The days that will define who we will become

The real issues of life seem to bubble up during crises or seasons of panic and fear. It’s then that we find out what kind of country we live in, who our friends are and even learn to understand our mortality.

It’s these times that teach us who we are. And more importantly, it’s these times that define who we will become.

Here are a few of the things we’ve learned during the crisis. These are facts that have come to the forefront.

TRUTH: Fear is real and knows no boundaries.

Today more than ever, people are running scared. Whether it’s hopelessness, concern over a job or finances or uncertainty about the future, it’s clear that fear is running rampant across the country and around the world.

And it spreads like wildfire! In fact, fear is more contagious, more infectious and more harmful than any virus. Fear yields paralysis, apathy, depression, stagnation and death.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

Often times, we are running away from fears that aren’t even chasing us. Or, as my pastor Brady Boyd likes to put it: “Most of the things we are afraid of never happen.”

You can feed your fear or feed your faith. Feed your despair or feed your hope. It’s your choice, but you will likely make no more significant decision for your peace of mind and sanity, at least not in the near-term.

What are you spreading? You can choose the direction for you, your family and your circle influence. Choose life, choose hope, choose faith. Overcome fear, feed yourself hope and faith.

Stop the spread of fear. Share hope!

TRUTH: When it comes to the president, governor, mayor or other leaders, you have one choice only.

This is just a fact. It’s your president, it’s your governor, it’s your mayor, city council, Congress and it’s your pastor. If you are a Christian or call yourself a Christian, you have one option, one choice: pray, intercede and give thanks “…for all those in authority.”

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

1 Timothy 2:7

No “yeah, but”, no Facebook denunciation, no darts thrown and no “one more thing!”

Pray! When you want to scream, rant or criticize, pray again. Note that I didn’t say you have to agree with everything they say. Hear me when I tell you that you don’t have to align yourself with all their decisions. But most importantly, recognize that God is still in control, no matter who is in the White House, the governor’s mansion, Congress, or the city hall.

This is one of the most challenging things for people to do, especially if they have strong opinions about the people who lead them. When you pray, ask God to bless them, prosper them, give them wisdom, protect them and cause them to be a blessing to the people they serve.

TRUTH: Some people aren’t stupid, they just lack common sense. What about you?

Stupidity — and common sense for that matter — knows no bounds. It transcends cultures, political persuasions, age and gender demographics and religious convictions.

Mark Twain said: “I’ve found that common sense is not so common.” Further, he added: “Common sense is not a gift, it’s a punishment. Because you have to deal with everyone who doesn’t have it!”

You got anyone in your life you want to “deal with” right now? Yeah, that’s what I thought!

Rules, guidelines and laws even are made for people who tend to paint outside the moral, ethical and legal lines. Nowadays, that list includes reasonable and sensible lines. The rest of us have to deal with those people and the results of their foolish actions. Think about it!

If you use Facebook as a measuring stick — and you do so at your own peril — people have lost an extra screw or two over this pandemic. Watch one newscast — pick your own source, it doesn’t matter — and you’ll see talking heads or stories of people saying or doing outrageous things. Sarcasm has become truth, and cynicism has turned to bitterness.

Just when you think you’ve seen, heard and witnessed everything.

What’s the answer? Resist and restrain. For you, the answer is to search out the sanity, stand on the solid foundation, don’t try to fix it (read: don’t argue, debate or call out) and maintain sanity and wisdom. Don’t be sucked into the craziness that has overcome our times.

TRUTH: Today more than ever, everyone’s an expert!

Ever wondered who that man or woman is on the news station that’s giving you their expert opinion? Or that person on Facebook who insists they know what’s going on? Or that person at the office that’s certain they have the single bit of information that guarantees they’re right?

Who are these people? Do we know? Does their background support the significant thoughts they are putting in our minds? Or are those thoughts merely opinions and ideas they want to try out on the rest of us.

The word expert has become a watered-down idiom in our society. It has been overworked and overused to the point that no single person can be called an expert because we are now all experts. The word has become ordinary, just like “crisis”, “Christian”, “racist”, “breaking news”, “rights”.

SUGGESTION: Find the one thing on which you can be an expert and speak on that, firmly and confidently. Keep quiet on the rest of it, especially when it involves you giving an opinion, assumption or judgement that can’t be substantiated.

Don’t take this wrong. I’m not suggesting your opinion is meaningless or not meaningful. But that’s it, an opinion, unless you have facts, education or insight to support it. Don’t stand up and turn that opinion into an expert analysis.

To be sure, the days are treacherous and perilous, and everything is not as it seems. People that we thought we knew just a few months ago have lost their common sense, are running in fear or just running their mouth.

As for you, be strong, be courageous, be smart and choose common sense over stupidity every time. Remember, the times will define who you will be on the other side of the crisis.

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