I suppose I should have instant opinions or insight about the current rioting in the U.S.A. and beyond. I do have a blog and that’s what blogging is all about. But …
I’m still back in the murder of George Floyd.
I’m still there …
With a grief that has yet to erupt in tears, but threatens to at any second.
I’ve been in constant, underlying grief for a week.
I want to move forward, I expected to, but it’s just not happened. Because I have noted that, with God, for every problem there is a solution, I prefer to hurry ahead to solutions. That stage pulls me out of agonizing problem-mode, and puts me in the more tolerable fixing-mode.
Yet, I’m still in problem mode.
I’m still in grief of white men murdering a black man. I don’t even have words for all that is embedded in that video.
55 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for…
God is not made in our image. He is who he is. Yet we sit in our churches or alongside like-minded peers and relish only the aspects of God that assuage our unconsecrated souls.
We want God to deliver his judgment and wrath on our enemies: those not like us; those who oppose our values, politics, and prejudices; those who we determine, according to our own thinking, to be “sinners”. We assume those “others” will receive God’s vengeance for their misdeeds, but we … we will receive God’s love and grace.
When it comes to God’s focus on us, we are absolutely certain of God’s longsuffering and forgiveness and favor, but the other’s … let them be punished by God. We even get specific in our prayers: we “pray” to God what we want him to do to our enemies.
The power of evil to slowly, imperceptibly rob us of our identities is real. We are unlikely to be a threat to evil as long as we remain subjugated to ungodly people and mentalities.
Satan knows what he’s dealing with as long as we are predictable. He knows the rules of religions, the demands on underlings to conform. If we swallow the pill of mindless compliance, he is assured of our passivity.
We will be passive to injustice. We won’t learn of our God-given rights. We won’t express our true personalities and develop our God-given insights, gifts, talents, and strengths. We won’t be capable of overcoming evil with good.
If you’re suppressed and your identity is muddled, let’s do something about it. Let’s flip-flop the situation, and free you to be capable of overcoming evil with good.
Pray. Expect and listen to the Holy Spirit’s perfect counsel. Reflect: What is…
Me, who hears your dogma and certainty and outrage.
Me, who watches as you assign blame for this nation’s devolution.
Me, who sees the objects of your wrath: the people with names and faces and value in God’s eyes; the people you used to care about, but have dehumanized now. They are …
Me, who reads the articles and watches the videos you share. Propaganda pieces created by people that you think are your peers, your tribe, your team.
Me, who knows that propaganda machine doesn’t care about me and they don’t care about you. That giant, cruel machine is effective and determined to divide, to incite rage, to invent targets, and justify the incited anger at those targets,. It seeks to ruin and slander and win and destroy innocent lives.
Me, who reads your posts and articles and watches the videos you…
I attended a seminar last week. It was about economics, but the best part to me was the speaker’s view of the world at large. He was hopeful. Positive. Inspiring. He credited his father with guiding him at a young age to” be a student of the good.”
The speaker added, “The world is full of doom and gloom. News outlets cater to people’s craving for it; people want to see and hear it.”
“Not me,” I said to my dinner partner, “I hate doom and gloom.” But of course our speaker was right, we all know “bad news sells” — just note what editors select for headlines.
The speaker lingered on a single slide of his power point presentation, a diagram of a “smart contact lens”. He asked, “Have you heard of them? No? Because they have not been covered in the news. I googled ‘innovative technology’ in my search for ‘good’. These contact lenses are here, in the development stage. With them, we may soon be able to see through walls and see in the dark.”
He closed with a challenge, our “homework assignment”: “I want you to intentionally look for good news in a world full of bad news. Be a student of the good.”
I guess I’ve been doing that, subconsciously, for a long while. It has been a self-preservation response to having been slowly and insidiously overwhelmed with “bad” in the past. I assume balms are different for each of us, as unique as are our fingerprints.
For me, the outdoors consistently soothes my soul. Feeling crisp air. Turning my face to the sun, wind or water. Breathing in the aromas of rain or freshly-cut grass. Soaking in beautiful vistas or sunsets. Capturing that beauty with my camera. I revisit “the good” pictures on days that are gray and unlovely.
“Be a student of the good.”
For me, the joy of others is “good.” Witnessing people and animals engrossed in play or displaying unique abilities makes my heart a little lighter. It’s a privilege to make someone’s favorite thing happen. Their happiness reaches beyond them. There is something contagious about even taking a dog I’m attached to swimming: to him it is heaven; to me it is … well, I guess it’s heaven for me, too.
I savor meaningful conversations with friends who share the same interests and passions. I enjoy being with people I know very, very well … that ease of playing board games, or working side by side, or sharing meals, or traveling. It’s with those people that it’s not work to do even the mundane of life together. I like meeting new people too — the more unlike me, the more I am intrigued by what they think, what they value, what they like to do.
These are are the simple things, the easy things to see and do. The good is there, but often we are so overwhelmed by the truly awful things of this world that we must be intentional. We must search for “good”. Our speaker found innovative technology was his “good”. Your “good” will be something unique to you. You have much control over what consumes your heart and mind. Rather than be overtaken with the bad stuff of life, be “a student of the good”.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
3 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be…
For years I have been drawn to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. Maybe it is his rich, deep voice. Maybe it is the sincerity in which he sings. I don’t hear Cash, I hear God speaking the lyrics to me.
Listen. Hear his heart. Hear his promise. Believe it – He will do it.
“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
“When people show you who they are, believe them.” … When a person let’s you know … they say, “I told you I was unkind. So now why are you angry?” – Maya Angelou
I suppose Maya Angelou’s question is a rhetorical one, but I’m going to answer it anyway, because God knows I’ve spent countless hours over decades trying to understand how twisted relationships happen.
“Why don’t you believe them the first time they show you, or tell you, who they are?”
You very much want them to be better than they are at any given point in time.
You are optimistic they can be.
You are committed to the relationship, and don’t give up on your commitments that easily.
You aren’t ready to give up on what COULD be, if only some crucial corrections are made.
You know this person CAN be good, you’ve seen them act…