Think Like A Winner

It’s easy to say, “Don’t be afraid” of the global Covid-19 spread. It’s more difficult to maintain a state of trust when its effects have reached your life. Parents are scrambling to find daycare with school closures. People have lost their sole sources of incomes while their work places are closed or staffing significantly reduced. Life savings invested in businesses or in stocks are reducing by the hour.

And these things are just a few of the peripheral effects of the Coronavirus. The fear is real for people who have no health insurance; with compromised, chronic health issues; who care for children or adults with those issues; or are older adults. We know the virus is directly more threatening to those demographics.

It’s not that I haven’t been impacted personally, because I have. I empathise with those who are experiencing fear, but I have not felt it myself. I think a younger “me” would have succumbed to at least a portion of the anxiety others exhibit. I believe my current immunity to fear of Covid-19 is due to having forged a mindset of faith in the past. I have fought too many battles to count over the past two decades especially. I fight fear and anxiety as needed still. I assume I will always need to battle what comes against us.

Think of it as a muscle. Build it up. It’s work to do that, but ultimately there is payoff. As with exercise, choose for yourself what inspires you and helps you to stay focussed on peace and trust.

To maintain my confidence, it is essential to ingest only reasonable, factual information. I actively reject unfounded information and refuse to swallow the Kool Aid of lies. I am driven to refute and confront assertive influencers, their spoons outstretched, looking for naive or weak or vulnerable people to force-feed lies. For those vulnerable victims I confront the aggressors with truths (because one of the attributes of God is truth). I do battle on behalf of truth and my God who is too-often misrepresented.

The more I exercise my muscles to retain truth from those who try to  wrestle it away, the stronger my foundation in truth. True is true; no amount of salesmanship can convince me otherwise. My firm foundation wasn’t built in a day. It wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. It was built by having to work at it. I found the solid rock on which I now stand, and clung to it whenever storms threatened to dislodge me. I fought to stay here against countless storms. I’m here now because of the work done in the past. My foundation and the structure that is my life that is built on it, was built over time, in all kinds of conditions, some of them life threatening.

Do what helps you stay in truth. I am a committed, “all-in” follower of Christ, so I go “all in” with who he is and what he says, digging in my heels more determined than ever at times like these. When crises knock on my door, and sometimes knock it down and enter, I entrench my stance in the belief that God wants good for us and never evil; he came to bring us life and to have it more abundantly; he is a God of power and wants to use it on our behalves.

Evil can overwhelm, and yes it can win. I don’t understand the “whys” and “hows” of this fact, considering God is Almighty and All-powerful. I believe it has to do with the way he designed his relationship with mankind as founded on our free will. We aren’t puppets. We aren’t his pawns. We have choice. We are dealing with the choices of all of humanity over all of time. If we’ve been led astray by outright falsehoods or corrupted but widely accepted theologies, maybe it’s time to stop the cycle. It has to start somewhere, doesn’t it? Why not start with you?

He wants us to maintain the victory that Christ won for us at Calvary. That takes effort on our part, it takes work. That work is often done in our stances. Our minds are battlegrounds where fear imposes, panic threatens, and lies “whisper” into our spiritual “ears”.

It is our job to battle back. Maintain the victory that Christ won for us long ago. Don’t take it lying down. Get up, put on your boxing gloves, and, as Jesus did with the Satan in the wilderness … refute the lies. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil spiritual forces. Battle the father of lies. Resist the devil and he will flee. Decide, “I’m not accepting this fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Surround yourself with what helps you do battle. Music helps me. I realize the music on this post may be too representative of a particular religious culture to you, and you may have an aversion to it (maybe rightly so, if you are detecting an impurity that needs to be removed from organized religion), or it may simply not be your taste. It’s only marginally my own taste, but I linked it because it is on point. More my taste is what I’m listening to right now:  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Don’t Back Down”. Choose whatever music you prefer.

Other ways to facilitate hope are to read articles that support it. If you can’t stand your ground amid words of hopelessness and distress, remove yourself from the voices who propagate it. Take a walk. Enjoy nature. If you can’t do that, gaze at photos of love and beauty and empowerment. Do what speaks to you personally. Watch shows and movies of good winning and evil losing.

