"Ain't it funny how some people pop into your head so easily, I haven't seen you in there for so long." - Dawes
Some people have indeed popped into my head lately. Some of these people recently in my thoughts I see regularly, some I only had contact with once and some are from my early, formative years. I really want to tell you about them. Stay with me, I have a point.
First, there is the lady from church that I thought was so cool. She must have taught Sunday school but I forget. When her name flits through my subconscious now days I just remember going to the park with her sometimes for picnic's. I remember she was friends with my parents and grandparents. She was in the military. I still remember a funny thing she said. "Boise Southern, keep your dress-tail down!", she would say when the local paper mill was causing an odor. I can't remember the details of what she looked like but I remember she was kind and patient to a little girl that latched onto her.
Then, there is the family from the same church that had daughters nearly the same age as my sister and me. We would go home with each other after church and play till it was time to go back for evening services. I remember some of the details of their house; we played school in the hall. I remember the mom making sure we were presentable for church before we went back, fixing our hair, that sort of thing.
Fast forward a few years. New city, new church, new school. I remember a quiet, humble lady. A lady that played with my mom on the church softball team and refused to play in pants or shorts, opting instead for a knee length jean skirt. My preteen self didn't understand why, since our church placed no restrictions on pants or shorts. My older self understood her convictions, and was thankful for and could appreciate her example of feminine modesty.
Forward again to high school. One of my husband's best friends. I mean real friends! This guy was with my husband through pee wee football, junior high and high school. This friend that was always respectful to me when few boys are at that age. The young man that was in our wedding and my husband was in his. The man that was back in town visiting his family recently and showed up at my father -in- laws funeral. This man and his family, from parents to children, is in my mind often, with no negative thoughts attached.
How do I tell you about the others. How do I tell you about the old, like 90 years old, man that still worked in his own garden and would bring vegetables for the ladies in the office when I worked at the hospital in college. How I was amazed at his grit. I have no time to tell you about the co-worker, that prayed at her station at work and made me not so self conscious about praying at mine. How I cheered her on as she has advanced her education and career while raising a beautiful, wonderful daughter. She probably doesn't know. Or about the lady at my church that I will forever associate with the best hugs ever! I wish everyone could experience a hug from this lady who's God given gift must be to pour out love and peace and warm fuzzies through a mere HUG! Then there is the lady that makes it a point to get all us others together for a Lady's Day, and shows such support for our youth group. Let me not leave out the total stranger that prayed over me not even three weeks ago when I had surgery. Or the stronger than you can imagine, wise, christian example lady from church that is who-knows how old ,was married to her husband for 60 years and still drives around in a zippy sports car.
Where am I going with all this, you ask?
Here we go.
Every person I just mentioned is black. Non-white. African -American. Black. I am not.
Why do I mention this? It doesn't matter. Not to me. The world in general wants to make a deal of it though.
I mention these people because the world wants to divide us into groups and I don't want to be divided. As Tennyson said, "I am a part of all that I have met". Let that sink in. Divide and conquer is a strategy as old as time. These days! The news! The devil! They make you doubt those people were ever part of your life. They want you to forget the kind lady, the friends mom, the brothers and sisters in Christ that helped form who you are. Forget the friends you went to school with, the ones you shared with, the ones you ate at the same friggin' table with! The world says, gone are those positive influences on your life, here is the bad! The world wants you to believe goodness and respect and human decency doesn't exist anymore! The world wants you only to focus on the bad, and the sad thing is... We are. We are so bombarded with hateful images and statements that if we are not careful we get swept up in emotions and forget truth. Not my truth, his truth , her truth, their truth, our truth, I'm talking about THE TRUTH!
The John 14:6 "the way, and the truth, and the life," truth!
Take a timeout, turn off the news, shut down your Facebook and read His book. I'm not being funny, I'm begging you. Let cooler heads prevail!
We get so caught up in the immediate emotions that we don't take time to think, pray, seek answers from the only One who has them. We make judgments and vast blanket statements before we remember who we are. Children of God! Citizens of Christ's Kingdom! Not separated by our color but joined together in this earthly journey by His saving blood! I'm ashamed of us. I know it's hard to not get caught up in the injustice of what's going on, it's hard to not take sides, God knows I know! Literally, He knows! I know this because I struggle with righteous anger.
I struggle! I perceive an injustice and ,Lord help me, my first instinct is to lash out against it. I am Simon Peter in the Garden, cutting off the ear of the man that dared take my Jesus. God knows my struggle and I have faith He will help me overcome it. Part of overcoming is realizing that I have to stop a beat and think. Anger, no matter the cause, is an ugly emotion. It's right there with hate, jealousy, pride...see where I'm going? While you are angry in your corner and I'm angry in mine, it's easier for the Enemy to deal with and defeat us separately. Wonder who uses those emotions for control? Who's controlling you?
There are a few things I want you to read and think about before I'm done. I'm not even going to comment on them, I'm just going to let God work through His word and your heart.( I'm preaching to my self as well, believe me)
1) “If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them.”
Luke 6:32 NCV
2) “I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2 NCV
3) “Your love must be real. Hate what is evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. Share with God’s people who need help. Bring strangers in need into your homes. Wish good for those who harm you; wish them well and do not curse them. Be happy with those who are happy, and be sad with those who are sad. Live in peace with each other. Do not be proud, but make friends with those who seem unimportant. Do not think how smart you are. If someone does wrong to you, do not pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. Do your best to live in peace with everyone. My friends, do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: “I will punish those who do wrong; I will repay them,” says the Lord. But you should do this: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. Doing this will be like pouring burning coals on his head.” Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good.”
Romans 12:9-21 NCV
Sometimes we need to hit the reset button. Stop and think. Remember who you are. When you remember who you are help someone who doesn't know yet. That's what we are here for!
When it gets scary, and I hope things don't get much scarier, remember: “My dear children, you belong to God and have defeated them; because God’s Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.” - 1 John 4:4 NCV
I hope it made sense! Love and peace to you all!
My name is Joni...
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