Dear Sean

DEAR SEAN:

I have been going through a hard time since losing my mom and don’t know what I believe anymore. I’m not sure whether I believe in God or any of that stuff. I’m so lost. What do you believe in?

ANONYMOUS

DEAR ANONYMOUS:

You’ll have to pardon me. I’m writing this from my sickbed. Currently, I am sidelined with COVID and my body feels as though it has recently been assaulted with the wrong side of a pool cue.

As far as my beliefs, for starters, I am now a big believer in washing one’s hands thoroughly.

Also, I believe in fried chicken. The kind made by every granny you’ve ever known. The kind fried in black iron skillets.

I believe it is powerful stuff. Which is probably why you see it at funeral receptions, baby showers, and church socials.

I also believe in hand-rolled biscuits made from flour, fat, salt, baking powder, and buttermilk. To add additional ingredients to this mix would be like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

I believe in teaching young men to clean fish. I believe in kids who ask too many questions. And I believe in girls who are gutsy enough to be themselves.

I believe girls have it harder than boys. And I’m sorry for that.

I believe in giving money to the homeless—not once or twice, but every time I see someone down on their luck. Every single time. I believe in giving more than I should.

I believe in old-time country dances. Long ago, before TV’s, smartphones, and twenty-four-hour news channels, I believe people threw more parties.

I believe in bowing heads to say grace. I believe in crickets, loud frogs, and places where you cannot hear busy highways.

I believe in magic tricks. And in teenagers who haven’t found themselves yet. I believe in all golden retrievers, Labs, bloodhounds, some Jack Russels. And marriage.

I believe in Marie, Lorena, and Nadia—living at a battered women’s shelter in South Georgia. I believe in high-school dropouts, and kids who miss their daddies. I believe in nurses.

I believe in music made by hand, fiddles, upright pianos, and the poetry of Hank Williams. I believe in Willie Nelson.

I believe in the memory of grandparents, and keeping them alive with stories. I believe in making lowly people famous, and famous people lowly.

And I believe this world is better than most give it credit. I believe that if folks truly knew how much good there was, they would quit hurting each other.

There are kindhearted people. I have seen them. I have shaken their hands, hugged their necks. To find them, you have to know where to look, but they’re around.

They are the sort who attend funerals for those they barely knew. Who stand in maternity wards at newborns who are not theirs, making funny faces through the glass windows.

They are the kind who stop cars to help strangers change tires. They are big tippers, self-effacers, shower-singers, and casserole makers.

And I believe in them.

I believe in the old woman I once knew, who said: “If you REALLY wanna love someone, give’em something good to eat.”

Granny. I believe in the wisdom of all sweet women, weather-worn, wrinkled, solemn family protectors who know their ways around iron cookware. Who kiss cheeks with dry lips, who make the world sunny by dusting counters with flour.

I believe in the power of their sugar. In their fried chicken. In the oil of their love. And I believe they are about as close to God as you can get, here on earth.

And speaking of God, I wouldn’t worry too much about believing in him or not. Your belief doesn’t make him any more or less real. There might some people who don’t believe the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art exists, but this doesn’t make it any more or less real. The good thing is, even if you don’t believe in God, you can bet the farm God believes in you.

Even so, my main belief is that our personal beliefs don’t amount to much in the grand scheme. It’s what we do that counts. That’s what I believe.

And now I believe I am going to go back to bed.

86 comments

  1. Connie - June 9, 2022 7:35 am

    Sean, you are wrong, and I am probably not the only one who is going to tell you this. It’s not the “things” you do (although I think they should count – alot); but, it is what you “believe” that is one’s saving Grace. I sure hope you believe, because one day I would like to think that I will get the opportunity to meet and talk to you. 😊🙏🏻

    Reply
    • JC Sherwood - June 10, 2022 4:22 pm

      You are correct Connie!

      Reply
    • Sally - June 11, 2022 2:04 am

      Connie, you are right….but knowing Sean as we all do, we know his heart and what he was trying to get across to someone who genuinely is questioning. “Preachy” words don’t work on someone in that place of doubting. You know, I think what Sean is saying is that if someone can know that God believes in them, is ,in essence, believing in God. We do have to show God to others and be disciples, and that happens when we DO something for those God loves. We need to be His hands and feet on this earth, giving God’s grace to others and not being satisfied with keeping it for our selves.

      Reply
  2. Lander - June 9, 2022 8:16 am

    I believe you’re right.

