What continues to happen in our country HAS to change. Let me start by saying that I am not an expert or someone who really knows anything about injustice in our world. I feel uneasy every time something happens in our country that just plain SHOULDN’T. I feel uneasy because we have a media problem in this country, each side spinning things to benefit there own bottom line and loyalties. At the end of the day, truth always comes to light and regardless of the outcome, there is something to do about whats happening! This is my attempt at being honest and suggesting how to move forward from here and to not stay silent about whats going on in front of us.
As a society we are suddenly faced with, AGAIN, another act of racism and, AGAIN, it makes us all stop and think about how this can actually be something that is real. Those of us who believe life is precious no matter what the color skin you have, take to social media and cry out about the atrocity. People want to point fingers at who is to blame. It’s easier that way, to shove the blame to other people. The fact of the matter is that until everyone takes an inward look and does the hard work of rooting out the pride, the prejudice, the selfishness, the insecurity and hate, we will be stuck in a never ending cycle.
The problem with injustice is that it's easy to ride on feelings and a totally different thing for those feelings to move you to action.
What has to happen to turn feelings into positive traction?
What needs to happen before your heart breaking for injustice actually yields to fruitful movement towards change?
I am suggesting 3 things that you can start doing today to impact tomorrow. Again, I am no expert but I, like you, am tired of our brothers and sisters in all walks of life be scrutinized, ridiculed, judged and treated like they are some kind of second class citizen. It starts with me.
Start Seeing People Properly
When you look at someone and think you are better than they are in any way, you’re wrong. Seeing people as someone’s son or daughter, as someone’s brother or sister, as a friend, as someone who has worth you begin to see them how God see’s them. Every human being has worth, has value, has been created for a purpose even if they haven’t realized it yet. If you think you are better than anyone else you have a poor view of yourself. It starts with your vision, your vision informs your thoughts and your thoughts about someone else informs how you treat them. Let me be the first to say that, as much as it pains me, that I don’t always see people as God’s beloved. I will do better, by God’s grace and His power, I will take steps.
Root Out Your Pride
Pride is a misplaced sense of worth and a desire to be more important than someone else. Pride is what gets in the way of celebrating others accomplishments, of elevating someone for a promotion, of making a big deal over someone who excels at a specific trade/skill/talent, and ultimately, what makes someone treat someone poorly. Pride is actually a mask to your own short comings. Pride us ugly, it’s gross and it takes work to pursue humility in all areas of life. If you can be self aware enough to realize your pride, you will not only start seeing all people properly but start treating them with honor, respect and dignity. Let me be the first to say I need to work on my pride. I need to prayerfully ask God to reveal the parts of my life that I pride has a death grip on me.
Start a conversation and make a friend
What does your friend circle look like? What do your interactions look like at work, in your neighborhood or on the weekends? Befriend someone different than you or get to know those from different backgrounds. Take an interest in someone’s life, not because it benefits you but because everyone deserves someone to take interest in them. When you start to see life from another perspective you start to become more aware, more educated and more compassionate! Let me be the first to say that I can do better and will do better.
It’s impossible to make change all of the sudden. If everyone collectively takes a step towards unity and towards loving people the way God loves people, we will start to see the change that needs to take place.
It starts with ME, It starts with YOU… It starts with US!
Father God, I come to you right now with so many different emotions going on inside of me. I look at what is happening in this world right now and it feels like a bad dream. I don’t know what’s true, what’s actual reality and what isn’t. I find myself going to worst case scenario in my head and it leaves me with this weighty uncertainty.
My heart hurts for my kids who don’t get to go back to school and be with their friends and amazing teachers
My heart hurts for the seniors in our ministry who were robbed of their final months together as a class
My heart hurts for senior athletes in high school and college who don’t get to play their last year at school
My heart hurts for my grandparents who have to be away from people right now to stay safe
My heart hurts for elderly people who already feel overlooked that they must stay even more in the shadows right now
My heart hurts for people who are experiencing anxiety and depression because of the isolation
My heart hurts because there are so many people that lost their job
My heart hurts because there are a lot of people sick and hurting
My heart hurts most because there are so many people who are losing hope!
