Do you ever hear voices or have conversations inside your own mind? Debates about right and wrong, or even mundane daily activities: “Can I have one more cup of coffee this morning and still make it to work on time?” “Not a chance.” “Absolutely, just drink quickly … Wait, not that quickly, it’s still hot!” (That last guy with the warning usually shows up a couple of seconds too late. He pulls that stunt on me when I’m cooking too … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached into a hot oven to pull food out with my bare hands. Yeah, you read that right. I should rob banks for a living because I don’t think I have fingerprints left. I really need to tell the voice in charge of warning me about the hot things to quit drinking on the job. Anyway, I digress …)
I’m not sure when the voices started … I’ve carried them with me for as long as I can remember. Not sure if they are guardian angels, my conscience, or just full-blown schizophrenia. Frankly none of those three options, nor any combination of the three, would surprise me in the least.
This past week the voices have been arguing about politics. I even began a post about some of the concerns the voices were, well, voicing. Sorry to disappoint those readers out there interested in the political views of someone my particular brand of crazy, but today I deleted the post. This morning the voices and I got a major and much-needed dose of humility.
As you may have guessed from some of my previous posts, particularly Shopping Cart Stewardship, my personal life philosophy hinges (at least in part) on being part of the solution. Solution to what? Well, pick a problem. Our world has no shortage of them.
Different problems (seemingly obviously) necessitate different solutions. For example, my thoughts on politics. How do you affect change in the political arena? Well you vote, you educate yourself on the issues, and then you attack (in my case, by blog) in order set things right.
Eye for an eye, right? That’s human nature, regardless of the particulars of the problem. You hit me, I want to hit you back. You insult me (or my country), and I want to insult you back. And so do almost all the little voices in my head, by the way. They become my personal set of cheerleaders when I really get fired up about something. And this week, I was fired up. I was ready to utilize my God-given gift and American Constitutional right to speak my mind.
Fortunately for me the sun rose this morning, and thankfully, so did I. If I hadn’t gone to Sunday service today, if I hadn’t been there to receive what God had for me, you would be reading a much different post right now.
The message this morning focused on forgiveness and love. Simple concepts to preach, but much more difficult to put into action. Especially when your voices are ready to fight.
Matthew 5:43-44 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
As the pastor read this passage, all the voices uttered a collective “ouch.”
By fighting the way we were preparing to fight, we were ultimately losing the war. By opening my mouth (via blog, of course) and criticizing individuals, I was in essence doing exactly what I was reproaching those very individuals for doing. They are being part of the world’s problems by spreading hate. And I was about to jump on that bandwagon. To criticize would have been tantamount to endorsement.
No more. It’s not too late to be part of the solution. The voices and I are wholly choosing forgiveness, and I’ll (we’ll?) be praying for the individuals I had earlier intended to publicly reprimand. I will write what I want on this blog … As long as it lends itself to a brighter overall picture and a loving, forgiving world view. There is already plenty of negativity out there to choose from, and no need whatsoever for me or the voices to add to it.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:38-42
God never said life was easy, but He promises it will be worth it. Loving and forgiving our enemies isn’t easy (heck, sometimes it’s hard just to love and forgive our friends!), but I choose to fight the good fight and have faith that it’s worth it.