Hate is real. Love is real. Each can be a heavy coat to wear and can make you feel out of season in a world that is often too hot or much too cold. Injustice and indifference can cut through the thickest fibers of our being. We begin to question the sanity of hope – will things ever really change?
So long as there are you and me, there will be them and us. Depending upon our experiences and perspectives, on any given day, we can be on the same side on one issue and opposite on another. There is no shortage of opinions and an even greater surplus of self-proclaimed experts. We have the capacity to disagree without being disrespectful, but somewhere along the way, being bold translated into being brash.
Responding in uncurbed abrasiveness produces more divisiveness and destruction. The boldest and bravest is the one who chooses the tougher path – the path of love during times of disunity. It requires more discipline to move in peace so others must calm themselves to hear you than it does to shout to a shouting crowd. The first is an effort to understand; the latter ignites resentment and rebellion.
We currently live in a world of mandated social distancing where we can use our phones to film atrocities that separate us and kindnesses that connect us. Thanks to the age of real-time broadcasting, we are no longer socially distant - social media has made us readily available and incapable of being invisible. What we are is merely distant, and this “merely” causes a myriad of problems.
Merely. Or better written, me-rely. Egotism is isolating, particularly when positioned on pedestals made of bias and hypocrisy. The loudest voice is often the one inflated by insecurity and fear. And yet, if we look deeper, many insecurities and fears are grounded in truth muddied by footprints (ours and those who attempt to trespass on our peace). In our effort to move beyond a damaging experience or painful prospect, we can beat the truth into something unrecognizable. We proclaim to fight in the name of a cause, but what we often end up doing is “me-rely” fighting.
High hopes can be compromised by inflated pride. Acting from a sense of entitlement results in a loss of the greater good, discipline and civility. We lose the ability to see one another as mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters when we begin to judge liberally and love conservatively. Rather than look to the Lord Most High for hope and direction, we react based on feelings, impulses and the energies from others. Fear wrapped in resentment and ego makes for an iron fist. And an iron fist can only be raised with a hard heart.
A solution conceived with a hard heart is not worthy of pursuit.
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
In our volatile climate, speaking up in Christ-like love involves a risk to be critically noticed. However, taking time to notice is equally important as risking being noticed. Notice the festering wounds of those who bid harm. Notice the tattered confidence marked with discouragement and defeat. Notice that God loves even him, her, them, us, you and me. Notice that all would do better if we were better to one another, and this effort begins with trusting God more than fear.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
Most relationship problems are created by fear. Most solutions are formed when faith responds.
Hate is real. Love is real. Each can be a heavy coat to wear and can make you feel out of season in a world that is often too hot or much too cold. Will things ever really change? That depends. What coat do you choose to wear? What does your presence offer to others – love, hate, or indifference? Whether you realize it or not, you leave an impression. Will you impress a “me-rely” agenda, or will you rely on God, trusting Him to give you faith and hope to respond as He loves?
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.