Perhaps you are feeling a bit like me lately… kinda overwhelmed and under-fortified? I have sought for over forty years as a pastor, four years as a Marine, and other growing up and into life years to be fair, kind, positive and forgiving. I learned early on in life from my parents that my being forgiven is tied to how I forgive. If I refuse to forgive… harbor ill will toward others… and keep sores recorded I will find that I am not hurting the other guy. I am ultimately hurting myself and stunting my own spiritual growth.
It hasn’t been easy to always forgive or to be positive even when the other guys is spewing out his venom. I have been hurt deeply by people I deeply cared about. I have even apologized in front of the church for something I did that was not wrong… the apology was given just to keep peace in the family. I have swallowed a lot of pride, dined on crow way to often, and had my teeth loosened from turning the cheek so much. I must admit there have been times when the Marine part of me wanted to take over and let the pastor in me sit this one out… times when I wanted to take that someone out behind the woodshed and have a good old fashioned “come to Jesus” meeting.
Over the 2016 election cycle I have found myself less and less forgiving and more and more angry. My world has grown darker as the days have gone by. I am not proud of who I have been becoming… for that person is not positive, uplifting or forgiving. I feel that I have become so angry because people have refused to see the darkness in the heart of Donald Trump… forgiven him of all the unacceptable things he has said and done while crucifying Hillary for emails. I simply could not believe that he got a pass on behavior that for anyone else of any other party in any other year would have found themselves totally unacceptable to people like Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham or the entire Republican Party. My anger grew and grew while I spoke more harshly to friends and family about their blindness to all things Donald.
After the election, in my shock, I was afraid that our new president would have us in WWIII before long. I think I formed a “defend the constitution party” of one… and I sought to make sure that Mr. Trump’s feet were held to the fire. I still believe he should be held accountable for his words and actions… but perhaps with a more gracious spirit.
So my first step in finding a thrive tribe… a place where I can thrive and become the person I have always sought to become… a peacemaker… is to be positive, speak in a positive manner… think in a positive manner. I simply cannot lose my own soul in the process of speaking the truth. I stand with those who believe that God is in control and in the end good will win over evil. However, I do believe that faith requires participation. Our prayers for goodness sake should have legs… knee pads and strong running shoes. Faith is not just right and wrong but many shades of grey. A debate can’t be just points scored… but compassion and understanding revealed. We must find a way to speak compassionately to those with whom we disagree so that after the conversation we have a better understanding of where we both are coming from and still remain brothers and sisters.
So the first step in becoming and remaining positive is to go to where Jesus is, speak the words Jesus would speak, and act in the way Jesus would act.
Grace and Peace
Peacemaker… I have been labeled that over 40 years in ministry… because I have sought to live that way. You will find something of that peacemaker attitude in my writings found on line: