It’s been an unsettling couple weeks, hasn’t it? Kind of like someone shook up our snow globe of life and we’re trying to figure out where things are going to settle.
Sunday morning husband John and I arrived home from a trip in time to overlap briefly with our daughter and son-in-law who were in town for a wedding. We went to brunch before taking them back to the airport, talking non-stop, trying to squeeze 24 hours into our 5 hours together.
We talked a lot about the sad state of our country and the mandate we feel to do what we can to stand up for those who are being persecuted, but the tone of our conversation left me a bit troubled. Our talk was marked more by righteous indignation, anger and judgment than anything else. We shared outrageous tweets and news stories we had seen.
Later, I was reading in Acts 6 where the disciples are choosing men for special work. They look for “people whom everyone trusts, men full of the Holy Spirit and good sense…”
One they choose is Stephen who is described as “full of faith and the Holy Spirit…”
Later, in verse 8 it says, “Stephen, brimming with God’s grace and energy, was doing wonderful things among the people, unmistakable signs that God was among them.”
So, here’s the uncomfortable part. Would anyone listening to our conversation Sunday have identified me as “full of the Holy Spirit”? “Brimming with God’s grace and energy”? Not so much.
I’d be golden if a fruit of the Spirit was anger or frustration or criticism!
Yes, we need to speak truth. We need to rail against injustice. But bringing the kingdom of God will not happen if we are sucked into a vortex of CNN and Twitter madness that just fuels our anger.
To make a difference we need to be different.
We need to use different language, words marked by the grace and wisdom of Jesus.
We need to have a different spirit – the Spirit of Jesus.
If we are to be the non-anxious presence, we need to be rooted and grounded first in Jesus.
So, 3 questions I’ve been asking myself:
- Am I taking time to be still, to breathe deep, to pray up, to fill up with the words of Jesus? Or am I turning first to news outlets?
- If someone overheard my conversation today would they note anything of Jesus in it? Anything different from the world? Am I listening with respect to the other?
- What does love require of me?
Practice resurrection.” Nathan Hamm