Ignoring His Eyes Upon Us

My freedom, my rights, my choices!”  My, my, my, how many times have we heard those expressions!   “You can’t make me do something I don’t want to do!”  Well, folks, we have a bunch of people saying such words to excuse some inexcusable actions.

We have read some mighty nasty headlines lately about personal freedom. “FLIGHT ATTENDANT PUNCHED IN THE FACE!”  “MOM’S PUSH AND YELL WHILE CHILDREN WATCH” “CROWD APPLAUDS WHEN TOLD AMERICA WOULD NOT MEET VACCINATION GOALS!”

Most of the behavior making the news involves COVID vaccinations and mask-wearing.  “I ain’t wearin’ no mask!”  “That pandemic is a hoax! No shot for me!”

The problem we have right now is with the word “I.”  Those who think only in terms of “me” consider they are the rightful keepers of the universe.  They believe their political agenda comes before all rules of decorum, kindness, understanding, and empathy. 

“Me only” never works

Fires are consuming forests, homes, and towns in the West.  Floods are rushing through villages and taking lives with them.  Heat is scorching the earth while a virus continues to run rampant and mutate.   

“Well, MY home isn’t burning.  MY children didn’t perish in the floods, and MY garden is blooming, so what am I to do about other’s sorrows? Miss Delta Variant can’t get me because I am not old or have an underlying condition.”  ME, ME, MY, MY, I, I. 

The problem with the “Me Only” attitude is it will never work.  It’s not meant to because God will not allow it.   Sometimes I imagine if God sees one more act of violence or selfish behavior in the name of personal freedom, He might set us all free, move away or let the fires and floods consume the earth.

We are supposed to follow and adhere to God’s laws to understand freedom is a beautiful, bountiful gift.  Or do His rules take a back seat to how we individually perceive the laws of our land? 

The Bible is full of words regarding love, compassion, and peace.  It’s all there in black, white, and red.  How easy it is to forget those declarations when our earthly intellects get engaged.

Yes, often, that “Love one another as I love you” commandment just flies away on the unnoticed peace dove.

Hundreds of Bible verses

 How many folks spew hate on social media, spread lies, punch someone in the gut, and then go to church on Sunday and pray for the world.  What a shining example of Godliness we become with hypocrisy as a philosophy. 

The truth is we cannot heal anything until we take away self-centered, self-righteous, unkind ways. 

“For dear brothers, you have been given freedom: not freedom to do wrong, but freedom to love and serve each other.”  Galatians 5: 13

That Bible verse is just one of a few hundred or more that speak of loving and serving one another as children of God.  Yet, we often replace God with our version of “Me.”

We are the land of the free.  OUR land belongs to all, not just one person or one organization.  What we do as a majority provides freedom for all.  If you do not wish to get a life-saving vaccine because you have an underlying condition, are not well informed, or waiting on full FDA approval, I understand.  However, if you are not being vaccinated because of political reasons or feel your personal freedom is being violated, you just crossed the line.

Life, liberty, and happiness is ours

When this country asks all to continue wearing masks,  our hospitals become overburdened once again, businesses shutter, and children cannot return to school, then your personal freedom just stomped on my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The amount of unkind, and harmful language spread from social and news media is disheartening and infuriating at the same time.  I am sure God feels his messages seem lost or misused. When he watches those who pull their guns to kill, those who use hate to gain fame,  those who incite discord and spread untruths, I am sure He cries. 

He granted us a land where freedom reigns.  God sent His son to tell us to love one another, be each other’s keepers, and watch for evil.  He provides us instructions, and give us free will to make choices.  Not just decisions for you, but for the good of all. 

God is watching how many times we use the word “Me.”   When we think only of ourselves and not others, we are ignoring His eyes upon us.  As the floods rise, the fires rage, and His people die, I believe we might want to turn and gaze upon the face of God and dry His tears with our actions.

Our Children are America’s Tomorrow

“Grandma, why do your hands look like that?”  She asked as she held my hand and pointed to all the freckles and visible veins.  “Well, honey, unlike you, I have light, fair skin, which often comes with freckles and veins.”

I decided that was the best answer to give a five-year-old, but she kept the conversation going.  “Grandma, why do I not have freckles?”

“Well, your Italian skin is like your grandfather’s and mothers.  It is a bit darker and prettier than my old spotted mess. There are all different types of skin, just like there are all different colors of eyes.  Right?” 

Carter nodded her head in agreement and declared, “ I have two really good friends in my class, and their skin is brown.  Very dark, but pretty, and they don’t have freckles.”

“Oh, and they are just like you, aren’t they?”  I questioned.

“Yeah, Grandma, but one is taller!”

I decided at that point that precious five-year-old babes should rule the world.

We are born innocent

We are all born innocent, and each year that passes, we begin a descent into guilt and blame.  Our parents’ philosophies become established in our minds because, as a child, we believed our moms and dads were always “right.” 

And, in the living rooms of homes everywhere, right there is where we learn to not only love but hate. 

As parents, we pass down our disdain for others in our speech and our interactions with those around us. Our young one’s watch, listen, and learn from us. They sense every emotion and study each act of judgmental behavior.  Our character is built on the values parents hold dear.  If I was taught to hate, judge, never apologize and believe I was better than others, then I would become a wretched person making others miserable.

Also, if I was a child of a parent who did not teach me self-discipline, education was essential, and that crime was wrong…. I would probably be lost, dead, or in prison somewhere.

Lessons we teach our children

Most all good parents strive and work to provide for their children.  We teach them to win, but we often don’t offer lessons on how to lose.  We constantly tell our children they are special, but do we teach them that others are as well?  Are we showing our children that people come in all sizes, shapes, and colors, but the heart of a person is what lies inside?

Sometimes adults are just dumb. We worry and spew anger regarding America’s future, but without virtuous, honorable citizens of our future country, what good is the nation?  

Our children are our country’s tomorrow.  We must convince them that “character” is more important than power.  That a person’s soul is what colors them beautiful.  It is our responsibility to inform our children about faith and belief in a power higher than ourselves.  We must teach them that succeeding here is not as important as winning the favor of God.  And that we steadfastly believe bigotry, bullying, and disrespect for others should never be applauded by anyone.   

Ok, I know I am on a soapbox, but some folks need to clean up their act with a bit of integrity soap.  Let us try to show that goodness counts and not allow those who love to hate to be in the spotlight.  

Character absolutely matters

That little five-year-old who thinks that all colors and varieties of folks are beautiful and unique deserves a world that believes it too.  Our children require a place to grow with less violence so they may live to the potential God planned for them.  They should value their freedom, respect others, and cherish life.  All children should have the opportunity to flourish and spread the seeds of peace and hope, not wrath and fear.   And, it all begins in their homes where their parents teach them the meaning of values.

We cannot tell our children not to bully and then applaud a bully.  We cannot teach our little ones not to lie while we spread untruths.  How can we say to our children all men are created equal if we are bigots?  Perhaps, our character should become more like the wise, innocent five-year-olds.  If so, we can rise above our lower selves, diminish the sounds of discord, and give hope to children everywhere.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”   Martin Luther King.

  My skin is fair with a mess of freckles, but my dream for our children is the same.  Character is what matters.