“A rose by any other name …

… would smell as sweet.” And this is an obvious truth. But what DOES happen when we change the name? What would happen, for instance, if some people started going around calling roses stink weeds? Well, the smell of the rose wouldn’t change. But slowly something else would. What would change is human perception. Folks would stop smelling the rose because they, some of ’em anyway, would expect a stink. Roses, although still roses, would after a time develop a bad name. And that name would be stink weed. In our day and time we have what are called “spin doctors”. They put a different “spin” on a thing, a topic, a person, etc. And by doing this they change, not the subject itself, but the popular perception of it. This can be a good thing. My cancer is my best example. Jesus tells me to love my neighbor as myself. Well, that’s telling me to love myself. Now as I understand it love is commanded and therefore a choice. So it’s not an entirely emotional response I have no control over. I think that’s what “liking” is. No, I believe that love is simply wanting whats best for another and being willing, if I’m able and if its appropriate, to help bring that best about. In loving myself in this way I understand that my cancer is not an invasive force. It’s not a virus or a bacteria. It’s some of my own cells that have run a muck. So my cancer is ME. I chose to love it as I love myself. I want whats best for it and do what I can to bring that best about. In loving and caring for my cancer, my self, I take all its negative power away from it. It does not control me and I needn’t control it. This is not what love is about. It’s not about control, it’s about whats truly best. And just as ultimately God knows whats best for me I figure the doctors know whats best for my cancer and, following the advice concerning doctors that I find in Sirach, I do what the Oncologist and MD tell me. In all of this I believe that I’ve put a positive spin on what might otherwise be a negative thing. So spin has its good uses. But, like most coins, there are two sides to spin. Some folks use it to change the publics perception of unacceptable things. You can call evil good and good evil untill some people will honestly believe they’ve switched places. They haven’t. There are universal absolutes. Relativism is wrong. Period. You know, the Bible is in large degree the story of God’s battle against evil. Maybe I could rename the Book for Him? Call it “My Battle”. Sounds cool. Think He’d like that? In German that would translate as “Mein Kamp”. Think the name change might change someones perception of the volume? If I were Jewish or Polish it might. None of these changes in names or descriptions change the thing itself. But they can change human perception. Jesus had a lot to say about trees and fruit. A little like roses a thing IS what it is, for good or ill. I understand that some of what I just wrote won’t win me any new friends. Spirituality and truth aren’t a popularity contest. They crucified Christ. But the fact that some unacceptable behaviors, activities and beliefs are now politically correct rather proves my point. So many have been calling roses stink weeds and stink weeds roses for so long now, well, there you have it. Changing human perception doesn’t change God’s mind. Referencing love and tolerance when its helpful in covering up one’s own foibles is one thing. Understanding that there are just as many references to sin and retribution is another thing. WWJD??? One viable alternative is to freak out and toss furniture around. ( Matthew 21:12-13. ) God’s love for me should provide me a reason to change out of love in return because He knows whats best for me, not an excuse to carry on in my own self will.

“Either declare the tree good and its fruit good, or declare the tree rotten and its fruit rotten, for a tree is known by its fruit. … By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33 & 37, NAB.

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Published in: on January 10, 2011 at 9:35 am  Comments Off on “A rose by any other name …