Dear friends, I try to make it my purpose and plan to never make political comment in the marketplace of ideas. My father taught me when I was a boy that “I may not agree with what you say but I will fight for your right to say it.” To me, That is what it means to be American . I still believe that. I wish I could say that I never wavered from it. But I used to stick my nose into so many matters of opinion, where it didn’t belong that I was very ineffective, in the concerns that should have been most important to me. In fact, I came across as so opinionated that I minimized my influence. I have worked hard to change this unhelpful habit.
Being vocally opinionated in so many matters of public concern limited my possibility to share Christ. Another wise old saying, I grew up with was “not to throw rocks at someone, until you walked a mile in their shoes.” There’s a lot to learn from that old saying. And like most of us, I learn more when I listen.
So I respect the opinions and diversity of many of you. Even the ones, that I privately disagree with. I read and try to learn from your ideas and try to understand what makes you think, the way you do. I also do not minimize that many of you, feel like it is your place to take a stance on issues of the day. I respect you for doing, what you believe is right.
Yet it brings me to yet another wise saying my father taught me. “Your rights end, where my nose begins and vice versa.” Meaning simply, that while I respect your rights, I expect you, to respect mine too.
A wonderful program that helped change my life for the good taught me; “Don’t let others live rent-free in your head”. Many of the things going on around us are so distressing and troubling, that it can cause even the brightest person, to have discouragement and distress. I must admit, I’ve let these concerns around us do exactly that to me, recently.
But no more, by the grace of God. I’m working on getting focus back on the good, God is doing in my own life. ( And there is so much to be thankful for, that I should not have time for complaining ). So, I will focus on blessing my own family & friends. I will direct my thoughts towards things, that deserve my attention. And towards matters, I have the power to change. As a point of fact, that’s why I’m writing this post. I lost the whole thing and had to rewrite it. But it was so important to me, that I felt it necessary to re-write it.
Perhaps some of you are struggling like I was with the distress of what is happening around us. So I encourage you, to do what Zig Ziglar used to call “a check up from the neck up.” Don’t let discouraging matters around you, become so overwhelming, that you don’t concentrate on the good going on in your own heart & life.
Also, don’t forget to look at and for, the good in others around you, that may not be in the headlines. The positive heartlines are often a little harder to see, than the flashy negative headlines. But they are there although you may have to look a little harder for them .Which is why by the way, I’m not ashamed to say that I still pledge allegiance to America, because that means I’m pledging allegiance to each and everyone of you, as my American brothers and Friends.
I pray every day for God to grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change. We can only have Serenity, when we keep our minds and hearts in the now. And are at peace with God and ourselves that we are doing our best, to be our best, today. And we cannot have this healthy attitude, when all of our mind and energy is drained, by thinking predominantly about things in the world, beyond our ability to change.
Johnny Appleseed was asked in the foundation of America what he would do, if he knew that tomorrow the world would end. Johnny thought meditatively for a moment and then replied, today I would still plant my apple seed!!! Wow! That’s what we all need to do. I’m going to plant seeds of Hope, good, faith, encouragement and blessing wherever I go, regardless of how bleak and black the circumstances appear.
I cannot run off all the darkness in the world. But I can shine my light in the room that I am in. I cannot change all the negative that I see. But I can bring God’s positive with me wherever I go, and share it with whomever I meet. And I will.
Think about a seed for a moment. How dark and black it is to be buried in the ground. Yet from that dark place, roots and life are formed. And what seems to be that which would crush and Destroy becomes the very thing that causes New Life to spring forth & thrive.
So I encourage each of you my friends. Do not be overwhelmed with the darkness around you. I ask Christ to fill your heart with his eternal light and good. And let the brightness in you be so strong, that it positively influences the world around you.
So this is as close to political statement is I will make. But it is not political. It’s what we are all supposed to believe to be American. Each person used to pledge allegiance to the flag, in America in school. And doing this was pledging allegiance to each other. I may not agree with you but I have unreservedly decided to be for you. Because you are my brother and sister Americans. That’s what the Pledge of Allegiance was all about. Not that we would be against each other but that we would be for each other.