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Thoughts on life.

Talk notes for ‘Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God’ 23rd June 2019


Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God  

Talk notes for 23rd June

 recorded version will be here for a couple of months  http://www.ascensionbath.org.uk/sermons/

Readings

Matthew 5 1-2 & 8     Gal 5 16-26    Psalm 24

Outline

God wants hearts that are in line with Him.

We will get things wrong but God still knows our heart

Do we know and accept the wrong we do and seek forgiveness?

 

Does our heart want to follow the Spirit and live God’s way? that is important

When our heart is in line with His ‘Pure’ then we see God in all around us and others see God in us.

We can also see God and hear from Him

 

  • Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God

I said in the notice sheet piece ‘The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God.

However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means.

 

Pure the Greek word is katharoi, which means, “clean, pure, unstained, either literally, ceremonially, or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright.” It refers to that which is “without added mixture; separated (purged), clean (pure) because it is unmixed (without undesirable elements).” In the spiritual sense, it refers to being purified by God – being free from the contaminating influences of sin.

 

Heart: The original Greek word used here is the word kardia. It’s obvious we’ve carried this word over to represent the organ in our body responsible for pumping 750 gallons of blood through our body every nine hours.
But the biblical use of this word goes beyond a physical organ. It refers to the core of a person; that immaterial thing inside that makes us what we truly are. When you strip everything away, what’s left? That’s what this verse is really referring to here. It’s our irreducible minimum.
 

  • Those with Pure Hearts are contrasted with those who thought that they had satisfied God’s will through ceremonial conformity to tradition. Jesus insisted on simple, true heart – righteousness

 

Judah followed the rituals but their hearts were far from God and not pure

Jeremiah 7 3 – 11

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord’s Temple is here! The Lord’s Temple is here!” But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice;only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal; murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”— Only to go right back to all those evils again?

 

  • Boast in the Lord not your things accomplishments

Jeremiah 9 23-24

23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

 

  • We will get it wrong often We will fall into sin by doing wrong

 

After all we started as sinners made pure by Jesus

Romans 6

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

 12 Do not let sin control the way you live;[a] do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God

  • . 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of Gods grace.

 

It is through the grace of God that are hearts become like Jesus’ pure and holy

It is through confession that we keep our hearts pure.

 

  • We need to acknowledge our sinfulness

Jeremiah 8 4-6

“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!

 

And Paul says in Galatians  

  • The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

 

None of this gives us a Pure heart, rather a polluted one.

 

We need to recognise when we sin, and repent.

Allowing Jesus to purify our hearts again.

Asking to be filled by the Holy Spirit again so we can live pure lives with the fruit of the Spirit in us.

 

Again Paul says – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

 

Pure speaks of being free and clear of the effects of guilt and sin. It’s like a filter has been put over the heart so it becomes peaceful instead of hostile. What was wrong with the heart before has been made right by virtue of God’s influence upon it. Just as Jesus touched and purified the leper, He purifies our heart when He touches our lives.

  • We need to be more real on inside than it seems outside

Faith is not about outward acts or appearances but begins and ends with the transformation of the heart

 

Matthew 6 1-6; 16-18

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

16 And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth,  that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair[d] and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

 

  • Do we live from the outside in – to please others and build our reputation in the eyes of the world?

 

Or do we live from the inside out – seeking to live good honest lives before God and leaving our reputation in God’s hands.

Do we have integrity?

What is the core of your life?

What is your worldview?

 

Jeremiah 17:9-10 MSG         “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”

Luke 3

John said about Jesus: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned.”

 

  • So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

 

How do you see the world around you?

 

Jesus said in Luke 18 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

We have to be like Children, Pure in Heart.

 

Children are pure in heart as they are the same on the inside and outside, they have not learnt how to wear a mask.

 

What matters is not your status before man, but your status before God your Father.

Child of God, Pure Hearts come from putting Jesus our saviour God our father at the heart of everything

 

  • RESPONSE: Today, ask the Lord to search your heart for any impurities that may be clouding your vision of Him.

Lets pray

Father we want to see you

We want to see and hear from you daily.

We want to see you all around us.

 

So Father please Purify my heart today, wash it clean with the blood of your son Jesus our saviour

Fill me anew with your Holy Spirit

Help us to be pure in heart and blessed with the sight of you.

 

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice Sheet piece

Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God [1]

The interesting thing is that so many people say that they want to see God but they don’t know how.

