Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Rev. Deb Dysert
This was a question that our pastor posed this last Sunday as we gathered for worship on this second Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season where we prepare our hearts and our lives for the arrival of what Christians believe to be our Savior. Whatever our belief is, we have some responsibility to prepare our hearts and our lives to be changed by someone bigger and wiser than we are. Some would call that one God, Jesus, Allah, or Great Spirit. Our God has many names and, I believe, honors all our traditions.
I do believe that whatever we call that One, the process of preparation is critical.
We live in a world that is overcome with so many choices. Unfortunately, as I look all around me, I feel like I am in a tug-of-war and I am the rope. We are being tugged at from many directions and it is not usually our God that is tugging. It feels to me that the tugs are coming from every place but God. Tugging at us to move away from God and to be more like everyone around us. We see it everywhere we turn. You know what I am talking about. Messages telling us, “They did it to you, so give it back to them, only worse” or “Go ahead, nobody will know” or “They gave you the extra change, it is their mistake, good luck for you! Keep it!”
Preparing our hearts for a more God-like existence is the last thing the tugs are trying to move us toward.
I work with impoverished teenagers and I am astounded that as a rule of thumb, telling the truth is not the highest value they embrace. A friend of mine reminds me on a regular basis that as we walk through our lives day by day, we rarely encounter a majority of people who embrace that value and the children I am working with are reflections of that fact. Is there really peace in not telling the truth? Not for me.
I find peace in knowing that with everything that I say and action I take, I am striving to put God on my shoulder, listening in and smiling at me, even if what I am doing is delivering a difficult truth to deliver.
I look at the model presented for me to learn from (which I call Jesus) and he didn’t dodge the truth; he delivered it in love. He owned what he did, even if the other person was not going to like it. He demonstrated honor in being a person who lived in such a way that other people knew what he believed because they could see it in how he lived.
I watched the movie “Blind Side,” which is the story of Michael Ohr, the football player. It was a phenomenal movie that boldly demonstrates the notion of living in such a way that we are being true to our walk and the values we embrace. It is also the story of hope in what can happen when we are letting our faith beliefs guide us and direct us. I know that Michael Ohr can clearly identify God’s hand at many junctures in his life. I know we can, too, but we need to be bold in embracing our values and being willing to stand apart from the crowd and live those values. Michael Ohr did and so did the family that took him in and made him part of their lives. It is easy to place blame on everyone and everything else, but it takes real strength to stand up and do what we need to do and own what we need to own.
Embracing and living our values is not only critical for us individually, it is the hope of this world. It is a vital link in changing the things in this world that are currently frustrating us. It all starts with one of us guarding our Blind Side.
May God bless you abundantly this holiday season. Whatever holiday you are celebrating – Kwanza, Hanukah, Christmas or another holiday – prepare your hearts to live a more peaceful life. Therein lies our Hope. Namaste.