Aug 022015

bashingBashing. The new international sport. Tweet bashing is an actual term in current use! In fact, bashing has become so popular that some are pretending to bash, just to get more attention! Think I’m kidding? see how many #bashing have nothing to do with bashing. Pseudobashing?

Apparently, I am completely out of touch with current events. I woke up with a start the other day when several bashing related issues piled on top of each other in my consciousness.

The first thing I noticed was the confederate flag. Yes, it has been linked in the media to at least one horrific current event. Using their same logic, we will find ourselves bashing the American flag as well, since it too has been the backdrop for extremists and criminal acts, and at a much greater frequency.

Then I started picking up on the whole wild animal killing thing. Yes, the irresponsible disrespect shown by some recently for the remaining wildlife diversity on our planet is shocking and disappointing. It does indeed say something about our culture when we place so little value on the creation around us. However, this is beginning to expand to include all hunting, which is very narrow-minded. In addition, what does it say about us when these stories get far more attention than, say, the fact that close to 1 in 5 children in this country are malnourished.

Last Friday, I posted something on Facebook asking for prayers for the firefighters across California. There are close to 2000 of them battling a growing monster less than one hour from where I’m sitting right now. Thousands of people being evacuated. How naive I was. While there were only supportive comments to my post, I became aware of a nationwide focus on bashing California! Criticizing the government for poor management, categorizing Californians as loose, liberal, wasteful, pot-growing, evil, immoral, the list is long…. that deserve to burn, and this even from christian sources! Did you know that there are whole sites and phone apps designed to facilitate “drought shaming”? Yes, it is a term. Applies to people making judgments, often misinformed, about water abuse and posting them online.

What’s with all of this hate! It’s so popular. It’s also exhausting. And dangerous.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.  -Proverbs 10:12 NIV.

Do we as Christians, or even as responsible citizens, have a responsibility to act against wrong in the world around us? Certainly. Generating so much hate against whole states, races, cultures, or other groups because of a few instances, admittedly sometimes terrible instances, of evil… which is the greater sin?

I fear that we are allowing ourselves to spread hate and bash others with such willingness and to such extremes that we are creating our own destructive wildfires, raging out of control, threatening to devour everything in their path, even us. These wildfires are far more real and destructive than the physical ones putting my adopted state at risk.

I challenge us this week. When faced with a bashing issue in the real, or in social media, rather than jumping on the hate bandwagon, find a way to make a loving comment. Find something to support, someone to care for. That’s how we bash the bash.

Aug 012015

discouragementDon’t let discouragement die! When you see a colleague’s eyes start to well up with tears, frustrated about a tough day, pretend you didn’t see her.

The thirteen year old girl accidentally lets her sleeve slip up, showing signs of cutting. You look away in disgust, not wanting to appear to support such actions.

A frustrated mother and her three little ones sit in the pew next to you. She desperately tries to keep them engaged and quiet. You maintain your straightforward focus without connecting with the one six inches away.

Your boss is obviously faced with challenges on several fronts, you resist the temptation to leave an encouraging card on her desk. Keep discouragement alive!

An elderly neighbor struggles to move a dead limb off of her sidewalk. You carefully avoid eye contact because you are not dressed for limb removal.

Your pastor  works to heal divisions in the congregation through his messages. You keep your indifference intact by exiting through a side door to avoid him. You succeed in not letting discouragement die.

The hungry twelve year old boy in front of you at the fast food restaurant has trouble finding enough change to pay for his sandwich. You carefully look at the display of flashlights, trying to mask your impatience.

The error prone employee is crestfallen as she realizes she has goofed once again. You carefully keep your quality focus intact by sternly documenting the mistake and avoiding affirming the work done well.

My wife is up past midnight, struggling to finish cooking for a work party the next morning. I watch TV in another part of the house because, of course, it’s not my fault that she didn’t start earlier.

Son calls his dad after failing a difficult chemistry test. Dad carefully avoids mentioning all the other good grades because striving to improve is important.

Dad punishes his seven year old daughter for breaking a vase she was told not to touch. He sends her crying to her room, not wanting any comforting to dilute the punishment. Ahhh, discouragement is kept alive.

Yes! Successful people we are! Discouragement will NOT become an endangered species on our watch! Long live discouragement!!

Just one little hint: if you would love to fail… at keeping discouragement alive, make up another ending for each scenario above. And Oh, by the way, be on constant alert for opportunities to fail all around you today. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. Failing at this is a blast!!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV.

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