It’s interesting to me how difficult things bring out different things in each of us. I have found it to be interesting as I have observed how people respond and react to the coronavirus crisis and the character in those around me.
Most inspire me and cause me to reach higher and dig deeper. Almost every day friends send me songs, quotes, scriptures, blogs, and thoughts that spur me on and give me strength. Some have more of a doomsday mentality, some are both brave and a little bit scared, and others are pretty crabby and mad. (I think I have experienced every one of those emotions at one time or another in the past couple weeks.) And some are a little bit mean.
The other day an acquaintance of mine posted something that was divisive and hurtful. This is a person who I admire very much and it surprised me that she would do this.
My first instinct ( which I am embarrassed to say is sooo Jackie-like) was to post something to give her a little scolding and remind her that there are good people on both sides of the political aisle and that we all need to stand together against this virus. But for a change…I prayed first.
Sometimes we are to take a stand and sometimes we are to sit quiet. In this particular situation – in this time of crisis – should I stand? Or sit quiet. I sought the Lord to find out which He would have me do.
Later that day I was having my daily quiet time with God and this is a little list that I came upon. It seemed to be hand delivered to me from Him.
Yeeeeeessshh. God never holds punches.
In times like these, emotions are high. This is a new kind of normal and it’s not easy for anyone. Any one of us can fall into blaming or being defensive; becoming fearful or angry. The above list was a powerful message for me.
Let’s take this apart …
Besides the virus, bitterness and pride are my real enemies.
How true this is. I am so quick to think, “How dare YOU post something that attacks a person like lil’ ole me???? Why would you paint such a broad brush towards everyone who voted different from you?”
My knee jerk reaction sounds prideful. It sounds bitter. And it was.
So, how do I guard against pride and bitterness when someone yanks my little chain? I don’t want to be that person. In the middle of this crisis, I desperately want things to roll off my back that do NOT matter. There are so many more important things.
I moved to the next item on the list. Think on God’s mercy…
This hit me right between the eyes. In the past few weeks, I have been begging God to have mercy on our nation, our healthcare workers, on friends and family, and on me. I have prayed that in His great mercy He will stop the spread of the virus. I have prayed that He would mercifully provide healing through new drugs and procedures.
How can I ask for the Lord to have mercy…only to turn around and sit on my high horse and be “bitter” at someone who is bitter at people like me because of my political lean? (It really is a bunch of nonsense isn’t it?)
Lord, teach me to be merciful. Help me to be rid of my pride. Help me learn to let go of things without feeling the need to bring up another perspective or my point of view. Help me to simply love this person the way I have always loved them. Help me to give them room to process their emotions.
Moving down to the next item on the list. Preach to yourself.
Ha! This is gold. We blogger types are prone to preach. I don’t want to be preached to – so why would you want me to preach to you? You don’t. There is a huge difference between preaching and sharing.
Sharing a political point of view can be eye-opening and helpful. But preaching, bullying, or being divisive is not helpful to anyone.
I have a number of friends who have different political persuasions than me. We have lively conversations and share our different perspectives and it’s helpful for me to hear another point of view that is different than my own. Sometimes we are left to agree to disagree, but always we will remain friends. We share but we don’t preach. (If one of us starts going in that direction the other quickly pulls them back.)
It is also important to share the love of Jesus and how He is working in our lives. But there is something about “preaching” that makes people want to hold up their hands with their palms facing out. Sharing looks a lot different than judging or shoving something in someone’s face.
I think the only preaching that is needed is for me. When I look at my own weaknesses and failures, that alone should keep me humble enough to keep my mouth shut long enough to keep from snipping back at someone on Facebook.
Moving down the list…
Run to comfort in Christ. I love this one. When I get my dander up or my feelings hurt, when I get bugged by some divisive post, or when I feel overwhelmed by this “new normal” in our lives…I simply need to seek Jesus.
Every single time I turn to Jesus through scripture, or a song or a devotional, it takes me higher. It takes me to the place where I am reminded that this life is only a preparation ground for the next. This life is not the end all. This is simply an opportunity to grow in faith and character. This is an opportunity to turn the other cheek in love.
Next on the list…
Hope in God.
If there is anything I have learned through my journey with cancer and now with the coronavirus, it is that our only hope is God. I cannot place my hope in my health, a job, my future, a vacation, the stock market, and certainly not the government.
My only hope is that no matter what happens here on earth, I have the hope of eternal life where there will be no more sickness, death, fear, or fighting.
And finally I come to the last item on the above list. This is convicting.
Jesus died so that I might live. Am I living like a person who has been freed from sin? Is my life transformed? Do I submit my will to God’s will for me? Or do I easily fall into getting my undies in a bundle over a Facebook post?
Jesus died that I might live free. I want to live free. Free of pride, bitterness, and pettiness. Free of anger or judgment. Free from fear and worry. Free from feeling overwhelmed.
In times like these I need to remember the most important things. My comfort is in Jesus. My hope is in God. And because Jesus died for me, I will seek to live for Him.
**Lyrics from “Who You Say I am”.
Until next time,