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Does the Golden Rule control how we speak with other people? Whether the topic is religious or policitial, can we have a meaningful discussion about significant issues with people who believe differently than we do? Do we listen to them as we want them to listen to us? Or has the Cancel Culture made its way into our lives and that of our churches?
“I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, Lord, make me live in safety” (Ps 4:8).
“Do not put the LORD your God to the test” (Deut 6:16).
There is a fine line between testing and trusting God, and during this time of pandemic the distinction is critical.
I've been thinking about hell. The fire department burned down an abandoned house on our property last week. It was fun to watch. They used it for training; they lit a fire in one corner and a group of volunteers marched into the darkness of the smoke with the hose and masks and heavy oxygen tanks. Then they started another fire in another corner, and another group of volunteers put out that fire. It gave me a good sense of appreciation for what firemen do. This went on for 7 hours. While the fire was fun to watch, it was the coals that blasted the heat. The longer it burned, the further I had to retreat. I've never experienced that amount of heat, and that made me think of hell.
We have an amazing opportunity during this pandemic. We can be a sign to our neighbors of their destruction and our salvation.
Sound harsh? Not really. If someone is headed to any kind of destruction, we would tell them. If someone were wading into a river full of alligators, we would tell them. If a friend were driving recklessly, we would tell them (especially if we’re in the car).
At the same time, when we do the right thing at the right time in the right way — my definition of bravery — people notice.
The Bible tells us to take our anxious worries off our shoulders and place them on God. Easier said than done! It reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live skit with Bob Newhart: “Stop it!”