Surround yourself with whatever builds your faith and minimizes the bravado of fear.

Lasso your renegade thoughts. Face them and refute them with reason. Work your muscles to do these things until you think like conquerors think. They expect to win.

If, despite your best efforts, loss still comes to you, don’t suppose for a minute that your work was misdirected. If you were battling for good and truth and righteousness and hope, you were on the right side. You were doing your best at that moment in time. You might very well have advanced your authority in the spiritual realm. You may not win this battle but you may win the next because of the progress you made.

Don’t give up the ground you’ve gained. Stand your ground. And when you’re ready, march forward once again to overtake evil with good.


 

Song credit and licensing belongs to Kristene DiMarco, Bethel Music.

Moving Up

Two years ago today, my stepfather died. He was 91 years old. He married my mom in 1991 after my dad and his wife died of similar cancers. He was the only grandfather my two sons and most of their cousins will ever remember.

I woke before 5:00 that morning. I had an appointment for a tech to come from our cable company between 8 and 10:00. I had waited two weeks for that appointment. Still, to wait till after the appointment to arrive at the hospital, where Vern had been since a massive hemorrhagic stroke just five days prior, felt “too late”. So I cancelled the appointment and left the house before dawn.

Vern’s breathing had changed the day before. There had been a code. Not a Code Blue, because he didn’t want that, or any desperate measures, but the equivalent of it for patients like him. The Rapid Response Team decided to add a ventilator to ease his significantly labored breathing.

I was at the hospital before daybreak. My mom had slept in the chair in Vern’s room, and was awake. We sat talking. Chatting. Easy talk, despite the gravity of his condition. I made a coffee run.

Around 9:00, they asked us to leave the room so they could give his morning bed bath. We went to the lobby, where Mom recognized a chaplain who had visited Vern’s room earlier in the week, and struck up a conversation with him. I think she needed the break from the reality in Vern’s room on the sixth floor, but I felt the need to interrupt their discussion for us to get back to him.

I’m so glad I did. When we opened his door, the nurses were gone. I looked first to his breathing. I had been fixated on it all week, and immediately saw it had changed again in the 15 minutes we were gone. No longer labored and rapid, as it had been for 18 hours or so. Now shallow and slow. I alerted my mother, who hadn’t yet noticed, and she hurried to his side. She lifted his left hand and held it between hers. I sat opposite on the bed, one hand on his arm, the other on my mom’s.

Mom pushed the call button for his nurse, who came within seconds. She checked his vitals and the machines, her voice full of compassion as she asked if we’d like her to remove the ventilator mask and turn off the machine. She didn’t need to say more for us to know the machine couldn’t help any longer. She was affirming what we already knew. We nodded, and he was freed of the mask.

I am glad we made that decision. It was Vern’s face again, Just Vern, without that big mask.

With the hum of the machine off, the room was quiet again. Peaceful.

Less than a minute later … there came a lengthened pause between the breaths. Just two more spaced, slow, shallow breaths …

Then no more.

So easy. So peaceful.

To fully understand what this meant to me to be there:

I was in the kitchen when my father passed in my parents’ living room 29 years prior. As was my mom. We were eating a frozen pizza, because meals still had to happen. It had been days of “near the end”. Hospice had educated us along the way. We knew what to expect. But we also knew there was no way to predict the final moment.

And so we left his side, where I had been wiping his brow with a cool wet cloth, to grab a quick meal in the kitchen.

Putting us in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My dad was alone in the living room when he passed. Maybe it was for the best for Mom, I don’t know; she’s never spoken of it with regret. But I’ve been filled with regret about that timing since 1989.

Tortured by bad timing.

I had wanted to be holding his hand when he passed. I wanted for him to feel the weight of his loved ones on the edge of his bed. My brother said Dad wouldn’t have wanted that; he would have wanted to spare us the pain of his last breath. Maybe my brother was right.

But I wanted to be there.

Just a week before my stepfather passed, my godmother, my dear aunt, passed. I was there that day, kept in the loop by her husband and my cousins, who had been told by the nursing home staff that she was in her final days.