    Reply
  3. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - June 9, 2022 9:10 am

    Emptying your wallet to every homeless & needy person you encounter. To make them smile so big. They’ve been lucky to get $1 from anyone all day & that $11 I handed him. He said, “God bless you”. I said, “God bless you, too”. I looked around & he was headed into KFC. So glad I helped him get a hot meal. God just blessed us both.
    Big time.

    Reply
  4. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - June 9, 2022 9:19 am

    Giving that homeless guy $11 when he’s been lucky to get $1 from anyone all day. He “God blesses” me & I “God bless” him back.
    Few minutes later I see him headed into KFC. Glad I helped him get a hot meal.
    God blessed us both, didn’t he?

    Reply
  5. Nan O'Connor - June 9, 2022 9:37 am

    I hope you feel much better soon.

    Reply
  6. Tim Smith - June 9, 2022 10:23 am

    Hope you and the family are okay after the flood in Bham.

    Reply
  7. Anne Arthur - June 9, 2022 10:27 am

    Sean, I believe you are coming around. Funeral is indefinitely postponed. Proof is you could write this post.
    Thanks be to God for his continued healing, and for Jamie’s chicken soup. Go to bed. Rest.

    Reply
  8. Cynthia Sand - June 9, 2022 10:45 am

    Prayers for complete and QUICK healing.

    Reply
  9. Connie - June 9, 2022 10:45 am

    I believe you are going to feel better soon. I also believe the world is a better place for having you in it. Be well dear Sean.

    Reply
  10. YVETTE STAHL - June 9, 2022 10:49 am

    Sean, get well soon.
    There is a God and he gave His Only begotten Son for us that we might live. Death is hard and grieving is a process. Talk to God in prayer. I talk to him all day long off and on. He watches over me when I am being stupid

    Reply
  11. widge55 - June 9, 2022 11:00 am

    Hope you feel better soon Sean….

    Reply
  12. Melanie - June 9, 2022 11:02 am

    Prayer for your rapid and full recovery🙏🏼❤️🙏🏼

    Reply
  13. Ann Thompson - June 9, 2022 11:11 am

    I believe too. I’d add flowers, ( especially peonies and lisianthus), a morning rainbow, a love letter, good yarn from a neighbors sheep ( I’m a knitter),
    Sitting around a campfire with friends watching the stars come out. I’m with you on the vine ripened tomatoes…..and right now my coffee!
    Get well.

    Reply
  14. Sharon - June 9, 2022 11:17 am

    Sean, I believe you are right. Do good and the rest will follow.
    Feel better soon!

    Reply
  15. Penn Wells - June 9, 2022 11:22 am

    One of your best.

    Reply
  16. Paul McCutchen - June 9, 2022 11:27 am

    Get well soon Ol’ great Sage. The world needs to continue to read your wisdom…sick or not.

    Reply
    • Priscilla Rodgers - June 9, 2022 12:07 pm

      Thanks for bringing me closer to my roots every day and I’m pretty close already! Feel better soon.

      Reply
  17. Pingback: Sean of the South: Dear Sean | The Trussville Tribune

  18. Richard Baker - June 9, 2022 11:34 am

    Prayers for your quick recovery, Sean. I believe that God believes you are an essential element in this created world, your words are needed because they are salt and light. And they don’t just drop into the void, but they accomplish the purpose for which they were uttered. For now, Rest, and heal,

    Reply
  19. Linda J Hendrix - June 9, 2022 11:51 am

    Prayers for quick healing.

    Reply
  20. Gay - June 9, 2022 11:56 am

    Amen. I believe in you, one of the kindest of God’s children. Feel better soon!

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  21. Dale Parsons - June 9, 2022 12:06 pm

    Amen.

    Reply
  22. James Smith - June 9, 2022 12:13 pm

    Hope you make a speedy recovery and wish you the best!

    Reply
  23. Helen De Prima - June 9, 2022 12:16 pm

    Feel better soon, Sean!

    Reply
  24. Julie Timms - June 9, 2022 12:45 pm

    Well said Sean. Get well soon

    Reply
  25. Carol - June 9, 2022 12:46 pm

    I believe in God , he heals the sick, the lonely, and he’s healing you
    And my brother right now. I’ve seen his miracles when he healed my son in law Jerry when he was dying in the hospital for a month when Covid first came out , the one that was suppose to kill you , God healed him and I saw it. And he’s healing you
    🙏God Bless and Keep telling beautiful stories and spreading the word ❤️

    Reply
  26. Jan - June 9, 2022 12:53 pm

    Great list of beliefs! Hope you feel better soon!

    Reply
  27. Dennis Painter - June 9, 2022 12:56 pm

    Sean, I am praying for you as you are sick with Covid and I am also praying you will see and believe that Jesus Christ loves you and died the paid the price for your sins.trust Him.

