Finding the courage to let go

I confess that I feel a bit guilty about unfriending people on social media, even if the relationships are superficial. But I think that when you get older, you realize that you don’t have the time for drama. You don’t see the point of wasting your emotional energy on battles you cannot win.

At the beginning of the year, after reading a book on spiritual maturity, I resolved to be more authentic. That meant being free to be me without worrying about what people think of me. Something interesting happened when I decided to be the real me. In letting go of my need to be accepted by others, I found the courage to let go of people whose worldviews are diametrically opposed to mine.

While I can still accept the people I can not change, I accept that sometimes there are irreconcilable differences, as in views on gun control, or the freedom to protest peacefully, or on immigration or the separation of church and state. The religious and political environment we live in highlights the great divide between us.

Facebook made it easy to establish a social connection with classmates or relatives. But if I am honest with myself, I don’t have much in common with many of them. I am no longer willing to pretend that we have anything meaningful in common. We don’t even share the same zip code.

Guilt, with the click of a button, I’m letting you go too. And I won’t even say goodbye.

via Daily Prompt: Guilty

Broken Assumptions

When I make an assumption, I accept that something is true without proof. When I make an educated guess, I have some knowledge about what to expect so my assumption is likely to be correct. Unfortunately, my assumptions are often broken. Sometimes my trust is misplaced. Sometimes, I expect a certain outcome because I wrongly assume that other people share my values or expectations.

I learned this lesson several years ago at my job. I have a strong work ethic. I go to work to work. I assumed that my boss also had a work ethic and that all employees would be held accountable to the same standards. I was wrong. I learned that he cared more about being seen as a nice guy by my slacker coworker than about making sure the work got done.

I used to assume that our democracy was strong. I believed that our elections were legitimate. I believed that my vote matters. I believed that the separation of powers would prevent one branch of government from overreaching. I was wrong.

I used to assume that facts and truth matter to everyone. I was wrong. Conspiracy theories abound. Untruthful people peddle “alternative facts” and people continue to listen to them. The president lies several times a day and his supporters don’t care. Individuals adapt not only to their own dishonesty but also to that of others.

I used to assume that Christians cared about immorality – the aforementioned lack of honesty, for example. As a Matthew 25 Christian, I assumed that Christians cared about the “least of these.” I accepted as true that followers of Jesus would care about refugees, immigrants, the uninsured, etc. I am sad to say that millions of Christians proved me wrong.

People let me down when I make assumptions about their values and character without proof. Broken assumptions have made me much less trusting of my fellowman. It’s made me cynical.

via Daily Prompt: Assumption

When Patience Wears Thin

Patience is one of my greatest strengths. Impatience is one of my most frustrating weaknesses. How can this be?

In normal circumstances, I am patient. I have enough self-control to wait. I believe my patience will be rewarded. I don’t feel the need to control other people. I can accept that things won’t always go my way. I can suffer through situations that others would find insufferable. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

At other times, my patience wears thin, which implies that it was thick to begin with.

If I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed, patience is the first virtue to go. Things that would otherwise not even phase me annoy the heck out of me. People get on my last nerve. Maybe it is because when I am stressed, I need all of my emotional energy to deal with it. I have nothing left to give.

My patience also wears thin if I am faced with the same trying situation over and over again. I don’t like to be distracted when I am trying to concentrate. I don’t like to be interrupted or to have my plans thrown into disarray. I can put up with these little annoyances a few times but eventually my patience wears thin.

The first patience-thinning situation is a sign that something in my life needs to change. The second situation is really a matter of personality; my introverted mind needs peace and quiet.

via Daily Prompt: Thin

Clip art credit: https://clipartxtras.com/

 

The Core of the Gospel

Today the sermon at my church was based on 1 John 2:18-29. In this passage, John warned believers against antichrists, anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. In the new church, there were many false teachers trying to lead Jesus’s followers astray. John said, I’m not writing to you because you don’t know the truth. You do know the truth. See to it that the gospel message you heard from the beginning remains in you.

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.

What is the core message of the gospel that remains in me?

  • We all sin
  • God still loves us
  • Jesus intercedes for us
  • We are to love one another, as he loved us

Of course, there is much more to the message I have heard than this. But at its core, the message of Jesus Christ is the redeeming power of God’s love.

via Daily Prompt: Core

Scoffing at Deceit

Yesterday, I read the psalm David wrote after Doeg the Edomite, King Saul’s chief herdsman, betrayed the High Priest, Ahimelech (Psalm 52), which resulted in Ahimelech’s death. David’s description of Doeg reminds me of the wicked man I see in the news everyday. Like Doeg, he regularly practices deceit, loves evil rather than good, and loves falsehood rather than speaking the truth. When I hear him speak, I find myself laughing at the absurdity of his claims.

Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
    Why do you boast all day long,
    you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
You who practice deceit,
    your tongue plots destruction;
    it is like a sharpened razor.
You love evil rather than good,
    falsehood rather than speaking the truth.    Selah
You love every harmful word,
    you deceitful tongue!

The evildoer of today is considered a hero to his followers, sadly even to millions of people who call themselves “evangelicals.” But surely he is a disgrace in the eyes of God.

David was sure that God would bring Doeg down to everlasting ruin. I also trust that God will judge this evildoer. And when the Lord brings him to his knees, this “hero” will beg for God’s mercy and the righteous will laugh saying (Psalm 52:6-7):

“Here now is the man
    who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
    and grew strong by destroying others!”

Knowing that God will eventually bring this man to justice does not fill me with joyful laughter. While I wait for God’s justice, the evildoer destroys others.

If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his riches. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his business successes. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of his knowledge. If he is going to boast, he should not boast of ratings.

If he is going to boast, let him boast that he knows the heart of God (Jeremiah 9:24).

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
    that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
    justice and righteousness on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Selah

 

via Daily Prompt: Laughter