Have your boomerangs come back?

July 15, 2021

Two recent quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog seemed to fit together this morning –

“The game of life is the game of boomerangs.  Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later…with astounding accuracy.”  (Florence Shinn)

-AND-

“The beginning of compunction is the beginning of a new life.”  (George Eliot)

When I read the first quote I thought immediately of the 1961 song by Charlie Drake, “My Boomerang Won’t Comeback.” When looking up who sang the song, in almost every mention of it in the search results, it was labeled as a racist song. I never thought if it that way, but maybe that is one of my boomerangs returning to cause me compunction.

We see this boomerang effect quite often as we watch politicians or other “public figures” squirm and backpedal on TV as they are confronted by their past statements or actions. Some have developed compunction about those events and statements, but many still defend them. I recall the miraculous “conversion” of George Wallace from avid racist during his days as Governor of Alabama to the inclusive, anti-racist candidate for President. He could not duck fast enough to avoid those boomerangs.

I suspect that we all have boomerang moments in our lives when we said something or did something that later returned to us and perhaps some of them, we now have compunction about. We are becoming more and more aware of and perhaps having regrets for things that we might have said or done that contributed to what we now understand is systemic racism or homophobia. Most of it is because we allowed some of the bad “everybody knows” thinking and statements about those topics to seep into our thoughts and control our actions and reactions. We didn’t stop and think about who “everybody” is or to question or challenge the presumptions upon which the statements were based. We just accepted them and went on with life, thereby joining into the problem rather than seeking the truth.

The quote about compunction is the key to dealing with these boomerangs in our life. The fact is that we change over time. That change is usually driven by an increase in our knowledge of things that we may have just accepted without question earlier in our lives – the everybody knows things. We learn the truth behind some oof those assumptions and develop compunction about having been duped into a false conclusion. We regret having said things or done things that now seem unwise at best and hateful or harmful in many cases – we develop compunction.

How about you? Do you look back over your life and see things that you said or did that you are now regretful for having said or done? If you recognize them as such you are off to a good start at correcting them in the future. You can’t take back what you said or did 10-15-20 years ago, but you can recognize that they were wrong and have enough remorse and understanding of what would have been right to avoid a repeat of those mistakes in the future – you can have compunction.

One way to close the loop on the regrets that you might have is to lay them out to God in prayer and ask for His help to change you so that you do not do those things again. This is a form of “getting it off your chest”. You could seek out the person that you might have hurt with your remarks, but that is often impractical. You could stand on a street corner confessing your past misdeeds and statements, but that seems a bit dramatic. Just admitting it to the highest authority (God) out loud or in your thoughts as you pray has a cleansing effect. Then you can say, yes, your boomerangs came back, but you caught them and dealt with them the best way possible. You can accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

Now get out there and throw boomerangs that you will be proud of when they come back.


Do you dance in the rain?

July 13, 2021

Pastor Freed has used this quote before in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, and I think I also wrote something about it then, but it’s a good one to think about – “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.” (Vivian Green)

It’s all about your attitude and what you do when some adversity besets you. We all are just now coming out of the year+ long storm of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many spent that year grumbling under their umbrellas (masks); but many also adapted and learned how to dance in the midst of that storm. What did you do? Did you rail against the storm and complain about having to social distance and wear a mask?  Were you defiant when others asked you to put on a mask in public? Did you believe through it all that it was big hoax and that the doctors and scientists didn’t know what they were talking about. Did anyone that you know die from the disease? Ranting in the rain is not the same as dancing in the rain.

The people who were dancing in the rain did not let the challenges of the pandemic bring them down. They found a way to remain happy with just being alive. Perhaps they even gave thanks to God each day that they were given. They embraced the Zoom calls as a new way to stay in touch. The wore their masks as a demonstration of their care and concern for others. Many probably volunteered in their local communities with groups like Meals on Wheels to deliver food and a little human contact to those most vulnerable during the pandemic. They found joy in their service and concern for others.

