The Response

images

It has been heartbreaking to watch the news this last week, with riots and looting and angry words being thrown back and forth.  But what I noticed most on the faces of the people I saw on television was a look of deep pain and hurt and frustration.  It goes much deeper than the cries of racism.  This was a look of pain accumulated from many years of injustice – from substandard schools for the poor, people not caring, families torn apart from alcoholism and drugs, single moms trying to raise their families against the odds, being poor in a country that has so many extremes in wealth, and a general lack of morality in our culture.  The tone spread throughout the country like a bad virus, and spilled over into family Thanksgiving celebrations and times where we should be coming together.  It brought home the fact that the holidays are very hard for many people, those without families or means to provide, and loneliness and hurt feelings are heightened.

What is the correct response, and what is the solution for a hurting country and the world?

There is only one answer, one person, that can satisfy all our questions and truly take away the pain and injustice.  Jesus Christ.  No other person, no other religion or doctrine or leader, has spoken the words that Jesus said and acted as Jesus did.  Jesus faced many of the same issues that we have today, but he is not just a historical figure to be studied.  His truth is still true today.  Jesus offers compassion for the forgotten, the poor and lonely.  Only Jesus offers grace and forgiveness, no matter who you are or what you have done.  Jesus often spoke against the wealth and power of this earth, yet no one has ever found any fault with him other than he claimed to be who he said he was.  He healed.  He understood.  He cared.  He carried all of our pain to the cross.  He died for us.  No one else has done this.

As my younger self, I might have considered this to be a lesser response to the world’s problems.  I wanted to solve it my way.  But as I have seen more of the world now, I know there is no other answer.  Jesus is the only way out of our circumstances, and the only one who can ease our pain.  During this Christmas season we see the images of baby Jesus lying in a manger, but I hope we will also see Jesus the man.  Read the spoken words of Jesus in the New Testament (red-letter edition) and you will see why He came and what He stood for.  In your pain, look to Jesus.  Trust in Him as your Savior and He will lead you out.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, a man, Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5

 Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  John 12:46

feet with waves cropped

Charity in America

truck (2)

 

A wealthy Christian man who lost everything in a financial downturn was asked if he ever regretted all he had given to the Lord’s work.
He replied, “What I gave, I still have. What I kept, I lost.”

 

 

As an American, we like to have our opinions.  We have opinions on everything from how to handle Ebola and gun violence, to how we should be spending our taxes and whether or not our favorite sports team played well.  We love our free speech and our beliefs.  Most of America was formed out of the quest for these two freedoms. We cannot lose them, for there is no where else to go on earth to find the same.  Though we are sometimes divided as a nation on where we stand with our opinions, there is one unique and inclusive part to America.  It’s our charity.  No other country in the world puts as much emphasis on charity and social welfare as America does.  We should be proud of these efforts.  You can see it everywhere you go: Salvation Army, Red Cross, YMCA’s, United Way, many churches and civic organizations, missions, local food pantries, Angel tree gifts at Christmas, foster care, Girl Scout cookies, and every school and athletic program in between.  In addition, America pays for almost all missions and charities for the rest of the world.  We are a giving nation.  It’s part of our culture, and we should never lose site of this.

Giving brings thankfulness, and thankfulness brings happiness.
Greed, on the other hand, takes away.

If you google “how rich am I“, it will show you a few sites where you can compare your wealth with the rest of the world.  I used globalrichlist.com for these statistics:

If you make $32,500 in U.S. dollars, then you are in the top 1% of the world.

It takes the average worker in Indonesia 43 years to make same amount.

Your monthly income could pay the monthly salaries of 141 doctors in Central Asia.

So the next time I find myself complaining about dirty dishes in the sink, piles of laundry and unmade beds, and not getting that raise I think I deserved, I will instead be thankful for food to eat, clothes to wear, a warm bed at night, and will skip that extra double chocolate mocha and help someone in need.

May we all be blessed with thankfulness.

Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
Psalm 41:1

feet with waves cropped