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Let He Who Has Not Sinned Cast the First Stone

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There seems to be seething anger in the world today that seeks someone to attack. It is a world where there is little room for redemption or forgiveness. It’s a one-and-done trial. You have a visible sin, and it’s over. Like the gladiators with swords to the neck of their defeated opponent, they look to the coliseum masses for a verdict. The thumbs-down condemnation seems unanimous. There is no mercy to be had.


Maybe two years of being cooped up in our homes for fear of COVID has left us easily enraged by those we deem evil and deserving of our wrath. The media, eager to draw our attention to the mistakes and sins of others to improve ratings, use any “sinner” they can find to capture viewers and feed our appetite to have someone to hate. Whether it is a politician we dislike, a law enforcement officer who goes too far, a fellow citizen who dares try to defend his community, or even an offended Oscar-winning actor who slaps a comedian in front of millions of viewers, we may not want blood, but we do want to destroy their reputations.


Our country seems to be majoring in condemnation. Whether it’s former President Trump or President Biden, with a polarized electorate, the faithful followers do what they can to bring their opponent down. When an officer in a scary moment of confrontation makes the wrong decision and it is captured on video, we want his job-we want him convicted and locked up. When a citizen brings a gun to town to help protect his city from rioters and chaos reigns, there is no room for mercy. And when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, millions piled on to the outrage.

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Maybe we are not as unique as we think. Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus was led through a throng of adoring fans on his way to Jerusalem. They laid cloaks and palm branches on the ground before him with shouts of “Messiah” echoing for all to hear. But in less than a week, another crowd gathered before Pontius Pilot as his fate laid in the balance and demanded in one voice-“Crucify him!” And they did. He was nailed to a cross until he died.


That same man, when a woman who was caught in adultery was brought to him and he was asked to condemn her to be stoned to death as the law prescribed, gave an unexpected but powerful response. As the crowd gripped their stones ready to deliver the verdict the woman’s sin deserved, Jesus knelt down and seemingly drew images in the sand. With all eyes upon him, he said to an angry crowd, “Let him who has not sinned cast the first stone.” Within moments, stones could be heard dropping to the ground. No stones were thrown.


As we enter Passion Week, we are reminded of the powerful message and life of Jesus Christ. He ate with sinners, those in need of forgiveness and healing. He challenged the religious of his day to not focus on the speck of sin in the eyes of others but to deal with the planks in their own eyes.


As the Apostle Paul would remind us in his letter to Christians in Rome, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus came not to lead the perfect but to save the sinner. Our society likes to feed the illusion of perfection. Maybe that is why we get so upset when anyone dares break that illusion. We know privately that we fall short of even our own ideals. But publicly we dare not confess to such sin. Maybe that is why hiding in our homes exiting only with the cover of face masks to hide who we really seem somehow safe.


The COVID restrictions are coming down. The mask mandate is being made optional. We will soon be re-entering a new normal. Unfortunately, the anger and calls for condemnation are still there. Everyone has a cell phone ready to capture the “sins” of others. The private is now dangerously public. Videos of sin feed the social media and those captured moments never go away. Will Smith’s slap will be with us every Oscar season. He may not be in the Oscar audience for the next ten years, but the slap will be used to make sure we don’t forget.


Those willing to forgive may be ready to give Will Smith a second chance. After all, like me, we love many of his movies, and everyone deserves a second chance. But is a second chance enough? Like us, Will Smith will certainly sin again. He most certainly will not slap anyone else at an Oscars, but the media will be watching him for more proof of how far he has fallen.


To Will Smith and all of us, God sent His Son that rather than being limited to a second chance, God gave us grace. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sin. On Easter, Jesus rose again that we might by faith share with Him in eternal life and a loving relationship with God. The price for that gift of grace is to put down the stones we throw at others, to repent of our own sins of the past and those of the future, and to believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again through faith we might be forgiven and saved.


In His ministry, Jesus shared the story of the “Prodigal Son” who demanded his inheritance from his father and left only to squander his wealth and be left to a life of sin and want. When he decided to return to his father, repent of his sins, and offer to live as his servant, his father saw him coming and ran to him with open arms. I recently preached on the fact that, like the sinners we all are, we all have our own prodigal moments. This is the Easter God is inviting you to come back home to His loving arms. Is it time to come home?


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Dr. Terry Paulson is a PhD psychologist and author of The Optimism Advantage, They Shoot Managers Don't They, Speak Like a Pro, Meditations for the Trail, and The Dinner: The Political Conversation Your Mother Told You Never to Have. Since founding Paulson and Associates, Inc. in Agoura Hills, CA, Dr. Paulson has presented to such companies as IBM, 3M, Kaiser, Nationwide, SONY, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and hundreds of hospitals, government agencies, and associations. Dr. Paulson is a past president of both the Global Speakers Federation and the National Speakers Association. He’s been inducted into NSA’s CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor given to less than 230 speakers worldwide. Dr. Paulson is a long-time conservative Republican who has spoken to numerous Republican groups. He currently is a regular op-ed columnist for townhall.com and politicrossing.com. Terry brings knowledge, tasteful humor, and a passion for conservative principles to every presentation. Dr. Paulson graduated with honors from UCLA and received his PhD in psychology and an MA in theology from Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in Pasadena, CA.