Here, in Matthew, Jesus tells us that those who are pure in their hearts will see God. However the problem is often no one understands what being Pure in Heart means. Jesus had made it clear in other places we have pure hearts when we put Jesus at the centre of our lives and treat others as He would and as He does treat us. It’s not about making sure we look good to others, or taking part in the rituals of church, or even being seen to do good works. No it is about what is important deep in our lives. So today’s question is, what is your heart centred on, is it family, career, hobby, money, enjoyment something else or as Jesus said him?

I have found that when my heart is pure, aligned with, centred on, Jesus then I see and hear God around me and in others and when I let my heart slip away then I lose that sight.

 

[1] Matthew 5 8

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D-Day 75


I have been thinking while watching various countries reporting of the D-Day 75 years event.

First its important to remember all who died in this war, see numbers below, and acknowledge those who fought.

However glorifying one event in remembrance can often ignore the whole. I would rather we remembered the end of wars than individual battles, I would rather we learnt how not to start wars as we remember.

It is also interesting to see how the media of each country reports the event. The USA media mainly talk about how the USA liberated Europe, the UK media talk about how we held out on our own for years until the USA  came to help us finish NAZI terror. The French media mention that there where French as well as other nations landing on D-day or in support. Only the French manage to mention that the USSR was fighting many more enemy than we did on D-Day or in the west at all.

Trouble is for me they all forget the point of remembrance.  The point is to remember not to allow it to happen again. Not to allow nationalism to take hold in countries which brings, Us First attitudes, Selfish and Greedy Ambition. All of which breeds distrust and hatred of others. Often remembrance is about rewriting history to make your side look better, writing out the part played by others to make them look weak or ungrateful, rather than looking honestly at the whole and how to avoid it all happening again. This can be seen in the ignoring of the effect of other fronts, mainly the Russian one, to make the D-Day landings possible. Ignoring the suffering of occupied people and their resistance to the Nazi’s.

Yes D-Day was and is important to keeping western Europe free of Stalin and Hitler, however it was not the most important factor in the defeat of the Nazi’s and Japanese on its own, it was part of a bigger and longer war involving many peoples and fronts. Combined they brought victory to UK, USSR, USA and other allies at great cost to all involved.  We always need to remember that war brings death and solves little. As can be seen currently with wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

Father God please bring peacemakers not war makers  to leadership, help us all to remember the cost of war and how easy it is to demonize others. Help us to love the other rather than hate them, help us to help others rather than just ourselves.

In Jesus name Amen

 

WW2 deaths – from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

USA 419,400 0.32% of population

UK 450,900 0.94% of Pop

USSR 26m  13.7% of Pop

Total world loses around 70-80m

 

 

 

Talk notes for ‘When Jesus Speaks how do you answer?’ Palm Sunday 14th April 2019


When Jesus Speaks how do you answer Palm Sunday 14th April 2019 (2)

 

Recording of the talk will be here    for a couple of months

The Odyssey of BARYPOS of TEGEA Chapter 6 Part 1A Shipwreck


Part 1A Shipwreck

I, Barypos, boarded the Dolphin at Athens and entertained the crew and locals at ports we stopped at as we made our way along the islands and then the coast to the remains of Tyre. Once there I bordered a different ship, a small one, the Gull which was heading to Alexandria. These voyages where fine despite the risk of storms at this time, however as we neared Alexandria we saw a strange sight in the sky as birds fled from the coast.

 

A short time later a massive wave hit the Gull, lucky I was on deck with my gear as I was preparing for us to enter Alexandria’s harbor. The wave flipped the Gull over throwing us all into the sea, I managed to hold on to my pack but had to let my armour, cash box and weapons other than my Kopis on my belt go. Lucky I had been improving my swimming skill and managed to grab hold of a piece of broken wood put my pack on it and swam for shore. After a long time I made the shore, apparently the only survivor of the Gull. I was soon found by some locals who on seeing my status, as a rich man, aided me to Alexandria and my friends. With the sliver I had in my pouch I replaced my lost armour and weapons and am now ready to join them in their adventures.

Earlier parts of the story can be found here 

#40acts 2019


Every generous act matters. Every moment of generosity moves your community forward, whether an inch or a mile. Imagine if you took the plunge and dedicated each of the next 40 days to generosity, no backing down, even when it gets tiring. And, imagine if everyone who signed up to 40acts this year did, too.

