙂

    <B

    • June 11, 2009 4:35 am

      i absolutely do not expect anyone to change just because i asked them too. i understand that i have no control over what you do. my wife can want me to make the bed all she wants, but until i have a change of heart to realize it’s important to her, i’m not going to do it.

      it’s certainly true that people are often controlled by what others say and do, and it’s a horrible thing. my statement wasn’t meant to exclude that possibility. rather, it’s saying we just need to worry about what we say and do vs. what others are saying and doing.

      and i could not possibly disagree with you more about 2pac. when i quoted him, i was referring to God is the only person who knows our hearts. the only person who knows why we act/react the way we do. sure, we give earthly juries that responsibility in our short time here on earth, but their judgments are based on a group of opinions (after hearing a case), whereas only God knows the truth. and the fact that someone shot him, i don’t see that as judgment at all, i see that as an act of violence.

      when i look at 2pac, i don’t see a thug or a gangster, i see a tortured soul who tried multiple times to turn his life around, who wrote some very deep and soulful music (changes is an amazing tune), but just could never get things right.

      but… maybe that’s just the eternal optimist in me.

      • June 11, 2009 4:52 am

        agreed, josh. the fact that a quote from 2pac isn’t good enough, i think, is part of your point… judge the words and the intentions, not the wall he put up that kept him inside a world he wanted to make right. we miss out on so much when don’t stop to listen more to people’s hearts rather than judge the person it’s coming from.

        this is making me think of the video pete did a few weeks ago: http://withoutwax.tv/2009/05/18/crackhead-prostitutes/

      • June 11, 2009 5:01 am

        Never lose that eternal optimism Josh – that’s one of the many things love is all about.

      • June 11, 2009 7:49 am

        ‘it’s saying we just need to worry about what we say and do vs. what others are saying and doing.’

        Now that’s a MUCH better way of saying the last lines 🙂

        and you misunderstood my comment about 2 pac – i wasn’t judging or having any comment at all about the man, whom i don’t know from a bar of soap…

        i was commenting on the comment that only God judges us.

        The person who killed him arbitrarily and possibly unjustly made a very severe judgement on him his life was cut short as a result. i believe he was judged several times in human courts, and i fully realise what you and he were trying to say, but it is important we also realise there is more than one kind of judgement and that they also have the power of life and death, just of the body, not of the soul.

        We are commanded to keep the law – of God first – but also of ‘kings’, to whom we may also be ‘subject’.

        <B

  7. June 11, 2009 4:46 am

    Love it.

  8. June 11, 2009 5:35 am

    sir, you wrote this so sincerely and honestly and with such wisdom. over the past few years i have been on a “give people the benefit of the doubt” kind of journey…

    if i have something that someone needs, whether it is $5 or just 5 minutes of my time and trust, who am i to judge what their “real” intentions are? the Word simply says that whether we do it or not, we’re doing it to Christ.

    great thoughts here. really.

  9. June 11, 2009 5:58 am

    Yo, Josh. Great word this morning and definitely something that we all need to be reminded of.

    1 John 4:8 says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

    I am a firm believer that we NEED to be taking God’s Word at face value. So does this mean that if I don’t genuinely love people that I don’t know God? That’s what the Word says, doesn’t it? I believe it means exactly what it says, because if you know God, and I mean if you really know Him and have had an encounter with Him, how could you not love?

    Anyway, sorry for my soapbox, just blessed/challenged/encouraged!

    And in the words of Joe Dirt, “keep on keepin on” Josh!

  10. June 11, 2009 6:14 am

    Beautiful, simple and convicting. You’ve given me another opportunity to set down my judgments and preconceptions and focus purely on people.

    I love that Jesus did that for us as well. Can you imagine, when God sent Jesus to earth to die for us, if Jesus said…”ok, but not for that guy, or girl, or 2pac”

    I am so grateful for that. I need to pass that along.

    I love that when all the disciples pressured Jesus to tell them how to “be the greatest”, He told the to love God and love people. We seem to keep crapping that up…

  11. June 11, 2009 6:26 am

    Well done, Joshua… VERY well done…

    I’ve gone by the same rule since I started blogging. I try not to criticize, complain, or talk negatively about people… It’s just not how God would want us to behave.

    Thanks for the reminder, again. And the heart behind it.

  12. June 11, 2009 9:05 am

    I can’t help it.

    I’m snarky. And judgmental. And negative.

    It’s my human nature.

    Thank God for grace.

  13. June 11, 2009 10:25 am

    you took the photo in this post, didnt ya josh?

  14. June 11, 2009 10:56 am

    Great post Josh.

    You rock.

    On a completely different note.. I thought that the jacket that girl was wearing in the picture above said, “White Cheerleader” and I was like, “Now that’s brave”… hahaha.

    ANyway, great post man!

  15. Heidi permalink
    June 11, 2009 5:09 pm

    My laptop won’t allow me to comment on Josh’s page, I think its needs the adobe, but I am not allowed to install. Anyways.

    Tam, What a challenge. I have made this mistake with my own kids. I know my parents made it with me.

    Thank you for being transparent.

    Love you.

  16. Heidi permalink
    June 11, 2009 5:09 pm

    the new adobe or flash.

  17. June 12, 2009 8:56 pm

    Fantastic post, Josh. I’m right in this same boat with you. The world is much … bigger … in this boat of love, than in the boat of cynicism, isn’t it? And more beautiful.

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