The whole world is mad enough to chew nails and spit rivets at each other. The wildfire of anxiety already fueled by a viral pandemic and financial hardships has roared into an inferno fanned by outrage over racial injustice. Add all of this to an overly politicized, deeply divided, radically idealized, and seemingly diabolicaly opposed Left and Right presidential election year and, voila, here we are. McCarthyism (“The practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigate techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.” – Dictionary.com) turned into Cancel Culture (“The popular practice of withdrawing support for public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Dictionary.com). Unsurprisingly, we (collectively as humans) have learned absolutely nothing from God or history on how to get along with each other. Like sheep, we’ve all gone astray. The only difference between us and sheep is that we like to point and call out the wrong courses everyone else has taken, but never look back at our own errors.
As a result, I’ve been rationing my news intake and limiting my time on social media platforms. I can’t take all the lava-hot words and vitriol spewing out of the mouths on all sides of the world’s current, self-inflicted problems. I don’t know how to heal or even understand the differences of opinion and the vast chasms that seem to lie between the logic and thinking of some of us. So, with that admission, what can I do? I have been and will continue to lay them down at my Father’s feet. He is the answer to everything, always. God excels in doing what everyone says is impossible.
I’m doing the same on a personal level. While the huge fires of the world keep burning, so too do the little flames within my life. I’m sure you understand because we’re all the same. My personal fire is called MS but yours might be named such things as Furloughed, Job, Money, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Death, Parent, Child, Spouse, Cancer, Diabetes, Aging… just about anything, really. For me, MS is constantly melting away tiny pieces of my own sovereignty. It’s very difficult to let go of the things in life that make you feel like you have some control, such as driving, shopping, cooking, and walking.
In much the same way that I realize I can’t put out the MS fire in my own life and deal with the destruction it leaves in it’s wake on my own, we, as a nation and even world, must understand we will have to work collectively to bring the flames of our society back under control. The solution will not be conceived in fear of an unseen germ, worry over the next great depression, or riots that break our neighbors’ windows and loot their livelihoods because of injustice. No, if it could then we would already have the answer. The fix is to be found in love. The kind of love the apostle Paul described in I Corinthians 13:4-7, the sort God has for us. His love is patient, kind, happy for others instead of envious, lifts others up instead of boasting about self, is well mannered instead of rude, seeks the good of others instead of self, is slow to anger, keeps no records of wrongs, delights in holiness instead of evil, rejoices in the truth instead of sensationalism, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
I realize what I am about to say is very Pollyannish of me, but… If every person would recognize the truthfulness and wisdom of this type of love and make it their own personal goal to practice it, without policing others and how they are doing as they attempt to do the same, all the infernos of the world would simply burn themselves out. If only.