"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to
listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger
does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."
James 1: 19, 20 (NIV)
I was thinking the other day about the upcoming election. It seems that political parties are the embodiment of the division in this country today. My candidate is best, yours is a _______ (fill in the blank). Who supports your candidate? They are a bunch of racist, commies, socialist, misogynist, hateful people. We can name the names. We know who they are. Still, it gets so old. We need to be informed, but can we do away with the slurs and vitriol?
I think we need to look at the candidates' records, if they have one, on how they have voted on past legislation. We can also look at their public life; do they live what they claim? Did they have another career before they ran for office that would give us insight to their management style or ethics? If they have a dismal record in the past, has it improved over time? Do they seem to have matured and learned as a person?
Using their family as a gauge is difficult. As they say, "You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Brothers and sisters can be totally different personalities from the candidate, even though they may have been raised by the same parents and lived in the same home. Each has had different life experiences that may be part of the reason for different characteristics. So, using their family to determine how they will live out their elected office is a wash.
This leaves us with the Scripture above, inspired by the Holy Spirit. We should always be listening...listening to what people are really saying. Reading, I think, would fall into this category. Read all that you can about the person running for office. Unfortunately, it seems that everything we hear and read is biased. I would think that the truth may be somewhere between the national media on the left and right and actual speeches made (without the edits).
Then, we should be slow to speak. Sometimes, we take a snippet of what we heard and repeat it. How many times have you said something about a candidate only to be embarrassed afterwards that you misspoke, totally mistaken on what was said or understood. Those things happen. We can only apologize and, hopefully, move on.
The last thing is the part about being slow to anger. Anger can build up in us without us realizing it. I believe it is right under the surface for many of us, because of the stress we are under: corona virus, loss of jobs, lack of personal interaction, missing normal activities, and on and on. Add on to this the endless media coverage of racial tensions, riots, innocent people being harmed or killed, wildfires, hurricanes, wind storms, and you've got a war that's raging just under the surface. We need to have an outlet for those pent up frustrations and anger. Working out can help. Having good friends and family to vent to will also be beneficial. What if we are all alone? Cry out to God. Look at the psalms; there were writers who raged at God for vengeance, righteousness, and faithfulness. Trust me, God can take it. God want us to communicate with Him, even if we're angry. (He knows our moods anyway, so why fake it?)
Quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Sounds simple, but I know it's not. Like everything else we want to do, we have to practice. Anything worthwhile takes time, and this is definitely worthwhile. Start practicing today and, like a musical instrument, you'll be improving each day. God bless.
P.S. Our Annual Conference is this month, online. I don't see anything controversial at this time. Keep me and Gary Miley in your prayers for God's wisdom in how we vote to represent you all.