Steady as she goes
What we can do in these crazy times?
I recently had a little social media run-in with a person who believes very differently than I do. Certainly, such an issue is not rare at all these days, but it got me thinking. In this particular run-in, I was told some of my beliefs were “hateful”. I still smile when I think about it because frankly, if you told that to someone who actually knows me, they would laugh out loud at the idea. I am usually known for being of the more gentle sort, too soft if anything, but definitely not even registering on the “hateful” spectrum. I found the whole thing kind of funny because I’ve come to realize that some people can be overly defensive when it comes to people having an opposing viewpoint. If you disagree with someone, sometimes you get labeled as hateful. No hate involved here, just a difference of opinion. How do we keep our course steady and make forward progress toward fulfilling our destiny when facing tough situations like these?
There are a number of things that will help keep us steady in our voyage. Here are some of the things I’ve been paying special attention to lately.
1) Make sure our anchor is firmly set.
Our value and our position are to be anchored in truth. It is more important than ever before that we take a good look at how we are connected to our anchorage. You know, the place that holds our anchor, our foundation. After all, it is our HOPE!
As the Word of God tells us in Hebrews 6:19-20, “We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
If we feel shaky in some things or perplexed in the matters of our heart or circumstances, let’s go to the Lord and ask for the missing gaps to be filled. He is faithful and will help us solidify the areas we need reinforced. He is where we go for everything.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.Proverbs 18:10
2) Be wise.
Ask for more wisdom, understanding, and discernment. The journey can seem quite treacherous sometimes.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.Matthew 10:16
These days, there is no shortage of division in politics, social issues, and opinions. We usually don’t have to look very far to encounter those folks who call good evil and evil good. When trying to love our neighbor, conversations can get very messy. It’s during difficult encounters that we most have to maintain our stance of love.
I’ve heard it said, that “when we get angry, we lose.” So, we do not have to get angry. We don’t have to receive disagreement as a personal attack. Remember, if a person is in disagreement with God’s Word, they are going to do the answering for that at some point. With mercy and grace, we can offer a position that may draw someone closer to God’s love and truth. If we do become angry, however, we don’t have to sin in our anger. We can ask for peace, calm, and clarity. We can be kind, gentle, and curious about another’s viewpoint, while still being steadfast in our own viewpoint. We can also be boldly clear about our stance, or we can be a good balance of both bold and gentle depending how the Holy Spirit leads us in each situation. We can thank God for a seed of love and truth being planted in someone’s heart long before there is any outward evidence of it taking root. We can eventually learn to use our unpleasant conversations with others as fodder for our development of steadfastness in truth. We can also practice drenching these situations in kindness. After all, our confidence comes from God. With His unlimited resources available to us, we can afford to be kind.
Some people will simply not listen or receive a message. This is a hard thing to accept.
Fools finds no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.Proverbs 18:2
Firstly, let’s make sure that we are not the ones choosing foolishness. When we get offended, it’s like a trap for us to become angry, resentful, and unforgiving. Lets’ not take the bait. Secondly, when we observe this trait expressed in others, we can, when it’s best, let it go…for the time being, anyway. Sometimes there is another future opportunity, sometimes not. In that case, we shake the dust off and keep moving. Maybe there will be a harvest with that person(s) down the road, maybe not. Only God knows. Reaffirm love and truth and also, in some cases, be willing to walk away.
3) Be Obedient to God
Walk in obedience. Just like we humans need to have healthy boundaries in our interactions with others, God’s commands are healthy spiritual boundaries for us to stay within. One of our best ways to perceive the Lord’s leading is to remain obedient. When we take a wrong turn, stray, or choose unforgiveness, it’s important that we come to repentance as quickly as possible. His grace is amazing! It never gets old!
4) Look for God’s Assignment for Us
I imagine Joseph was tempted to become filled with hopelessness when his brothers almost killed him and then sold him into slavery instead. How about when he started to gain some success in Potiphar’s house and then was wrongly accused and imprisoned? These seemingly-desperate situations, though, were the exact ones God used as a launching pad into making incredible impacts for His kingdom. Consider that in the turmoil of the day, or any day, God can make way for amazing advances for us and others, anywhere and everywhere.
5) Don’t Quit
If we have breath, we have a purpose. We have such a powerful opportunity each and every day to align our words and actions with the will of God. We are to be praying for God’s will to be done on earth, in our lives, in our circumstances, and in our relationships. We are to agree with heaven so that things will be on earth as they are above! We are to be light and salt for those around us. We are to intercede for others. We are to bring and keep ourselves, our situations, and our areas of charge under the real authority of Jesus Christ. Our voices and actions need to echo heaven’s. Remember that if we give in to the idea of hopelessness, we can be inadvertently aiding the enemy! We want to make sure we are standing for God’s Kingdom in all of our circumstances and with all of our words and attitudes. Friends, we have such urgent and important work to do!
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.Hebrews 6:10-11
P.S. For anyone interested in more information on understanding these current-day social divides there is a very interesting and informative YouTube series by Mark Fairley called “The War on Truth” and also now a book called “The War on Truth: How a Generation Abandoned Reality.”