I wanted to be there. I would make up for my failure of not being there for my dad.

A worker from Hospice came in and out all that morning. My aunt’s second husband was there, as he was every day since my aunt’s stroke months before. Both were widowers, just like my mom and step-dad when they married. The Hospice worker encouraged Jim and I to take a break, to go for lunch. She said it could be a full day away, maybe two, nobody knew.

And so he went for lunch, and I took a walk. A long walk.

I was less than half a block from returning to my aunt’s nursing home when Jim called. My aunt was gone and I was a mere two minutes away.

In the wrong place at the wrong time, again.

Once again, I was tortured with regret. If only I’d stayed. If only I’d hurried back. If only …

The morning of my aunt’s visitation, Vern had the stroke. So two years ago today, a week after my aunt died, on the morning that would be my stepfather’s last …

The odds of being in the wrong place at the wrong time were high:  If I’d waited till after 10, after the Mediacom tech left. If I’d patiently allowed Mom to have an extended conversation with the chaplain in the lobby. If we’d been just outside the door even; if the nurses had taken longer attending to him.

Instead …

This time I was there. Physically there. Vern could feel the weight of our bodies seated next to him, the touch of our hands on his, as he passed.

My regret is gone; the 29-year torture has ceased.

My Mom asked me that morning of witnessing Vern’s death, and many times since, “When did you get so strong?”

Because I didn’t cry.

Not there on the edge of Vern’s bed. Not since. I’m not certain why, but I think witnessing Vern’s passing did something to my outlook on life and death.

Death is not terrible. Not when a person has lived a long, full, mostly healthy, mostly happy life. Maybe not when anyone dies. Not when heaven is waiting. Not when loved ones there are waiting.

Jim told my aunt to go on there, that my uncle, her first husband, was there waiting for her. He would be fine, he wanted Aunt Pat to go be with Uncle Elden. He wanted her to go ahead and see her parents again. He would see her … later.

Mom told me she had a talk with Vern in the night before he passed. She told him to go ahead … to reunite with his first wife, Verla, and his brothers and parents and friends. She would see him … later.

Because God promises and makes possible an everlasting life, I know now that death is natural. Death is a passing of the body. The story is not over, just a transference of the soul from here to there. It is a transcendency.

Death is … moving up.

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Strong Tower

Cindi Gale

Psalm 61 (NLV) – A Safe Place in God

61 Hear my cry, O God. Listen to my prayer. I call to You from the end of the earth when my heart is weak. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a safe place for me, a tower of strength where I am safe from those who fight against me. Let me live in Your tent forever. Let me be safe under the covering of Your wings. For You have heard my promises, O God. You have given me that which You give to those who fear Your name. You will add days to the life of the king. His years will be as long as the lives of many children and grandchildren added together. He will stay forever with God. Set apart loving-kindness and truth to…

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The Gravity of God

1 Kings 18:20-40

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.

“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

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Show Your Work

A defense is making the rounds in the Christian Pro-Trump camp:

We need to understand that God uses ungodly people for His purposes. The Bible has story after story about the unlikeliness of who He chose to lead a people, a nation. I support Pres. Trump for his policies .. not his personality.

I’ve asked people who’ve declared some version of this viewpoint to name those people in the Bible. I’ve yet to get a response, so I am going to try to defend their statement for them:

First, it’s a Biblical claim, so we have to find it as a truth in the Bible. Also, we have to conclude that whoever is in office is put there by God — he wasn’t elected; free will didn’t come into play.

I can’t resolve the “free will” question here, that’s too much. Suffice it to say I lean most heavily to the belief that God gives us free will to do right or do wrong without him forcing us either way, but will assume, for this purpose, that God does control who is in leadership. (I know, the logic bothers me deeply, too, because … Hitler and such. But suspend logic for a few minutes to see if the belief is accurate.) I’m going to eliminate the “free will” debate and proceed with the rest of the statement.

So … to the point of Trump being ungodly, but at the same time, “of God”:

God did use ungodly, even evil leaders and kingdoms to deliver justice to his own people (always leaving a remnant to keep his covenant with Abraham). But look at that … he used evil people to annihilate the evil that his chosen people had become. Like the flood long before Abraham, only with death at the hands of evil soldiers.