40acts-poster

https://40acts.org.uk/act-1-pledge/

I intend to do more of these acts this year
The last few years I have not been able to do many of them due to health, but I am going to try harder this year.

Counter Cultural Love – Notes from my talk in church 10th Feb 2019


Counter Cultural Love

Talk for Sunday 10th Feb 2019

 

Themes

* Looking at how hard it is to love those who disagree with us

* Who support a different view point

* Who dislike someone we like

* How we are led by culture to hate certain ideas and people

* How Jesus calls on us as God always has done to love even those who hate and hurt us.

Readings   1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13                    Luke 6.27-36

 

  • Last week Clare talked about the Power of Love and this talk builds on that.

How Loving even those who do not love us is God’s way.

 

  • I have used a piece from the Big Issue by Dr Harris in the notice sheet piece

He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person. “We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable.”

“We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex which appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine.

 

No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. “Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,”

 

Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

As Christians we believe that living God’s way will turn our response around we will love others as God loves us and them.  That is Counter Cultural Love

 

That is what we are going to look at together today.

 

 

  • ‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’ Romans 12:2 NLT

From UCB Word for today – Thoughts produce feelings, not the other way around. Worried people tend to think anxious thoughts, and eventually those thoughts become so automatic that, like a lingering odour, you stop noticing and learn to live with it. You get used to ‘stinking thinking’! Your thought patterns become as habitual as brushing your teeth. You get so accustomed to thinking bitter, anxious, selfish thoughts that you stop paying attention to any other way of doing things.

 

Basically you respond as the world expects you to.

Love those who love and help you ignore most others and hate those who harm you or those you love.

 

David had been Hurt, Insulted, Hated and Hunted by Saul for a while and now he had his chance, his men where encouraging him to deal with the enemy once and for all.

However David had always followed God and knew that it was God’s job to deal with his enemies.

 

So he did the Counter Cultural thing and let him live.

He refused to kill the one who wanted to kill him and even got distressed at having cut his robe.

 

Can you think of situations in the world or even your life which are similar?

 

David had been transformed into a New Person because he tried to live God’s way.

 

Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.

 

David did this, most of the people  then including the King, Saul, didn’t.

And it is still the same now people hold on to anger and hatred and that breeds more of the same.

 

Saul responded by saying how sorry he was and stopped hunting David, at least for a while and this situation happened again. In the end it was Saul who died but not at David’s hand and David became king.

 

  • Luke 6.27-36 From the Message

7-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.

 

This is hard teaching.

So how does not acting like those who dislike us, our enemies, bring out the best in us?

 

I saw a situation during the week

A red car was coming out of a junction when another car came down the hill and honked it and speeded off.

The red car honked back and gave chase and off they went honking each other.

 

The red car had not brought the best out of the other car in fact the situation just got worse.

 

What would have happened if the other car had just stopped or driven past?

 

 

If we react in the way we are being treated then we just ramp up the situation

whereas if we show love we show the best of ourselves and claim down the situation.

 

Think about how people react to each other over Brexit or many other points of view, or who hate those they like.

 

How does responding hate for hate help?

How does being angry to those who are not like us help?

How does ignoring the Homeless or the Migrant help?

It doesn’t it just produces more anger and hatred.

 

But what if we help in some way??

 

How did David respond?

 

  • When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.

Now that is the way to respond, pray for them.

 

I know from my own experiences that it is hard to not respond in kind, and culture expects and encourages us to.

Just watch the soaps or virtually any drama

Watch how they act in parliament

 

Or just see how society around you act.

Culture tells us its ok to hate those who hate you, to want revenge on those who hurt you to only help if theirs something in it for you

 

However if I can just stop and pray it starts to make a difference to how I respond.

Its a bit like counting to 10 as I was told to as a child.

But in this case I am asking for help from my Father to act as He does.

I do not always get it right either, but then neither did David.

 

 

  • If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

 

Again, this is not easy, we tend to want to get our own back to get an advantage.

 

If someone says something about me I want to get my own back, is how our thoughts go.

That leads to personal insults and on the internet Trolling.

The word trolling is a word commonly used to describe a method of fishing. In trolling, a fisherman         casts a line out into the water, usually several, and pulls them behind a boat, hoping that he will catch            something.

A troller or someone that trolls is someone that casts a line out in the Internet world in hopes of hooking             someone into an argument, pretty straight forward right?

They get a kick out of winding others up or just being rude.

 

Jesus tells us to not respond in kind but to be generous to them in our response.