    Reply
  28. Leigh Amiot - June 9, 2022 12:59 pm

    Covid is no fun. Pretty sure I brought the original version to Georgia from Colorado in February 2020. Never diagnosed, but my symptoms ticked all the boxes. I was out of commission about three weeks, then developed secondary ear infections and temporarily lost much of my hearing. Every person I see, I am consciously aware they are survivors of this scourge.

    I believe in God, His Word. There is no better lens, in my estimation, to view how this world operates, right from wrong, redemption, all that. Even Billy Graham didn’t claim to understand it all, but faith in the big picture, the promises, the prophecies…does not fail. I hope your writer will read the book of Psalms and see all the heartaches experienced and the joyful triumph which eventually does come.

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  29. Joan Hinton - June 9, 2022 1:02 pm

    Dear ananamous and Sean. It does matter what you believe.The good that you do in this life doesn’t matter. The Bible says that all our righteousness is as filthy rags. When we believe in Jesus, we become righteous. If we believe that God sent His son on this earth to die for all our sins, that He rose again, and that He’ll return to take His believers back up to Heaven, we will be saved. Please read what the Bible says about it. The Bible is God’s inspired word for us. When someone dies, they leave a will. God left us His will in the Bible, but if we don’t read it, we won’t know what He left us. I pray that you will accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and when your time comes to die, you will know where you’re going. God bless you both.

    Reply
    • Sheryll - June 10, 2022 2:20 am

      Amen

      Reply
  30. Richard Owen - June 9, 2022 1:08 pm

    I was at a meeting of The Compassionate Friends, an organization for bereaved parents, and leading a men’s group in talking about our grief at losing a child. The talk went to religion and one guy said he was not sure anymore about his beliefs. I told him to get angry at God for his child and that God was “a big boy” and could take it. I agree with Connie on “belief” being key. It is something I am still working after the death of my son in 1991. Yes, like suicide of a parent, the grief over losing a child is long lasting.

    Reply
  31. Sandy Laster - June 9, 2022 1:09 pm

    I believe John 3:16 and verses surrounding it is a good place to start. That is why we see live from so many people.

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  32. JonDragonfly - June 9, 2022 1:10 pm

    “I believe I’ll have another big orange.”

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  33. Elizabeth G - June 9, 2022 1:10 pm

    Dear Sean, Thanks for the perspective … Feel better …

    Reply
  34. Sarah - June 9, 2022 1:11 pm

    Dear Anonymous and Sean, Our actions/works do matter. They are a way we can share God’s love for us with others. However, it’s not our doings or our works that save us or get us into heaven. It’s God’s gift of Jesus. All we have to do is believe. John 3:16-17

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  35. Sandra Jones - June 9, 2022 1:13 pm

    Perfect way to start the day

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  36. Rebecca Burrell - June 9, 2022 1:16 pm

    Please feel better real soon!

    Reply
  37. Ann of Mobile - June 9, 2022 1:22 pm

    Sean, I believe you may be even more profound when you are sick. Your answer to ‘Anonymous’ turned out to be profound and wonderful, not the ‘trite and cute’ I feared. Sick with Covid could have kept you from writing this free post at all. Thank you, Sean. I wish (and pray) you soon well and that Jamie doesn’t get it.

    Reply
  38. Lucretia Jones - June 9, 2022 1:27 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Your reply to Anonymous sums it up and beautifully done it is. In my thoughts and prayers you now are for healing.

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  39. robnrockin - June 9, 2022 1:29 pm

    Exactly! I luv you Sean…and someday i’m going to hug that neck of yours!

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  40. MermaidGr - June 9, 2022 1:44 pm

    I’ve heard some really great sermons. This one was outstanding. We’re all so very sorry you’re sick. Have you been able to trace back to where you got it? Don’t let that Precious Jamie get sick! We’re all pulling for you. Bless you, sweet Sean

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  41. Cathy M - June 9, 2022 1:46 pm

    I believe that you guide me in the right direction every single day. I also believe that our love for God leads us to doing good things for others, kindness, compassion and a desire to get to know him better. I just know that I can’t live a happy life without a personal realationship with the Holy Spirit. I also believe that that is a person’s choice and I try not to judge others on that topic. Your walk has to match your talk. That’s what I believe. Did I say I believe in rocking babies? It soothes the soul. Get well soon. Covid hit me twice and both times it was a challenge to find my normal energy level. Patience is a virtue😂

    Reply
  42. Ruth Mitchell - June 9, 2022 2:07 pm

    I believe God gave us all gifts, and I believe you use yours so much better than most do! Beautiful words of assurance today!