We can make it work only if we accept that Trump (good or not) may be in power to deliver justice to us … to deliver judgment to American Christians. If they will allow for that application, we can leave it in, but not if they allow for it to be only true according to their own values and beliefs (ex. to drain the swamp). If you know God, you know you don’t get to tell him what to value and think and do. You have to become less so that he can become more. You have to give up your own values and thoughts to adopt his. Or not. But if you know better yet don’t yield to him … there’s always that judgment thing looming.

Still, I’m going to try to make their argument true:

So where did “chosen” happen in the Bible? King David fits the “chosen by God” argument, because he was … it is documented. But it gets a little gray right away; God didn’t want to do it. There was a whole tug of war over it: God wanted his people to continue to be led by priests; they saw neighboring kingdoms led by kings and pushed to get one. He said no, they said, gimme gimme, and he relented, having Samuel select David when he was still a shepherd boy, to later take Saul’s throne. I still think it can be solidly argued that he was chosen by God.

David also fits the “unlikely” and “sinner” comparison, due to knowingly setting up a death (Bathsheba’s husband) for his own agenda. But here the comparison ends. Since there is so much in the Bible about him, we get to see who David was: contrite … utterly contrite. Repentant. Sackcloth and ashes remorseful. Determined, before and after his terrible sin, that his life and his reign be pleasing to God.

And there is the Biblical “you will know them by their fruit” truth… and “out of the abundance of the heart a mouth speaks” concept that is to help know who people are … David was godly, we can read it, and God called him so. If Trump were handed a quill pen to write psalms, we already know what he would write. Copy and paste his tweets, and … he “ain’t no King David”. And the U.S., frankly, “ain’t no Biblical Israel” either.

Long before David … Abraham (and Isaac and Jacob after, although they were leaders due to a covenant), and Joseph, and Moses were also leaders selected by God to lead God’s chosen nation, but again … to consider Trump as advancing God’s plan as they did is to say Trump is an Abraham; he is a Joseph – or we have to diminish them to the same level as Trump.

On a side but I think important note: to presume God views the U.S. as his chosen people is something I am unwilling to do. Individuals all over the world are “his”, yes. America chosen as a nation as “his”, no. Biblically, the chosen nation scattered. It wasn’t until post WWII that Israel had a land again to call theirs. Should we be certain that we can insert “the U.S.A” in place of “Israel” in order to claim the Biblical principles that politicalized Christians do? I don’t think we can.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David … Those men were willing (or in Jacob’s case, wrestled) to yield their lives to God to the extent that they gave the majority of their lives to be trained and equipped to lead according to God’s standards. They didn’t get the place of power until God called them ready. They were trained in deserts and wildernesses, in slavery and as servants, and on the run from powerful, evil people determined to take their lives. They were faithful regardless God’s terms of development. They feared God.

To claim that Trump is “of God” then, is to claim that he was equipped and trained by God for the presidency. He doesn’t hold up to Abraham, Joseph, Moses, etc. To alter God’s ways is to be braver than I am. I shutter every time politicalized Christians/ Trump loyalists elevate Trump, America, and our flag above the world. Above God, even. To them, it’s not, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son …”, it is “God so loved the USA and its values as we say that he gave his only son …”

It is daring (and I believe uber-foolish) to tell God what his intentions and standards are. It is audacious to presume Trump was chosen by him, or that Trump is pleasing in God’s sight. If they know God, as they say, why do they not fear him? He alone is God, not me and not you and not Trump and not America. To start with our political beliefs, then to stretch them to encompass God, and to declare God chose and is carrying out his will according to our beliefs … is a boldness I’m too scared to have.

I took a re-look at the Chronicles, 1st and 2nd Kings, and 1st and 2nd Samuel, where we see the leaders of God’s people (even if we stretch we Americans to be called God’s people). There, in the chronological stories of the kings, is a conclusion of each leader’s life. Only a handful (looks like 5) were pleasing to God. The majority of 50- ish kings of Israel/ Judah (I did a quick count only) did not please God. He simply called them evil. The leaders of the Children of God’s kingdoms … he called them evil.

