When the World Seems to Be Going to Hell in a Handbasket


I’m trying to understand. Still.

How whole islands get wiped out by water and wind.
And why.

How earthquakes can so mercilessly swallow homes…and families…and happy times.
And why.

How a man can be seemingly normal and then do something very abnormal, like destroy loved ones with a barrage of bullets as well as ruin the lives of the loved ones they left behind.
And why.  

How people can let issues on kneeling, or not kneeling, or love for health care reform, or love for Obamacare, or love for the left, or love for the right, or love for guns, or love for gun control, get priority over showing unconditional love for man.
And why.

I’ve cried a lot the last few weeks; maybe more than I ever have, over our world. Not only are we exploding, we are imploding; promoting way more division than unity. So besides asking the what the heck is going on question over and over, I also keep asking myself, what else can I do? Because I often feel helpless. And frustrated. Cause, see, no matter what myself and other good-meaning people do, (and by the way – there are lots of them), things just seem to be getting worse.

And yet…I still love this Scripture, believe in this Scripture, live by this Scripture:

“Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”
Romans 12:21 MSG

I can honestly say that I’ve worked hard – and purposefully – at overcoming evil in this world by doing good. But this morning, as I stared at this verse, something else stood out, caught my attention, and pricked my soul…

Don’t let evil get the best of you.

Oh, man. How has evil gotten the best of me?

When I’ve focused on being right more than I have on relationship…
When I’ve fallen into cynicism as opposed to holding onto hopefulness…
When I’ve spewed negativity rather than inspired positivity…
When I’ve valued being listened to more than listening…
When I’ve focused on the worst of a person rather than the best…
When I’ve sought to be understood more than I have to understand…
When I’ve thrown my hands in the air instead of holding on to others…
When I’ve promoted argument instead of peace…
When I’ve put down instead of lifted up…
Given up instead of persevered…
Let go of instead of carried…

And I realize.

I can do good and still let evil get the best of me. Which then gets the best of you.

And I wonder…

Can the good I do be voided by the bad? Or at least, diminished by it? Diluted?

I say I want to do good – and my intentions might be right – but I wonder if the evil I often fall into ends up discrediting these good intentions. Like loving someone and then talking behind their back.

And I think…maybe my “good” would go a whole lot further if I got rid of the evil tagging along behind it. Maybe my good actions will be more effective if they are clean and not tainted by ulterior motives and needing to be right. And that Scripture might work a little more effectively in this world if I heed to the whole of it – not just part of it. Then, maybe my small contributions will start enacting some real change in the world.

Oh, I know I can’t change the whole world.

But I can change mine.

 

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Texas Floods or Nashville Statement: What is Love Supposed to Look Like?


I watched an elderly man get stuck in his car in the middle of the street, in the middle of raging waters, in the middle of one of the largest natural disasters known to Texas…

And a long line of strangers, linking arms, making a chain so they could brave the waters and rescue that man who they have never met before in their lives.

I watched a mama holding her little sweet-pea of a daughter, crying at the loss of everything. Everything.

And a man who opened his furniture store up and turned it into an evacuation center…people sleeping on his brand-new mattresses, never to be sold and turned into profit.

I watched rescue, after rescue, after rescue, after rescue, as people were being freed from deathtraps that had once been their homes…

And boat, after boat, after boat, after boat, still making their way in from far-away places to make those rescues possible.

People, all sorts of people, coming together to help. To love.

And no one cares about each other’s religious beliefs.
And no one gives a rip about political views.
And no one is concerned about sexuality or stances on marriage.
All they care about is love in action.

What a difference between watching rescue missions and reading about those who are on a mission to make sure their precious beliefs are known, at the worst possible time, at the cost of hurting others. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about just Google Nashville Statement.)

It’s interesting. For the life of me, I can’t remember Jesus writing a Nashville-style manifesto for the world to know where He stood on things; I just remember Him writing in the sand to some super-important, influential religious people…

I don’t remember Him asking people what their beliefs were before He reached out and touched them; I just remember Him healing them…all of them…

I don’t remember Him having to take a hard stance on, well, anything…Oh, except I do remember He was pretty inflexible about loving God and loving others…

Oh, sweet people. My fellow Christ-followers. When will we wake up and actually follow His example? Does it take natural disasters to remind us to lay down our arms and simply love? Serve? Give? Heal?

I, for one, have been challenged these last few days. Shut up. Just do. Open your storehouse. Reach out a hand to someone who needs rescuing. Link arms with others. Pluck people out from the pits of despair.

Your beliefs mean nothing other than the actions that are behind them. Life is short, Sherri. Make it matter. And what matters is what you do – not what you say or even what you believe.

Praying for change and healing in our world. And it starts with me.

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