 

  • Luke 23 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Like Jesus we need to ask our Father in heaven to help us forgive.

 

When we forgive we help ourselves by not having that stress in our life anymore.

In an argument we just stop and let them have the last word or ignore them, Jesus did this with the Pharisees often.

 

Sometimes we just have to be the servant, a person who just takes orders and abuse from the master and can not respond.

 

Just think about Jesus and how He lived He never retaliated

 

Then there is what we say in the Lords Prayer

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!

So think if someone else has sweets you might like them to offer one to you, wouldn’t you?

Then  you need to offer others some of your sweets.

 

If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?

Its easy to give some of your sweets to a friend who has some to share back, not so easy to give to a stranger or outcast who can’t give back, but it is what God asks of us.

It is also what we expect from God if you stop and think about it.

 

Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal?

Garden-variety sinners do that.

If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity?

The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

God helps us in many ways, He forgives, He Loves, He Blesses all without anything in return.

We need to be the same

Always giving in Love to others with no thought of praise or reward.

 

John 3 16  Message version

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

 

  • 35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return.

 

Many people do good things for the reward.

Helping children or animals because it makes them feel good

Helping friends because they will like us and might give us something back

 

 

We need to teach ourselves to act as God does to us with Love and Forgiveness

Train ourselves so we move the pleasure switch to doing good to all no matter who they are, how they treat us or where they come from.

 

As with all re-training it needs to be done in small steps.

Start with one person who you would not normally engace in love with and go from there, slowly you will change how you think to become more Christ like in your actions.

And as in all things do not beat yourself up if you make mistakes or get it wrong, Jesus understands and He knows you are trying.

 

You’ll never-I promise-regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

 

We know that God loves us no matter what, we do don’t we?

After all He gave Himself for our punisment.

He is kind and loving to us no matter how we treat Him

Isn’t He?

 

So we need to act that way to those around us.

Loving them even when they hurt us by their actions [Sin]

Loving them even when they ignore us

Loving them when they take advantage of us

 

Because when we do then our Father promises that we will be treated in the same way in heaven and by Him always.

forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.

 

None of us want to be treated badly so we need to treat all we met, no matter how they stand with us, with LOVE.

This is Counter Cultural this is LOVE as GOD LOVES US not as Man loves.

 

1 John 2

15-17 Don’t love the world’s ways.

Don’t love the world’s goods.

Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father.

Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father.

It just isolates you from him.

The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

 

So let’s adjust the switch by keeping close to Jesus Loving as He does rather than keeping close to the world and acting as it does.

 

 As John Harris says in UCB Word for Today

An honest reading of Luke tells us that true discipleship is based on following Jesus, seeing the world through his eyes and striving to act as he did.
Like the wise builder, we must come to Jesus, listen to him and do what he says. Unlike those who were learning to be disciples back then, we don’t have Jesus present with us – but we do have his Word. Like the wise builder, we must dig deeply and lay the foundation of our lives on the Word of God. We must not dig shallowly, selecting only those passages which suit us, as the Pharisees did. We must keep digging deeply until we encounter the Revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. Then we must model our lives on his.

Lets Pray

 

Readings

1st Reading 1 Samuel 24.3-5, 7-13

King Saul hunts David, and David has an opportunity

3 At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave!

4 “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.'” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.

5 But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe.

7 So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.

After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 8 David came out and shouted after him, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked around, David bowed low before him.

9 Then he shouted to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? 10 This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king-he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ 11 Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me.

12 “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 13 As that old proverb says, ‘From evil people come evil deeds.’ So you can be sure I will never harm you

 

2nd Reading

Luke 6.27-36

Love for your enemies

27 Jesus taught his disciples saying, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. 30 Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. 31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

32 “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

35 “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

 

From the Big Issue

Dr Lasana Harris, associate professor of experimental psychology at University College London, studies neurological responses, specifically the way our brains engage with other people and the world around us. He says our minds are “trained to disconnect” when we see a homeless person.

“We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment,” he says. “Most people think, and rightly so, that homeless people are having very negative experiences and constantly suffering. We may not always want to resonate with that suffering. Because of that, we lose sight of the fact that these are just regular people.”

According to his research, our brains automatically censor our perception of homelessness on a biological level to stop us empathising and feeling hopeless.