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  43. PL - June 9, 2022 2:14 pm

    Sean, I love you man and I hope you get well soon. God and his Son Jesus Christ are the only real TRUTH that endures in this world.

    Anonymous, I pray that you find the light of God’s truth in your life. Run to God with the heart of a little child and you will find peace. God Bless.

    Reply
  44. Glenda Busby-Fowler Hinkle - June 9, 2022 2:19 pm

    I heard Jon Voigt give a very profound interview recently and it has REALLY touched me. He said he prayed and asked God the question, “if you love me so much, God, then why is my life so difficult and painful?” He got an answer……God said “Life is SUPPOSED to be difficult……it is the only way you will truly come to me and know that I am real”. And, it’s true, in our darkest hours, God is the ONLY way for relief and we must ask Him to come into our lives and relieve our burdens that we can’t handle. No other way to get relief, no other way to prove that God truly means it when he says, “Bring your burdens to me and I will refresh you.” We have to get to the point where we say, like the song says, “Jesus, take the wheel, I can’t do this on my own anymore.”

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  45. Pam Crichton - June 9, 2022 2:24 pm

    I believe that you have just made my day!!!

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    • Kim Morris Ladoczky - June 10, 2022 3:22 pm

      I am so sorry you are sick. Yet, you are still able to write so beautifully. I feel your words touch my heart… these are the words that lead people to God, to find, or rediscover their faith. Thank you…

      Reply
  46. Cindy - June 9, 2022 2:38 pm

    Ephesians 2:8-10

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  47. Floyd - June 9, 2022 2:40 pm

    Believe in Jesus for eternal life, then what you do counts. What i believe

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  48. Cindy - June 9, 2022 2:46 pm

    Take care of yourself Sean. Doesn’t matter which variant of Covid you have it can still cause serious issues. 🙏🏼

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  49. Jannie Bryant - June 9, 2022 2:48 pm

    Thank you for a another wonderful column, Get well soon!

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  50. LINDA POUNCEY - June 9, 2022 2:56 pm

    Sean, the truth is that God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Belief In Jesus is absolutely the way to God. God is love and His love abounds to us, His creation.

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  51. M W - June 9, 2022 3:49 pm

    That’s much deeper than it will get credit for, but I believe you are right.

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  52. David Britnell - June 9, 2022 4:11 pm

    Love this!

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  53. Mary - June 9, 2022 4:48 pm

    Wonderful Southern Wisdom that the rest of the country and world should read and take to heart! Thank you for putting it in print.

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  54. Becky Souders - June 9, 2022 5:04 pm

    Thanks again, Sean. Another good one…. I think you should take a few off and rest up!

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  55. Jenny Young - June 9, 2022 5:42 pm

    You are so right that God believes in us even when we don’t believe in Him.

    I hope you feel better soon. I hate to think of you being sick & not able to taste Jamie’s amazing cooking. And I hope she’s well. We love you both so much!

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  56. Linda - June 9, 2022 6:32 pm

    Absolutely spot on!

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  57. Maggie Priestaf - June 9, 2022 6:33 pm

    Sean…Amen…

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  58. Susie, as well - June 9, 2022 6:45 pm

    Loved this story! I believe also that you have a good heart and a kind soul.

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  59. AlaRedClayGirl - June 9, 2022 6:47 pm

    Another good one. I had one of those Jack Russells you wouldn’t have believed in. He was always into trouble; I haven’t had another dog since him. Hope you feel better very soon!

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  60. Lori - June 9, 2022 6:51 pm

    Bro Sean best get on yo facebook page and read what Susannah B Lewis wrote in the comments – cause she lurves you and so do I. Give the Mrs a hug from the MS Delta….still waiting on that cookbook of hers!

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  61. Lois Lane Young - June 9, 2022 7:09 pm

    Amen. Thank you for that. I believe people can talk about God all day long, but the world would be a much better place if they lived what they claim to believe in.

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  62. Penny - June 9, 2022 7:20 pm

    Unfortunately, there will be way too many good people turned away from Heaven. You must believe in Jesus.

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  63. Gayle’s - June 9, 2022 7:22 pm

    Right now I am as sick as you are even with vaccines and booster I still feel like I have been hit by a smi-truck but am bolstered by all your words of believing thank you and get well

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  64. Vernon - June 9, 2022 7:30 pm

    Get well soon! If you knew our dog, Cookie, you’d believe in at least one little Rat Terrier mix (i.e. mutt) who never met a person she didn’t love or a leaf blower or cat she did. Rest up. We’ll still be here when you get back.