Now we are coming out of that terrible time, at least those of us who are not resisting getting vaccinated. We can take that time to reflect on how we reacted to this crisis and think about how we might react to others in the future. How did you cope with the last year? Did you learn how to dance in the rain during the pandemic or did you spend it grousing to all who would listen? What good lesson can you take from your experience going forward or what changes do you now see that you need to make in your life to better deal with adversity?

As Vivian Green points out in her quote, dancing in the rain is a learned response. Our instinctive response to any threat is usually fight or flight. Neither addresses coping with the fear or threat. There was certainly no way to fight COVID, until the vaccine was developed, so flight into isolation and behind masks was the only valid response.  We then had to learn what dances worked in this rain.

Many tried to ignore the threat and quite a few of them ended up sick with some only realizing their mistake as they were dying. Now the defiant have shifted their focus to resisting getting the vaccine and the rapidly increasing numbers of the unvaccinated sick and dying attest to the folly of that strategy. Cursing and shaking a fist in the rain is not the same as dancing.

Learning to dance in the rain starts by asking a simple question in the face of adversity – How can I make something positive out of this? It may be that the only positive to come out of a setback is to learn from the mistakes that were made, so that they are not repeated. Many times, there actually were some “wins” that came out of what was an overall defeat. Maybe you won a few battles but lost the war. Celebrate and remember the wins as you prepare your next attempt.

The dance of working from home during the pandemic wasn’t an easy one for some to learn, but most who were forced to learn that dance now like it and the time that it affords with family. The Zoom dance was another one that took a while to get used to, but for most it was better than the constant Conference Room meetings and Powerpoint slide decks that they endured at work, before things changed. Once they discovered how to put a beach scene behind them in the Zoom calls it was even a bit of fun.

So far, we have weathered the COVID storm and learned how to dance in its rain. We need to take that lesson and apply it to the other bad things that happen in our lives and learn how to dance through them, too. Maybe imagining that you have on a “I survived the COVID-19 pandemic” T-shirt would help with a new crisis. After all, how bad can it be compared to a year-long battle with COVID-19? Put a smile on your face and ask God to put a song in your heart, then you can dance your way through the rain of that new crisis.

Do you dance in the rain?


Check your baggage…

July 12, 2021

For this Sunday’s sermon our Pastor used the Scripture reading from Mark 6:7-13 on which to base his remarks. That passage concerns the instructions that Jesus gave his Disciples when he sent them out to preach to the world. Basically, Jesus told the Disciples to take nothing with them, to leave everything behind, to take no baggage with them and to depend upon the kindness of strangers for their food and shelter.

Pastor Matlack opined that we all have baggage, not just physical baggage in the form of stuff, but mental baggage in the form of fears, regrets and prejudices. He suggested that we need to leave our baggage behind in order to be able to go out in the world and share the good news of Jesus. We need to check our baggage so that we are left with nothing weighing us down. Check your baggage.

Some of our baggage, especially prejudices, may be hard to let go of, almost like a favorite possession. Many may have been with us a very long time and we find comfort in just letting them dictate our actions and reactions, rather than having to stop and really think about things. They have become our “everybody knows” safe havens for our quick decisions and bad behavior. Check your baggage.

Pastor Matlack used the analogy of going through the TSA checkpoint at the airport. We are no longer allowed to get on the plane with anything dangerous on our person or in our carryon baggage– guns, knives (box cutters) explosives, or liquids.  When you think about it, airplanes before the TSA were a dangerous place to be since fellow passengers might have been carrying any or all of those items. Now, with modern TSA body scanners and luggage scanners it is impossible to hide those items and get on the plane with them., Check your baggage.

There is no TSA checkpoint or scanner for the mental baggage that you might be carrying around, especially the unfounded fears and prejudices about other people. Instead, we must use the scanning power of prayer to search deep within ourselves to expose those fears and preconceived notions. Once you have brought them out into the light of reason, you must make the decision on what to do with them. Pastor Matlack suggested that we check those fears and prejudices with God; that we not continue to carry them around. Check your baggage.