 
 
 

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Mini-Movie Reviews, 6

Two out of three ain’t bad

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Here are three movies, each having received at least one Oscar nomination:

All Quiet on the Western Front — here is a remake of the 1930s classic, and I was prepared to have this be the same old trench warfare, with all the accompanying platitudes. Instead, I was surprised. This was well done, with decent acting, and a few hand-to-hand combat sequences unlike anything I have previously seen, some truly touching. It is a German production, but all in English. Although it’s on the long side, I think it is worthwhile.

Everything Everywhere All at Once — starring Michelle Yeoh, and receiving 11 Oscar nominations is alternatively amusing, excessively noisy, clever, confusing, and lacking boundaries. It is without a raison d’être, as with other movies during this awards season, notably The Banshees of Isherin and Tár. Everything Everywhere is getting rave reviews, but I say “skip it.” As one reviewer put it, the plot seems to suggest “that what makes life meaningful is the recognition that because there is no inherent meaning, all things and moments are equally meaningful.” Oh, sure thing….

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Aftersun — a subtle but touching recollection of a 30-year old woman, when she was on a long vacation with her divorced father, 20 years earlier, before the new school year starts. Not much happens, yet we are drawn to this twosome, and the screenplay and the director skillfully lead us to an articulated but implied conclusion. Newcomer Paul Mescal, as the father, received an Oscar nomination and (Miss) Frankie Corio, as the 10-year old daughter, is equally good. Aftersun is not for the masses, but I found it to be worthwhile.

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Faith

The Left Is Fueling a New Racism

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It’s my firm belief that the number of Americans holding racist views is small, whether white, black, or Hispanic. At this point in our history, the vast majority of Americans try to live up to the challenge delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We keep moving toward the hard-fought dream he envisioned of an America where a citizen’s character would mean more than the color of their skin.

We are a different country today. I’ve presented leadership programs to hundreds of companies over the last 40 years. I’ve seen the work they’ve done to embrace diversity and advance capable employees and leaders from all races. Many minority members have advanced and earned their rightful place in making this great American economy work. At a time we should be celebrating and furthering our progress, our American culture is under attack from the left. Angry race-baiters are doing everything they can to increase our racial divide through pushing the 1619 Project, CRT, and BLM. They make extreme racist claims with a clear goal—to expand the government gravy train that only racial “victims” can justify.

I lived in pre-civil rights Atlanta where there were separate schools, separate bathrooms, and the baseball team was the Atlanta Crackers! Today, it’s more likely that leftist blacks are the ones who want separate schools, separate rights, and special reparations for their race.

As one anonymous post asserted, “Only in America can an ethnic group of black awareness month, black holiday, black only colleges, black only dating sites, and black only bars and clubs…and turn around and call everyone else racists!” You don’t have to look far to find evidence of extreme black racist demands.

In California, the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee released a report calling on the city to pay every qualifying black California resident $5 million and absolve them of their outstanding personal debt. This is madness. California was a free state and did not condone slavery, but the committee is doing all it can to justify reparations: “While neither San Francisco, nor California, formally adopted the institution of chattel slavery, the tenets of segregation, white supremacy and systematic repression and exclusion of Black people were codified through legal and extralegal actions, social codes, and judicial enforcement.” To the left, this “failure” warrants millions of innocent California citizens being forced to pay higher taxes to fund exorbitant benefits to one race they haven’t abused in any way.

In Washington, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is proposing a law that could codify black racism in America. There is a common mantra in her political speeches: White America is defined by institutional racism, systemic racism, white supremacy, and white nationalism. She attacks “white” America and seems to see the clan in the face of every white citizen. Such general attacks are evidence of a new racism—black racism.

Read for yourself Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s proposed law, the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023. The legislation promises to criminalize criticism of any minority that is subsequently used to incite anybody else to commit a hate crime. The law reads: “A conspiracy to engage in white supremacy inspired hate crimes shall be determined to exist between two or more persons, at least one of whom published material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-White person or group could, as determined by a reasonable person, motivate actions by a person predisposed to engaging in a white supremacy inspired crime.”

This is a chilling attack on freedom of speech against one race—caucasians. In short, if you criticize a minority and another person states that your statement was all the motivation needed to do a hate crime, you may be jailed because your criticism “motivated” a hate crime you did not commit. Get the message—be silent and conform or we will put you away.

Black racism is real and just as evil as white racism. Both must be soundly rejected by responsible citizens. As a Christian, I affirm my Savior’s claim that all God’s children matter! No responsible citizen should be shamed into silence by the irresponsible racist attacks of the left. Be proud of yourself and of America. Whether black, brown or white, success as a small business person or advancement as a good employee had to be earned by hard work, long hours, and diligent sacrifice. As with Americans for generations, it was not handed to you. You didn’t depend on government handouts to get ahead, you had to find a way to earn your own American Dream.

Reparations will never happen! Politicians can’t even afford to fund the entitlements they’ve already promised. Special black racist demands are unethical, divisive, and risk fueling a new racism backlash. Politicians from the left keep making the promises to fuel racist anger and secure special interest donations and votes.

Don’t fall for their racist rants and demands. Depending on government entitlements is never the answer. Instead, get busy following the models and learning from citizens of all races who have made America work for themselves and their families.

Let’s reclaim the American Dream Martin Luther King, Jr. affirmed. Do not judge a fellow citizen by the color of their skin. Celebrate the character of the vast majority of good American citizens you meet. Keep rejecting racism of any kind. It’s time to stand proud and applaud hard work and success wherever we find it, no matter what the race. May it always be so in this great republic we treasure…America!

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