Today is Columbus Day. Christopher Columbus, certainly, was not a perfect man but he was a tough ole bugger. He endured a lot of hardships as an explorer and died at the age of 54. Today he has a lot of critics and his faults are easily found in history. Whatever opinion you hold good or bad, he was one of many who changed the world. I admire his courage, his feats of exploration, his seamanship, and his grit.
Our self-righteous generation enjoys the criticism of people centuries ago who suffered from the generational cultural blindness that we carry in our genes. The ancients are easy targets because they can’t shoot back. I am sure the ancients could find much wrong with us because we too have been severely blinded by our cultural norms. Future generations will also rave about how insensitive and blind our generation was to the plight of our world.
So here are a few things to chew on:
1. We make a mistake by trying to judge someone centuries ago on the basis of today’s standards and accepted cultural norms. Present culture is hard to escape and we are more blinded by its affect than most would realize. Critics will say, “How could they not have seen?” They were blinded by the same sin that blinds us; it just had a different hue.
2. Displacement of people is the history of mankind all over the globe. However cruel it may have been, it cannot be solely blamed on one country, one race, one religion, or tribe—almost every group in history has done it to one degree or another. Yes, some groups have done it more or were more cruel than others but everyone has a soiled finger with which they point. One would be hard pressed to find but a few places on the planet where the original inhabitants have not been displaced or conquered by another country, ethnic group, governmental ideology, or at least a tribe. Conquer is in our corrupted DNA.
3. Do leaders cause people to suffer and die? Absolutely! Every president in my lifetime has sent people to kill and to die. If I were president, it would be my responsibility to do as well. Leaders have tough decisions, history will analyze those decisions; God will judge them.
4. Power is poisonous in the hands of mere men. It may look good to those who hold it for the time being but it eventually stinks to high heaven. “Power corrupts.” “Absolute power absolutely corrupts.” One group wrenches it away from another to form a mirage utopia only to create hell on earth.
5. When we try to atone for the sins of the previous generations we usually overreach. Yes, we need to correct the wrongs of the past but human nature wants to go too far. Our correction leads to vengeance on people who had no responsibility for the sins of their fathers. My father fought the Japanese in World War II but the last car he owned was a Nissan. Let’s all start fresh and live in peace.
6. We will ALL be held accountable to God!! We don’t need to concern ourselves with someone who is dead and gone. Hitler will never rise again to power—God will hold him accountable for killing 6 million Jews and …lying to his mamma.
BIG TAKEAWAY: It really does not matter, what the name of the day is or the name of the city I live in. It matters most, what I do today and how I live today. Will my family, friends, and neighbors live in peace or chaos because of me? Will their lives be better or worse because of my influence? Will they be enriched or impoverished because of me? Will the poor be fed or remain hungry because of me? Will my enemy today, call me a friend tomorrow because I treated him with the love of Christ? I don’t have time to critique the ancients. The rock in my hand fell when Jesus said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” I am out of rocks, and I only have enough time and energy, to live a life of love and service that looks like Jesus. God will take care of the rest.
Harry L. Whitt