Why We Should Read the Bible
A True Story
on Jan 20, 2021
Let some people say what they may but the fact remains: life is hard. We all go through challenges such as theft, injuries, accidents, sicknesses, technological problems and loss of loved ones. We feel insecure about who we are. We suffer from guilt over what we did in the past. We hate those who have wronged us in some way. We worry what could happen in the future. We fear what others think of us. We go through temptations to overeat, oversleep and engage in pre-marital or extramarital sex - sins that complicate our lives.
In our efforts to make ends meet, we find ourselves dealing with difficult bosses, getting conned out of our money, being taken advantage of in the workplace or arguing with negative workmates who seem to get a kick out of putting us down. And when we run out of money to meet our needs, we are forced to cheat, steal or cut corners - some other sins that complicate our lives.
And as if all those challenges were not enough, we find ourselves feeling jealous and envious of what others are achieving. When we strive to also be successful, we are rejected from jobs we apply for. We go through issues when dating. And once we get married, marital problems arise that threaten to tear our marriages apart. If we get lucky to have children, we eventually grapple with rebellious teenagers who are on drugs or in bad company.
As a young man who has lived and worked in Nairobi, I know the challenges young men go through in the city. Challenges such as being forced to work in boring jobs just to put food on the table, waking up in the morning with difficulty, dozing in the bus while commuting to work while wishing the bus ride would go on forever and getting reproached by cyber-cafe attendants for viewing adult content in the Internet.
Indeed, life is hard. And life is hard for everyone, whether you live in a leafy suburb in Switzerland or in a remote village in Bangladesh. No one is immune to experiencing the challenges of life, regardless of their looks or wealth of their families. Every soul goes through its moments of trial and tribulation.
Fortunately for us, God gave us a book with instructions to help us rise above the difficulties of life like an eagle soaring above the clouds in stormy weather. And that book is the Bible which was written by men who understood the nature of life.
The Bible is full of insights and gems of wisdom that can prepare us to deal effectively with any challenge or temptation that can arise in our day-to-day living. And it is full of stories that can make us wiser people.
Having read the whole Bible from preface to index, I have been amazed by how it delves into all the issues we go through during our sojourn on this planet. It offers advice on how to relate with other people, how to conduct our business affairs, how to get along with our spouses and children, how to have hope in the midst of tribulation, how to deal with anger and irritations, and so on and so forth. It also talks about sex, love, money, romance and alcohol.
Although the Bible can sometimes be hard to understand, the hardest part is believing in what it says. I have to confess that I, too, have struggled with unbelief. There have been times I have questioned the accuracy of the Bible and whether all the supernatural miracles it narrates actually happened. But after all I have been through, I have finally decided to believe in it.
Of all the six English versions of the Bible I have in my room, the one I have read thoroughly is the New International Version (NIV) Bible. I find the NIV Bible beautifully written; that's why I feel at home reading it. Whichever people compiled the NIV Bible must have been great storytellers.
Ten years after I bought my NIV Bible, it's now getting dog-eared and torn apart due to too much referencing. But the positive thing is that it has made me a wiser young man. It is like what the great author Charles Spurgeon said, "A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn't."
In my efforts to become the cheerful young man of integrity I am aspiring to be, I am planning to read other English versions of the Bible as the years roll by. I am especially desiring to read the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Matthew in a variety of versions because I find those three books to be treasure troves of wisdom and insight on how to live nobly.
My dear reader, I beseech you to also get into the habit of reading the Bible if you want to rise above the difficulties of life and lead a victorious life. As I recently heard my friend Peter Daniel say on Facebook, the Bible is more up to date than tomorrow's newspaper. So read it, believe in it, and perhaps most importantly, practise what it says. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on why you should read the Bible, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than two years ago on "Part 2: Lessons From the Bible". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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How to Get Rid of Resentment
A True Story
on Jan 15, 2021
When I was on a school holiday in December 2006, I read Todd Siler's Think Like a Genius - an enlightening book which I have long since misplaced and lost. Even though I didn't understand the book deeply enough, I remember reading from it that we have to get rid of resentment if we are to be truly creative. And I remember that lesson because of a picture in the book that captured my attention; the picture of a beast that looked mad with rage.
On reporting back to Starehe Institute in 2007 after that December holiday, I scanned that picture of the furious beast, uploaded it into a Microsoft Word document and then typed the following quote below it:
Hatred is a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity. It is an acid that corrodes our happiness.After I printed the document containing the picture of the angry beast and the quote, a fellow classmate in the institute named Paul Karanja was so moved by the print-out that he asked me for a copy. I gladly gave it to him and had another one printed for hanging on a noticeboard in the institute building.
While I am unsure whether I succeeded in turning my fellow institute students away from hatred with that poster on the noticeboard, I am sure I must have been pleased with my initiative. And would you believe me if I told you the quote on the poster was from my own head? Yes, I came up with the quote which I still believe in: that hatred is a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity and an acid that corrodes our happiness.
Paradoxically, despite all that insight I had on the effects of hatred on our souls, I have found myself struggling with hatred and resentment over the years. There are some people I have hated - some for treating me with contempt; others, for cheating me of my money. Like in the year 2008 when I was at the university in JKUAT, there was this tough young woman I hated intensely. Imagine I resented her to an extent that she would be the focus of my thinking when I got out of bed in the morning. I even maligned her to another person.
It was against that backdrop of resenting that tough young woman intensely that I came across a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. while leafing through an old Reader's Digest magazine in JKUAT library. The quote said: "Let no one pull you so low as to hate him."
That quote by Martin Luther King touched me so much that I wanted it printed on one of my T-shirts. So I approached a fellow engineering student at JKUAT to have him print the quote on a T-shirt of mine. Eventually though, for some reasons unclear to me now, I gave up on the idea. But at least the quote stuck in my memory.
Let's face it: we all struggle with resentment as we journey through this crazy adventure called life. We resent people who have treated us unfairly, judged us harshly, spoken to us arrogantly, conned us out of our money or stolen our valued possessions. When I was at the University of Nairobi in 2011, some fellow female classmates treated me with such contempt that I asked myself, "Why are some people so arrogant as if they have the power to keep the Earth from rotating on its own axis?"
If you struggle with resentment as I have done, my advice to you is to strive to replace thoughts of hatred with positive, happiness-inducing thoughts because it has been said our minds can only entertain one thought at a time. So when you catch yourself hating someone, immediately supplant that thought with something positive such as the things you are grateful for. Gratitude is the best antidote to resentment. Try it.
You could also focus on all the good people in this world. So instead of dwelling on that one person who judged you harshly, why not turn your focus on the friend who helped you at some point in your life? It could be an aunt who gave you some money to buy a pair of shoes or a former schoolmate who phoned you and stirred you from apathy with his encouraging words. Take to heart the wise counsel of Dwight D. Einseinhower, an American president who said, "Never waste a minute thinking about people you don't like."
Another way to get rid of resentment is to think of all the sins you have done when you catch yourself hating someone. Thinking about your sins will neutralize feelings of resentment since it will make you realize you deserve to forgive just as you deserve to be forgiven. And who in this fallen world doesn't sin?
The last suggestion I will give you on how to get rid of resentment is to quote the Scriptures when you find yourself hating someone. The Bible has numerous verses on the topic of hatred - one of my favourites is the following one from the book of Ephesians: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Resentment is, I repeat, a wiremesh that imprisons our creativity and an acid that corrodes our happiness. So as for me, I have decided to exorcise it from my soul by consciously getting rid of any thought that may breed hatred. To borrow the words of Booker T. Washington, I will permit no one to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. Adieu!
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