“People aren’t being seen,” he says. “If I’m a busy person, going through a city like London where there are tons of homeless people, and I have to stop and consider the minds of all of these people, that might make me feel very uncomfortable. Moreover, if I don’t feel like I have the resources to help, there’s nothing I can do to alleviate that suffering. That feeling stays with you. Our brain says instead, if I take a second to stop and think about your suffering it’s going to make me feel bad. So, dehumanisation becomes a kind of emotion regulation strategy.”

 

Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex, says: “While we can’t be thinking about everyone’s feelings all the time, it would be a lonely life if we applied this strategy to everyone. So I think it’s interesting to think about how we choose who to care about, and why we might cognitively step over a person sleeping rough.

“Is it because we think we are not like the homeless man on the street? Are we afraid it’ll cost us something if we engage with his existence, or worry we might feel bad about our part of the inequality problem if we look one another in the eye? Is dehumanisation automatic or is there, at some point, some intentionality behind turning off our empathy machines?

“The answers will better our ability to counter the inequality problem – that is, if deep down, we actually want to look outside our cosy cognitive bubbles.”

The consequences of living in bubbles are all around us, as society in general appears to act increasingly insensitively towards the marginalised. Rough sleepers are not welcome and moved on by authorities without there being the necessary resources to help them properly. Hostels are often inadequate, but homeless people are put there long-term, out of sight and out of mind. Hostile architecture, designed to deter people getting too comfortable in public areas, is becoming a more common sight, and Universal Credit is still the government’s benefits system of choice despite the overwhelming evidence that it is making life for the people it exists to support more precarious.

“We readily help kids and cute animals, in part because we know that whatever trouble they’re in, they can’t really be held accountable,” he says. “We’re less likely to be so understanding and forgiving when it comes to homeless adults or drug addicts.

“This tendency to judge rather than help is partly the result of a spot in the prefrontal cortex called the subgenual cortex. It’s full of oxytocin receptors, and it appears to modulate the degree of empathy by regulating the release of dopamine. No dopamine means no reward from engaging with the other person, which makes it less likely that we’ll reach out empathically.”

“Think about your Facebook,” says Harris. “You probably have a few hundred ‘friends’. But they are casual acquaintances. You aren’t processing them deeply. We’ve developed this as a strategy to help us get through our social environment. And we think a version of this is what’s happening in the case of homelessness.

 

This sense of disconnect could be at the heart of everything that divides society today. Is there a refugee crisis because people don’t relate to them as fellow human beings? In the Brexit vote, it was areas with relatively low levels of immigration that were most concerned about it.

“Of course these kinds of responses occur, ultimately, in our brains; where else would they occur? But social processes have enormous power to change neural processes, and we should be doing much more to exploit their potential to overcome prejudice.”

This reflects projects Harris ran with the Museum of Homelessness last year. In his experiments, he made participants humanise people by, for example, asking them to consider questions like: ‘Does this person prefer broccoli or carrots?’ He also scanned people’s brain activity before and after speaking to someone sleeping rough. After this kind of interaction, Harris found that participants were far less likely to spontaneously disengage.

So is our humanity something we can turn on and off – if only we found the right buttons to push?

“We’re trying to figure out what brain mechanisms allow us to switch these responses on and off,” Harris says. “We want to make empathy the default response because now, the default response is to switch off entirely. If we’re going to get that to change we need a complete cultural shift.

 

THE DAIRY OF LOUISE A NSO SPECIAL AGENT PART 5


Day 35, Dolls House stake out – We see Mr A and Delise , we need to contact a Robo engineer to get a inside man. We find out that Mr A is Ted Lopez, he has no Tax return or public profile.

 

Day 36, We decide that the Dolls House is the HQ of Zagerman Gang. The boys will bug the Dolls House, they put in 6 bugs which can last 24hours

 

Day 37, The bugs find a plush office with a safe, by using the air vents to get in.  We also find an engineer talking to Misty, a robot in a maintenance room. He is Tod McDonald, he seems to want to free misty.

 

Day 38, we go to Tod’s and get him on borad to helping us we promise that we will help him free misty. From him we find that there is always a guard on the office, either a man or a woman. The safe in the offic eis large and needs a hand print, it holds lots of cash. We also find that Edwin, Ted and Sonja Kraus have access.

 

Day 39. we find all the owners of sonic guns and question the  owners. Four are held by two security firms and casn account for them at the time of the murders. Two are held by Miss D Furigson and Simon Basil both have alibis. So that leaves only Delise to question, this gives a change to bring him in without linking it to enquiry’s into Zagerman. So that will be our next step, go to the Doll House and question Delise.