This week we watched a new President take the oath of office to the most powerful position in America, and arguably on earth. There was no military coup, no killing of the outgoing ruler and his family, and no mass killings. There were a number of prayers, speeches, and parties. This is a good thing.
We also had riots and protests in the background. People were upset about how things happened in the election, who ended up winning, and the things our President has done in the past. A lot of hurt feelings are floating around out there.
Frankly, I get it. People are not happy about a lot of things. I get it. People feel like they have been maligned, silenced, oppressed, and marginalized. Yep. I get it.
Here’s the thing. Breaking windows, burning police cars, starting fights, and holding up signs peppered with vulgarity doesn’t fix things. It makes a mess, and makes the people who need to hear you end up marginalizing you even more because of your behavior.
I’m not saying that some of the people (SOME, not all) may not have a legitimate beef against someone or something. They are allowed to have those feelings. Nothing wrong with having them, and nothing wrong with a proper expression of them. The danger comes in when you give yourself over to those feelings.
Yoda warned us that the emotions were the path to the dark side of the Force. When feelings become your barometer for what is right and wrong, then you will always end up oppressing someone else in the end.
Solomon said it this way:
Proverbs 16:32 (ESV)
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
At the end of the day, it comes down to self-control and putting aside the desire to be right in order to do right. It is kind of a funny thing, but you can do wrong being right, but you can never be wrong when you do right. Just one of those goofy things. It just comes down to doing the right thing even when you don’t feel like it.
We have had a huge shift in our nation over the last 40-50 years where we are so driven by our feelings that we are not always able to see the difference between right and wrong anymore. We have been told that having explosive reactions to events is an acceptable way of “venting” our feelings.
Sorry, but that is not how venting works. Ask anyone who has worked around boilers! A vent is a controlled release rather than an explosion. One may make a bit of noise, but there is little to no damage, but the other can be catastrophic.
So, the question is, did we see venting or explosions this weekend? Public opinion is split. Just look at at the major news outlets and you can see just how strongly people feel about how their view and feelings are being addressed. I have a better question though.
Did we do right? Did we look to do good in the opportunities that presented ourselves? Did we join in the arguing, the backbiting, the name calling, the marginalization of people and their ideas? (Yes, I am talking to both sides of the coin.) Did we DO RIGHT? Did we DO GOOD?
Alexis de Tocqueville said:
“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
He also said:
“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
We enjoy our liberty here in America. We have freedom to express ourselves and enjoy so many freedoms the rest of the world looks at longingly. However, we are at a point where things are getting dicey. We need to get back to a sense of morality in America where we seek to do what is right. If we don’t, things are just going to get worse.
To do that, we need to control ourselves. Express ourselves rightly. Support the leadership we have and influence them to do better. We have to have faith in each other to get things done and stop assuming that someone else is out to harm us in any activity or sound bite.
Ultimately, we need to have faith in God and His ability to change people and grow them to be better people. A person who submits authority of their life over to God will always get a better return than running it themselves. That requires a person to do what is right even when their feelings are telling them to be right.
I am not thinking of any individuals as I write this. This is not a specific observation, but one that speaks to the pervasiveness of this issue in our society today.
If you are a person who has been hurt, maligned, marginalized, abused or oppressed, please know that the majority of people out there did not want for that to happen. They don’t think it was right. They don’t want you to suffer, and if you engage them, will likely listen to your heart and may even help you make the change you so desire. I know God will. He has been in that business for years. Relentlessly.
Gonna go pray for my country, its people and its leaders. We all need it.