An open letter to all those of faith… and maybe some outside of it… (From March, 2010)

Times are hard. Right? I mean – we all know someone who is suffering. Some of the pain of failed marriages, some of failed businesses. Others suffer by means outside of their control and yet others suffer daily by the consequences of their decisions.

The world is dangerous. Americans have enemies at every corner who would be content only with the total destruction of our way of life, our country and its inhabitants.

Our days are longer with work than our parents. Our children are riddled with concerns no youth should shoulder. They are surrounded by evil, temptation and sin the likes of which most of us never knew until adulthood.

Yet take heart – this is not as bad as it can be. It has been this bad before – worse, even.

Regardless of your belief in the country’s leaders. Regardless of your views of current bills. REGARDLESS of what angers you most – step back and look at what that anger and fear is doing to you.

We as Christians are called – not to chastise, not to belittle, not to insult, not to break down, but to build up through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior. To build up by love – and caring – and compassion. Luke 12:22-26 tells us ““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? ” (NIV).

Yet we still worry, and insult, and speak ill of and allow ourselves to brood over negative feelings time and time again. Many of us – myself included – are professionals at repressing that anger. We may not speak publicly of our feelings, but it shows itself in our passionate dispositions on societal topics.

Matthew 6:39-48 gives us our marching orders. It lays it out how we should ALWAYS be and culminates in the sweet truth of verses 44 and 45: “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (NIV)

Love your enemies. Clear. Concise. Love them. Pray for them. Don’t delve into their anger – show your love for Jesus by your faith that he makes all well.

I’m not talking about inaction either – indeed, inaction is not part of that deal. Love is the action. Have your deeds show your love – not your hate or even dislike.

And it’s not just what you say either – it’s what you allow yourself to think. The serenity prayer seems to help me the most.

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

–Reinhold Niebuhr”

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