The Nation is on Fire

It is 4:37 a.m. on a Friday. I have been awake for two hours. I have already scanned my FB and have seen how my friends list has lost a few people. There were a couple that surprised me, but I have no idea who the others were.

In the past, this would have really hurt me. I would obsess over the why and actually start beating myself up over it. This time though, it is different. I give some credit to a years worth of counseling and working hard on my mental health, but there is something else that has changed..

I’m not allowing fear to control me and keep me from using my voice based on others acceptance of me.

The nation is on fire and I mean that literally and figuratively. We have once again become a country divided, which seems to happen more often than not. This current divisiveness isn’t new. In fact, it is this country’s history repeating itself.

Racism, inequality, justice, police brutality, and political views are at the forefront. Peaceful protests versus riots, Democrats versus Republican, good police versus bad police, black versus white, friend/family versus friend/family. The list truly is endless and so is the hate, anger, and finger pointing.

So where do I stand in the middle of this? I stand with equality, justice, and all people. I stand with the solid conviction that black lives matter, and that this country, my country, has treated the black community like they do not for long enough. While several others share this same opinion, several do not.

I have been extremely vocal and have used my FB as a platform to stand up against racism and more specifically, systemic racism. I wanted to spread awareness that it still exists and help educate others by sharing what I have learned and continue to learn. It has angered people… and it should. We should be angry when others are singled out, mistreated, hated, and murdered because of the color of their skin (their ethnicity, religion, economic status..).

Emotions are a gift from God intended to compel us to take action. For example, our anger at a wrong committed against us or someone else can compel us to seek justice. As important as our emotions are, we must never be ruled by them-rather, we must subject our emotions to a will that is yielded to God. All emotions are intended to be expressed in a godly manner so as not to cause hurt to other people or result in manipulation of other people.

Expressing What Is Within, The Women’s Study Bible (NIV) pg 805

Jesus knew, felt, and exhibited anger (Matthew 21:12).

Anger is a God-given emotion, but we mustn’t sin out of our anger.

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.

Jeremiah 17:10

Somehow empathy, compassion, and understanding has been lost. The words ‘police brutality’ and standing up against that has turned into supporters being against all police. That is not true. Those peacefully protesting have now been overshadowed by others who are rioting. The WHY has been lost..

or is it just being ignored?

Talking about racism is uncomfortable. It makes us squirm a little and we become defensive. We feel like we have to prove that we aren’t racist and prejudiced. ‘We’ is referring to white people. I was recently in a debate and was told, “protesting isn’t part of the solution. You are just doing it so you can say you aren’t part of the problem”. That was and never has been my intention. Not only that, I confess that I have been part of the problem. It has been through the protest, doing my own research, and having those uncomfortable conversations with the black community that I have been able to acknowledge that and grow as a person.

How have I been part of the problem? I never have spoken up when a friend or family member has used the ‘n’ word. I have allowed others to sit next to me and openly criticize and judge another person because of the color of their skin.. and I remained silent.

I believe all of us, the human race, should take these words to heart and reflect. Are our actions in line with the Lord’s teachings? How is our conduct between each other?

Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you– for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.

Ecclesiastes 7: 19-22

We must be intentional at gaining wisdom and educating ourselves on current events. We must do the work and not rely on media, what our leaders say, or what our friends share on social media. Reach out to those in need and talk to them. Ask them about their story and experience. Then everything we learn, we must hold up to the Word of God, and ask ourselves What would Jesus do? Throughout the Gospel we see where Jesus didn’t sit with the leaders but instead he sat with those who were hurting. He listened to their cries and he helped them.

All this I tested by wisdom and I said, ‘I am determined to be wise–but this was beyond me. Whatever exists is far off and most profound–who can discover it? So I turned my mind to understand to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly..

Ecclesiastes 7:23-25

Jesus gave a new command, The command,

Love one another the way that I love you. (John 15:12)

Are we doing this as a nation?

Messy blessings,

Misty

*Special note* Some of you may read this and say I am twisting scripture for my own personal agenda (I actually have been told this). I disagree. I apply scripture differently. I believe scripture is alive and breathing and it can speak to me in different ways. I can read a scripture and apply it one way to my life, and then months later read it again and it seems to apply in a new way. I do not believe that is wrong, and I wonder if those that feel it is are feeling unsettled. Whatever the reason, we each have our own personal relationship with Lord Jesus.

1 John 3: 17-18

Lord Jesus, I pray for our nation. I pray that hearts will be transformed and we extend love instead of hate, compassion instead of judgment, understanding instead of ridicule. Give us the strength and willingness to stand up for what is right and just for we are all your children. May we be obedient to your command to love one another as You love us. It is in Your name I pray, AMEN.

The Call to Love

A note to the reader:

I published this post on November 13, 2016. At that time, our country was divided over the Presidential selections. Now, 4 years later, we are in the same condition. Divided.

Thank you for reading. – Misty

martinlutherkingjrquote

The last two days I have been glancing at my computer and trying to ignore the nudge of writing on my blog. I usually use this as an outlet for my feelings, circumstances, frustrations, basically a journal of my life. So, it is curious as to why I could not bring myself to the keyboard.

This week has been a rough one in my country. I have found it so incredibly difficult to put into words how I am feeling, my fears, and my hopes. It almost seems impossible to express anything on social media, despite the best intentions, without having the wolves come at you. Honestly, I’m typing this now without a clue as to the title and after sending up a prayer for the Lord’s guidance in what I type and that it may glorify Him.

The scripture read today at church came from Luke 6:35-38:

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”(emphasis added)

My pastor spoke about the current protests going on in our country, as well as, the fear among our fellow neighbors. How even, in the small farming community I live, there are families who have sought out our church to see if we could be a safe haven for them. They are scared.

The above scripture is a call to Christians; but it goes even beyond that. Although, I am a Christian and believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior, I know there are those out there who do not have my belief system. I know some of these people personally, they are my friends and family, and I love them very much. They also, are great, loving and compassionate people.

I believe it is a call to humanity to love your enemies, lend and give to them without expecting any thing in return. We all should be merciful. We should not judge or condemn and we all need to forgive. 

The rhetoric between Americans, on both sides, is deplorable. The protests that are anything but peaceful, are wrong. The name calling of ‘cry babies’ and telling those who are legitimately hurting to ‘suck it up’, is wrong. The continued sharing of memes disrespecting our current president and our president-elect is wrong. The list can go on and on and on. Not one of these behaviors glorify our Lord. Not one of these behaviors show people God’s love.

It doesn’t matter who you supported and your reasons behind it. It doesn’t matter who won or who didn’t win. Why? Because NOONE can control how you respond to someone else, except you. Your behaviors, actions, words, and responses only speak to your own character and where your heart lies. 

I pray for healing for our nation. I pray for the hateful words to cease and be replaced by words of encouragement and love. I pray that we stop pointing fingers and casting out judgments and instead start opening our minds, hearts, and arms to people in our communities.

I am going to end with extending the earlier scripture and using The Message version. This is Luke 6: 27-38:

“Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. 
I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
By His grace,
Misty