Thought for the Day CMXXXV

Recently the first of the Hobbit trilogy of films was shown on TV, and apologies for those of you familiar with The Hobbit, but it begins with a company of dwarves turning up at the home of Bilbo Baggins. Uninvited, well invited by Gandalf the Wizard without Bilbo's knowledge
The dwarves are forward and brash, qualities that people are rarely neutral about when the see it in others in front of them, and quickly help themselves to food and show little concern for Bilbo's quiet life, his tidy hobbit hole, and how he likes things. When they do, they gently mock him. They are there for a meeting to plan a journey to retrieve a valuable item from their former home, from which they fled from the dragon, Smaug. Afterwards Bilbo complains to Gandalf who responds by saying that he once knew Bilbo to relish adventure. When did he suddenly become precious about the family here looms and wanting to stay at home?
In some respects Bilbo was right to feel offended, his home was trampled on, and he was not consulted properly, but then Bilbo could not put his anxieties to one side, he could not see that while he had a home, the dwarves had none, their brashness was in some respects a defence mechanism, they were strangers in foreign lands and wanted their homeland back. When we judge others, and we need to be extremely careful because as we judge others, we ourselves will be judged, we usually ignore some crucial factors. We do not know the whole story, and we do not know what drives people. We can be as moral as we like, but to what purpose if we do not have love?
We are soon to face some of the most momentous moments in our nation's history, in our own lives, and for better or worse, by the time it subsides this will be a different nation and in ways we cannot imagine, for good or for ill. Pray that God is with us! Now this is not the time or the place to comment in detail on Brexit, but as Christians, whether we support Leave or whether we support Remain, we need to bear in mind some truths.
To what purpose is it to call someone a Remoaner or a Brextremist? I am sure the people who dreamt up those insults felt clever and superior but does it help people to see your point of view, let alone win them over? Does writing off the other side and regarding them as unpatriotic or running the UK economy down really help? This are tough and challenging times and it is easy to mock, belittle, and react in anger and we may have only touched the iceberg, but if we are Christians, if we believe God has called us into the times we live in for a purpose, whether big or small, then we need to help soothe troubled waters. That does not mean taking a soft view, but it does mean being gracious and charitable towards those whom we disagree with. Yes some like to see the world burn, but many have good intentions and care deeply, whether misguided or otherwise, and it will help a great deal if we all try to diffuse the anger within ourselves and in others, or to channel it towards helping to make things better, no matter how difficult. If people will not listen to reason, just wipe the dust under your feet
In our lives we need to be patient, kind, avoid envy, boasting, avoid being self seeking, and avoid being rude. For if we do not try, and try again, to balance being firm, with being kind and gracious, what hope do any of us have?

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