Come on in!
I’ve tried to write this multiple times, just to delete everything and stare at a blank screen for another half hour or so. I know what I want to say, I just don’t know how to make myself clear to you, my sister in Christ. So I’m going to type this as if we know each other and I’ve just invited you over to my house to sit at my dining room table. I’d probably make us some bomb lattes and we’d nibble on a few (or ten) warm chocolate chip cookies. Here’s what I’d tell you...
I know this world seems a little wobbly right now. I know there are a lot of opinions flying around, hard conversations taking place, Facebook wars, marches, debates, etc. I just want to tell you something: your little circle is all you can control, and if you look for offense and discord there, you’ll find it. There are things far outside of our control. Sure, we can vote and we can make our voices heard, but we cannot change people. We cannot make America realize that the cure for racism, disunity, anger, bitterness, wrath, broken homes, and wounded hearts can only be found in an Almighty God who loves and never changes. We cannot force truth on a world that won’t receive it. We can’t make a government understand or believe in everything we so passionately support.
But we can change our own circles by what we look for and how we respond to it.
When I look at what the media has to say or read the comments of strangers, I start feeling as if the whole world is falling apart. It seems like everyone is offended and nothing is going right, but then I drive through my own town and I don’t see a bunch of angry people with a political agenda like social media would have us believe.
I see a regular, hard-working young man hopping out of his first company vehicle with a little swagger and a dirty hat from a long days’ work.
I see young moms teaching their little ones how to operate the self-checkout at Walmart for the first time and grown sisters carrying on the most animated conversation in a parking lot, laughing until they can’t stand up straight.
I see all of this and I think, “Alright. Life really is good.”
You see, our own little circles--the real-life ones--are full of precious people. Different people. Funny people, uptight people, opinionated people, in a myriad of shapes and sizes. If all I look for in people is offense, if all I look for is whether or not they’re wearing a mask, or how rude they are to me, I’m going to find it. I’ll find problems with the way they bag their groceries, I’ll find problems with the way they parent their kids...there is no end to what we can come up with when we look for reasons to judge and divide.
But who does that sound like?
You’re right. That judgemental, prideful, offended spirit is from the pits of hell.
The Bible says that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. One of his favorite tactics is to take a group of godly people and pit them against each other so that they destroy the body of Christ instead of destroying the devil’s wicked kingdom. In my own circle, in your own circle, there will be disagreements. No two people are exactly alike. But we have a choice to make: we can either look for offense, get hurt, and rip the unity apart, OR we can recognize the differences, look for those “life is good” moments, and maintain unity to build the Kingdom.
I say all that to simply say this: we cannot fix all of the big problems. Only God can do that. But we can have a major impact on those around us by replicating what Jesus did.
He looked for opportunities to help and didn’t get hung up when someone opposed him. He just loved them anyway and met needs without discrimination, without self-righteousness, and without divisive, hurtful arguments.
He simply loved people.
We are called to be vigilant and aware of the times, sure. But we are not called to hopelessness or a lack of faith. Log off of social media for a bit, love those around you, be patient, teach the Word, and watch God transform the lives of your neighbors, classmates, friends, and family. He can do anything.
Also, put your mug in the left side of the sink, if you don’t mind. Here are some chocolate chip cookies to take home. =)