    Reply
  65. Donna Ormand - June 9, 2022 8:31 pm

    Sean,
    I believe that you are a very wise young man.

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  66. Bkr - June 9, 2022 9:20 pm

    Hope you feel better soon!

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  67. Christina - June 9, 2022 9:28 pm

    Rest up Sean and feel better soon!

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  68. Peggy ALEXANDER - June 9, 2022 9:41 pm

    Yes there is GOD. And you have got to believe in him,and be born again of the water and the spirit to enter heaven. The way to be born again is to follow ACTS 2:38-39. And then live for him til HE comes back for the church which I think will be soon. You have to repent of your sins, and be baptized in THE NAME OF JESUS, for the remission bod those sins and receive the gift of the HOLY GHOST. The scriptures on being born again is John 1:1-7

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  69. Peggy Alexander - June 9, 2022 10:03 pm

    I entered my comment but didn’t see it come through. Gonna try again. Excuse me if it comes through again. Yes ,There is GOD and he loves you and cares that you are hurting. You have got to believe in him. That is the FIRST step to salvation. Then you have got to be born again of the water ( baptism) and Spirit ( Holy Ghost). John1:1-7. To follow this being born again you follow what Peter said do in ACTS 2:38-39. REPENT and be baptized in the name of JESUS for the remission of your sins and receive vthe gift of the HOLY GHOST. In verse 37 they Asked “What Shall We do?And Peter told them. Oh yes there is a God and Sean please find that HE is real and tell these people that think so much of you that GOD is real. I think a lot of you too. Praying for you

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  70. Lauree - June 9, 2022 10:16 pm

    you have the biggest heart. ❤️❤️❤️

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  71. Madonna - June 9, 2022 10:19 pm

    I agree with Peggy, it’s an ACTS 2:38 experience to make it to Heaven. If you don’t have that experience you won’t make it to see JESUS! You must be born again of the water and spirit! Trust in GOD for your salvation, peace and joy! You are going to need it as the world is coming to an end very soon! Putting our trust in people and things are not wise because they fail, but GOD will never fail you!

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  72. Bonnie - June 9, 2022 11:29 pm

    Feel better, get better. Your outlook on life and your wisdom is needed in these times

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  73. Bill Bangham - June 10, 2022 1:51 am

    The discomfort of those who question your comments about God is a reflection of their uncertainty. It’s a terrible thing to feel the need to voice certainty when there is so much uncertainty in their own mind.

    Reply
  74. Rhonda - June 10, 2022 12:14 pm

    Vaccinated getting sicker than unvaxed now. The coronavirus ALWAYS mutates itself away from what it was. Natural immunity best with coronavirus.
    Take aspirin for clot prevention. Xo

    Reply
  75. P. - June 10, 2022 9:03 pm

    Sitting here at my kitchen table listening to old country and western music thinking to when the semester starts again — holding the same thoughts as your anonymous writer and village’s portion of doubt and dread. Folks in this thread take exception to your works over belief stance, but it’s always been the unspoken (even consciously unknown) belief that’s motivated what we do. It’s not the biscuits alone, but the love in them that lasts even after there’s not even a crumb left on the plate.

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  76. Patricia Taylor - June 11, 2022 4:09 am

    God wants us to love one another and I think that is what Sean was trying to get across. I don’t profess to know anyone’s heart, but loving one another is explained in John 13:34-35 as it says that we are His disciples if we have love one to another. Salvation is not always instantaneous as the first step is believing there is a God and acknowledging Him. The Holy Spirit draws us to Jesus who takes us to the Father. They are the three offices of the Godhead, yet they are all One. It seems complicated but is really very simple. It is a personal Individual experience. Prayers for you to get well soon Sean!

    Reply
  77. carolofreeCarol - June 11, 2022 4:40 pm

    I believe in you. I believe you will get better soon. I’m a nurse and I’m sure glad you believe in me.

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  78. Brenda from GA - June 11, 2022 5:34 pm

    I pray you’re feeling much better very soon and “amen” to your column!

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  79. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - June 11, 2022 11:10 pm

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  80. Claire - June 11, 2022 11:39 pm

    You got it right, Sean. Thank you.

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  81. Paula. ELLIS - June 16, 2022 2:10 am

    I am so sorry you do not believe it is important to believe in God. You have to believe he is real for him to save you. You can not start believing on judgement day. I am so sorry you lead that young man wrong. I hope he knows you are wrong before it is to late. You are such a wonderful caring man I pray you believe.

    Reply

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