Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Mid-Week Message - Something to Think About

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."  Ephesians 4:31-32  (NLT)

There is a wonderful little restaurant here in my area of Georgia that, for awhile, a neighbor and I tried to go to once a week.  It is wildly popular in my small town which means that the line for the drive-thru in the mornings usually wraps around the building and out into the street.  This weekend was no exception but we enjoy the extra time to visit.  This time, as we were finally getting our turn to actually enter the parking lot, I noticed that there was a gentleman in a truck who had come from a different direction waiting for someone to allow him into the line, so I did.  As we approached to place our order, we heard a man's voice yelling out.  I looked in my rear view mirror and the man behind me pointed at me and he began uttering some of the most vile things I have ever had directed at me.  He continued doing so the rest of the way to the order window and we were incredibly happy to pay and leave.

The mood in my car changed.  Before our encounter, we had been laughing and having a good time.  Afterwards, we were solemn and quiet for awhile.  I had made a choice to be kind to one person but another took offense.  Should I have made a different choice in order to protect myself?  As I have been puzzling about this, I have decided that I did the right thing.  I have often been in the position of being the one that needed kindness and grace.  I'm sure you have as well.  I would rather err on the side of grace than fear retribution from someone else.  

Maybe because of this occurrence, I have been a bit more aware of what I have been watching on the news and reading on social media.  For some reason it seems that kindness has lost its place in society.  The attitudes being displayed are shocking.  Voices screaming for tolerance are some of the least likely to be tolerant toward others.  Some have forgotten that sometimes we need to agree to disagree and have chosen instead to belittle, or even condemn, those who have different outlooks.  This has led to public shaming, physical harm or even, in some tragic cases, death.  In the riots we have seen a total disregard for privacy, property, religion, service and life.  

Remember the song that goes, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me?"  All change begins with small actions.   According to Wikipedia, sixty-two percent of those polled in the United States claim to be Christian.  Just think of what could happen if each of us began living as the Bible teaches us to.  What if we all were praying for each other and the state of this nation?  What if we put away our personal fear of being ridiculed for our beliefs and boldly shared the Gospel?  What if our churches returned to solid Bible teaching, calling sin out for what it is and proclaiming the need for God's saving grace rather than being places of entertainment and "feel good" messages?  And what if each of us began being kind, truly counting others as more important than ourselves?  

I don't have the answers, but I know Who does.  Scripture tells us that things will get worse before Jesus returns but that doesn't mean that Christians should step back.  2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God doesn't want anyone to perish.  To me, this means that we should work even harder now than ever before in sharing the Good News.  Time on earth is finite.  There will come a day when this earth is no more.  But eternity is forever and that's a long time for souls to be without Jesus.  God bless.  

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