God would you be with those people right now, would you draw near to them, would you reveal who you are to them so that they can experience what true hope looks like.
In this season God would you do a good work in me. There are so many blessings and ways to be thankful right now Father.
I am thankful for a wife who I adore
I am thankful for more time with my 4 kids
I am thankful for a roof over our heads and food to eat and the basic things we take for granted
I am thankful for the weather changing and the warmth of the sun
I am thankful for our health
I am thankful for bikes, baseball, pop a shot and other games we can play right now
I am thankful for technology to still stay in touch with friends and family during this time
I am thankful for the encouraging people in my life that keep me going
I am thankful for my church and the way we are trying to do whatever we can to help people with this season of life
I am thankful for a lot of the distractions that were in my life not being around right now
God I am so thankful for the cross, I am so thankful for the empty tomb and I am so thankful for the grace, mercy and love you pour out over me!
God, this week I am reminded of the purpose this life has, the call you have placed on my life and the reason I live.
Help me be gracious, patient and kind to those I interact with. God give me wisdom and discernment to help however I can with any situation that comes up.
God most of all during this season help me be more like you. Help me see things in my life that need to change and give me the courage and strength to make those changes. God continue to prune the things in my life that need to be pruned.
God maybe most of all help me, during this time, to spend time WITH you. Help me grasp how wide and long and high and deep is your amazing, unfathomable love.
Do immeasurably more right now than I can even imagine. You get the glory for everything God.
Mom or Dad, how do you respond to uncertainty and confusion in your life? When things that are happening in your world, in your personal life, in your work life that you don’t understand, how do you process and how do you respond? Your response to uncertainty in your life will more than likely be your child’s response to uncertainty in their lives. As you parent your child you responsibility first and foremost is to be a reflection of Jesus and show them the Gospel. Your teenager is trying to process through a ton of situations and circumstances all while figuring out who they are. How you parent in times of uncertainty may be some of the most important parenting you will ever do.
Now that you feel the pressure, relax! God would not have given you this task of parenting in the first place if He didn’t think you could do it. He will give you what you need, when you need it, however you will need it. Helping your teenager through uncertainty is a big deal and there will be some common responses you will see and probably feel yourself.
On response is selfishness. I am sure you are fighting self centeredness with your teenager regardless of whats happening in life. Especially when things are crazy around you, self centeredness is a common response because it is a way to have control. Usually uncertainty and confusion means a lack of control. Being selfish is a way to bring everything in to control whats going on. This attitude is the opposite of how God calls us to live.
When you react selfishly you start caring more about your well being than anyone else.
When you react selfishly you make decisions that are all about you.
When you react selfishly you become callus the needs of those around you.
When you react selfishly you relinquish trust in God and act like everything depends on you.
Our selfish response keeps us from living the life that God calls us to live!
Another response to uncertainty and confusion is fear. Being fearful can be paralyzing and hold you back from living the life that God intended. It is natural for teenagers to be fearful of the unknown, the uncertain and the confusing. As a parent, leaning into that fear and uncovering “the why” behind it is so important. Help your teenager realize that our God is the God of hope, not fear. Fear consumes and holds you back, hope multiplies and propels you forward!
When you react in fear you paralyze yourself from what could be.
When you react in fear your focus is on the wrong thing.
When you react in fear your trust is misplaced.
When you react in fear your eyes are closed to what God is doing all around you.
Our fearful response holds us back from living life to the fullest as God intended.
Here are a few passages of scripture to read with your teenager and reflect on with them:
Some questions to help you engage with your teenager:
What things in life are you afraid of? Why?
If God was standing right next to you when you are afraid, would that change anything? Why or why not?
How did Jesus respond to His disciples fear in the passages of scripture above?
What is one small step you can take to be less fearful and less selfish?