I've been pondering the pain we may all be experiencing due to the global pandemic variables. I read in Titus 3:9 that we are "not to have anything to do with foolish arguments or controversies", and that we are to practice "sound speech" (Titus 2:8). This particular piece of advice supports discussion rather than complete silence, but I have been searching for the right words for some time.
While looking for further direction, I picked up a magazine in the church foyer entitled: Today's Christian Living, November 2021 Issue and came across an article by Stephanie Rische. She writes about novelist Charles Martin and his fight against hopelessness. Martin writes "we all walk with a limp of some sort" (pg.7). His words made me think of humanity's unique layers and complexities when responding to specific situations. He went on to paint a vivid picture of our present circumstances with phrases like "a daily dose of hopelessness" and "a dish of despair" (7). He "doesn't want to eat it" (7), and neither do I. Many thanks to authors Rische and Martin for this uplifting piece.
I share a passion for fighting hopelessness too. Like Martin, my fight involves writing and began when I was twelve, alone with God and my guitar. Recently getting "alone with God" has been an acute spiritual prompting in my spirit. Could this global dilemma be an opportunity to take more time with God? We often go to every other source for a remedy before approaching Him. Sometimes we leap to conclusions and slap His name on them as if our advice came from His mouth.
Practicing "soundness of speech" (Titus 2:8), encompasses not only what we say but what we read and what information we allow to dictate our next steps. When we see a post or video that resonates with us, before we reply or share it, and certainly before we jump on the wagon, we should consider our unique limp.
Various realities in our lives have caused our unique limps and scars. We may understand our reactions to those realities if we are familiar with our scars and where they came from. If we are not guarding our hearts as written in Proverbs 4:23, we may favor our limp and respond as victims.
Because we are always working through some type of healing process, we are vulnerable and susceptible to reading many of life's situations as personal attacks. If our scars are a result of a controlling abuse, may we interpret our present global situation as a control move? If adults from our childhood exemplified skepticism of authority, may we too exhibit an authoritative phobia? If our quest towards healing has resulted in extreme boundaries, will our natural reflex be to build higher walls?
What if our limp is an ignorance issue, where we have developed an unrealistic view of life on this fallen planet? What if we are not aware of embedded theologies, ideas we have heard growing up but never researched in God's Word for ourselves? This limp may cause us to jump to conclusions that are not necessarily Gospel truth.
Our limp may exist because of a loss or a lack of belonging or a feeling of being unheard. Jumping on a soapbox to get the affirmation we've been looking for is an expected reaction. Loss sometimes results in a wound of perpetual fear, which may cultivate distrust of everyone and everything.
Rather than reacting to the painful division, accusations, and confusion around me, I am currently asking God to help me analyze my layers and limps (Matt. 7:5). How are my scars affecting my response to this global crisis and others' reactions around me? Am I breaking bones and crushing spirits or healing wounds and mending fences? As I consider limps and scars, I am finally writing about it, but not for accolades or to be hailed as right - to fight hopelessness.
May I suggest we all consider our layers and limps and how they affect our reactions. Ask God for the gift of discernment and minister hope as you go.
#unsplash, Thank you Towfiqu Barbhuiya for your photograph