To breezily presume Trump was chosen by God and is doing God’s will …. again, I can’t do it.

We can view it as a math teacher wanting to see how a student drew their conclusion. We hear the conclusion all the time, but we have yet to “see their work”. I just attempted it, above, and couldn’t draw the same conclusion.

Then The King Will Say …

Matthew 25:31-46

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Pendulum

 

I can’t count how many times I have read or heard some version of the following rationalization since Trump took office:

“We need to understand that God uses ungodly people for His purposes. The Bible has story after story about the unlikeliness of who He chose to lead a people, a nation. I support President Trump for his policies .. not his personality.”

I have yet to hear an example so that we can look at a story together and consider the person, the context, and the lessons God intended.

There are centuries of reigns by kings documented in the Bible, their lives distilled to one of these two statements:

1.) He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left, or …

2.) He did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord his God.

As for the status of those kingdoms of God? — Each went the way of their king. The pendulum swung back and forth over the centuries. The whole kingdom swung to good. The whole kingdom swung to bad.

In the book of Samuel, we learn that God never wanted kings. His will was that his chosen priests continue to lead. During the time of the priest Samuel, the people of God’s kingdom rejected God’s will and demanded a king. All the other kingdoms had kings, they wanted one, too. God ultimately relented and they chose Saul. David, meanwhile, was handpicked by God (via Samuel) to later take Saul’s place as their first God-approved king.

Not because it was God’s will. Because it was the people’s will.

Still, David was a man after God’s own heart. He was not sinless, but repentant and intensely recommitted to God after, for an overall lifetime yielded to service of God. Most kings after David, however, were not “pleasing to God”. They did what was evil in His eyes. Read Kings 1 and 2, and 1st and 2nd Samuel, and the Chronicles, and the lesson over and over is that God allowed free will and the rise to power of evil kings as well as good.

Just because a president is elected, does not equate to “he is who God chose”.

Just because a president claims to be a Christian, does not equate to being pleasing in the eyes of God.

Just because a party claims that God endorses that party, does not make it so.

Just because a president tackles single issues, such as abortion, that line up with a specific religion’s stances, does not equate to “God chose Trump (or anyone else)”.

To someone who claims, “Trump is accomplishing God’s will”, I ask:

Is he? How did you land on that conclusion? – because people told you so?

Or because God told you so?

What about the other stances important to God, like caring for the most vulnerable people in society? More is written in the Bible about that, yet those directives are alright to ignore? Policies against those people are alright?

When political stances and figures are weighted with “God endorses him”, we’d better be hearing it from God himself, not people. To do otherwise is to prioritize people over God.

To oblige a person or group instead of God … does not end well.

Take a look again at God’s kingdoms of old.

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Job 28:28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

 

Spacious Place

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Psalm 18

13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.

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Puppets and Pawns

 

 

During last Week’s State of the Union address, the attendees moved to their poles just as they were trained. Much of America did the same in their homes.

We have become a nation of puppets.

The memes tell us we should go all in to the extremes. Newscasters tell us we should do the same. Leaders effectively rally us to groupthink.

Peers pressure and scold us if we don’t join in.

But we can’t just blame the influencers …

Each person who ended up in blind loyalty allowed it to happen. We let ourselves be played. We let it happen. We walked right into the traps.

We don’t think for ourselves. We don’t investigate topics until we understand them. We don’t break ranks from groupthink to search for solutions. We read a meme or hear an angry voice and let them inflame us too, without spending a minute more time to investigate the topic further.

Inside the trap of extremism, we like the feeling of righteous indignation that constantly blares from the speakers there. We like to hear the din of like-minded people affirming our views and spurring us to hatred and aggression toward those who disagree.

We like keeping the pot constantly stirred, so we can feel pride and self-righteousness over and over again.

In short, we like being awful; we like being pawns.

But it didn’t come without cost. When we chose our extremes, we abandoned reason, independent thinking, ethics, morality, empathy, and any attempt at resolution. 

When will people tire of being manipulated?

When will enough be enough? When will people stop digging in their heels in their existing stances, and move together to make change? When will we give up being “right” to look together for what is right for all?

I’m ready. Are you?