Choosing the Right Side of Wrong

Every time an election is on the horizon, I begin to smile less, fret more, and pray for the day the votes are cast and the campaign blitzes are over.  Whether it is a local or national race, neither appeal to me.  And even though the right to vote is sacred, some candidates in the last few years seem to be missing anything that has to do with being sacred.

It is a Sunday morning, and the sky is about as gray as the political air.  Everyone says election outcomes are determined by the state of our economy.  Of course, our economy is vital; but is it the most essential aspect of keeping America united and secure?  Maybe our economy and citizens will prosper more if we put godliness above all else.  However, one needs abundant trust in the Almighty to believe that assessment.

I hear you; you’re already screaming at me!  Just let me explain. 

Who requires our loyalty?

Our political leaders or candidates, Republican or Democrat, need to focus on what is right and wrong instead of their election chances.  Almost every political ad or verbiage from many of our nation’s leaders reflects vitriol and lack of character.  Often, their words are so far from what God promotes that it is sinful.

We desire less violence and bullying and more kindness in our nation, so why do we become or support bullies when it comes to politics?  We cannot expect to become a stronger country without civility in our representatives or ourselves.  Can we envision a robust economy without God on our side?  As a matter of fact, we should never assume to be rewarded for accepting brutal unkindness because of loyalty to a political party or candidate. 

Often, devotion to God and a preferred political belief are in stark contrast to each other.  Who or what do we choose?  If we believe in God, is it necessary to ask such a question?

Profiting from anger

Over the last few years, when conspiracy theories ran rampant and social media became an outlet for outrage and violence, I often asked myself, who started all this hatred?  I finally figured it was those getting rich and famous promoting discord.  And many of us are giving them the money.  What does that say about our shortage of faith in truth?  Do we ignore facts because we want to agree with the inventor of preposterous theories? 

Alex Jones is one such individual who has made a mere fortune off baseless claims he urged folks to buy into with shouts of untruths.  For example, ” A staged Sandy Hook?”  Really, did he visit the graves of the twenty children buried in Newtown, Connecticut?  Did those who believed him do the same?  These folks can reap huge profits because they appeal to our bitterness.  Is that Godliness?

Much is the same with campaign rhetoric.  The person who appeals to our rage often wins, which is tragic.  Yet we want hate to end, hope to thrive, and wish the world were kinder.  I personally don’t believe that will happen unless what God desires of us comes first.

Sometimes we cannot separate faith in God’s words and politics.  I have often decided not to vote for a candidate because their character was the antithesis of all I believed.   Why would I?  We must not ignore honor and respect when we elect people to lead.  If we do, in the end, it will bite us.  That’s not my thought; that is the words God put forth in the Good Book, which teaches us what to do to obtain peace.  Or do we just let the Lord’s instructions slide when it involves politics? 

God first

There is no doubt that we created a firestorm of discontent between COVID, the political race of 2020, violence, rampant conspiracy theories, and the social media mess.  And, during such calamities, we often hypocritically ask God to bless us each day.  How does He bless our nation when many decide to put Him in the corner until we call His name?

If we can somehow provide hope to others through our deeds, empathy, and faith, we will be on the right side of wrong.   If we can build trust and shun harmful, divisive folks promoting fear, we will see honor and civility rise. 

  Our value as a nation is not grown in dollars and cents but in the richness of our people.  If we can invest in promoting respectfulness and the sanctity of life in all our communities, we will build a safer, calmer, more prosperous, and less violent place to live.

It all has to do with putting God’s words first before our own. 

Why Do We Suffer?

A child will require stitches daily, and a father will break his leg in a fall.  An aunt needs a hip replacement while her husband’s rotator cuff quit revolving.  A sister will endure the pain of a broken heart.  Gall and kidney stones will become thorns in our innards while diseases attempt to land at jet speed on our unsuspecting souls.  Car crashes will occur, and who knows when a bullet will graze or harm us?

What do we do when our parts wear out, are damaged or broken, or when sickness invades us? 

My husband is sporting a cast from surgery on a misfunctioning heel and Achilles.  His recliner will probably need replacing at the end of the six months it takes to heal that old heel completely.  In the meantime, since my legs still work and my ears hear, I run when he calls my name.

If I make it to the pearly gates one day, I will ask God, “Why did we suffer on earth?” I believe I know the answer but still would like to hear it from the Boss.

No bumps or bruises?

 Would we seek paradise if we didn’t have any problems and our bodies didn’t occasionally break down?  Would we search for God, pray for help, and comprehend hope?  Most of us aren’t as grateful as we should be anyway, so if our lives had no bumps and bruises, would we still be thankful for the problem-free times?

I suppose God views our lives in nanoseconds rather than years.  He knows that authentic living is not on earth but with Him in eternity; it is only there where suffering ends.

Unquestionably, some of you in the reader-land don’t believe me, or there is life after death.  However, in my humble opinion, falling apart with faith is far better than falling to pieces without support.    Of course, I don’t assume for a minute I can change someone’s mind regarding theology, but I do think we can plant seeds, and God will do the reaping.

I am no preacher, but it seems to me we are seeing a whole slew of misery going on today.  Folks, we must never give up on our journey with life.  Indeed, the road can often be filled with roadblocks, but patience, optimism, and endurance will eventually put us back in the driver’s seat.  Pessimism in our lives is akin to falling into a patch of Sumac; it’s poison.

“He always has.”

Kentucky just endured a catastrophic flood event, and news teams were there to cover the story.  A reporter interviewed a couple whose home was washed away, losing all they owned.  “How will you deal with such devastation?” the young man asked the couple.  Without a pause, the wife replied, “We are good; God will help us as He always has.”

We can lose all we have, suffer immensely, and yet survive such anguish because faith is the provider of hope.  If we lose trust in God, we join the ranks of the frantic, angry,  distrusting complainers we have all met in life.  Who wants to join that group?

Suffering builds character, humbles us, and gives us compassion for others who are living in tribulation. 

I endured an event that completely changed me when I was a young woman.  At the time, I knew God and loved him, but boy, I thought, “I am not going to live through this one!”  It seemed I was handed too much pain and sorrow to survive.  “Why did this happen to me?” I cried. 

It took a few years, but I finally understood.  Because of my intense pain, God knew I would empathize with others who endure suffering. Today I say, “One day, your despair will lessen, and your understanding will increase.”

Walking through pain

  Mama always said, “Courage and character are built by those who walk through hurt and emerge stronger.”   After walking through pain many times, I see God clearer, and His purpose for me is better defined.

We are given free will to decide how we thrive on earth.  We win, we lose, we fall, and we rise.  None of us are assured we will have breath tomorrow, but when we keep or find our faith, we will triumph each day even when we are broken.

God, who holds the golden key of mercy and love, is in the middle of our free will, illnesses, broken hearts, violence, and misfortunes.  He does not cause our suffering but strengthens us to travel through it and find the glory only He offers.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us….”  Romans 5: 3