Checking your baggage with God is as Easy as curb-side baggage check at the airport. One only has to admit that they have that baggage and then hand them over to God. We are told in several places in the Bible that if we confess our sins (and prejudice is certainly a sin) we will be forgiven and the burden (the baggage) of those sins will be taken away from us. Take nothing with you when you leave home for the day today – no unfounded fears, no uncertainty about people and no doubts or regrets about your actions. Check in with God before your travels today and check your baggage.

Have a great week ahead unencumbered by all your baggage.

Check your baggage with God.


It is not karma…

July 11, 2021

Pastor Freed used this quote recently in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)

There is a concept that many people believe in called “karma”. The thought is that people get what they deserve to get. Similar thoughts lead to sayings like “things come around that go around” or “He/she had it coming to them.” Karma.

But, today’s quote actually begs a different response or point of view. It may be couched in religious terms by changing it to read, “We have no right to ask God, ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’ when bd things happen unless we also thank God for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” It is not karma, it’s God’s will.

For the longest time in my life I was one of those who only turned to God in the bad times, the times that I needed His help. I seldom thanked God for the good things that happened in my life or even recognize the things that didn’t happen because He is with me. It did occur to me to be thankful for the bigger things, perhaps the things that I had prayed fort help with, but the little things, especially the little things that didn’t happen just escaped my notice or thanks.

I don’t recall exactly when I became more aware of those little things, aware enough to thank God for once again saving my bacon, but I do now think more often about the events of the day and how something (karma or God) went right or didn’t happen, when it easily could have gone the other way. I chose to believe that God was with me and watching over me during those events or non-events.

We were told in the Bible – “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15) We were also given free will, which allows us to do both good and evil things. The devil often throws temptation in our path and many succumb to those temptations and wander away from God. But God is always with us, living the back of our minds in what we call our conscience. That small voice that tells us what is right from what is wrong is the voice of God quietly providing guidance.

So, it is really not karma that got us through the events of the day – good or bad – but rather God watching over us. That is why I now look back over each day and see the times when God was there to make something good happen or to save me from something bad by making it not happen. I spend as much time thanking Him for the good as praying for His help with the bad.

What about you? Do you thank God for the good things that happen in your life or the bad things that He saved you from? Do you wait until you are in trouble and need His help? Do you get what you deserve? It is not karma.


Be kind to yourself and others

July 10, 2021

I save a couple of quotes on kindness at different times but they just seem to need to be used together.

“The way to get kindness with(in) yourself is spending time being nice to yourself, spending time getting to know and (dare I say it!) getting to love yourself… Loving yourself helps you love other people.” — Jeffrey Marsh, American writer, activist, and social media personality

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

I’ve posted here a few time about loving yourself and how important it is to get comfortable with yourself and love who you are before you can love others. I’ve also posted about forgiving yourself (maybe being kind to yourself) when you realize that you have done something wrong, rather than beating yourself up. Perhaps that was what Marsh was alluding to in his quote.

We go through life giving and receiving small acts of kindness – maybe it’s opening a door for someone or having someone hold the door open so that you can go though. Perhaps it is just a warm greeting to someone that you don’t know. Did you ever stop and notice how just that small act of kindness can make you feel better, not matter whether you were hold the door open or it was being held open for you. That good feeling is one great benefit of kindness whether given or received.

Kindness is usually exchanged between people and therein may lie its greatest benefit – it requires and encourages social interaction. Man is not naturally a solitary being. Even the most private of us still have a desire to “fit in”, to belong to a group or tribe or whatever we call our social circle. Kindness toward others is a way that we reach out to give a little piece of ourselves, our time or efforts, for the benefit of others – to make them feel good. In the process we can also feel good about ourselves.

In wild animals one can see kindness with social groups by watching the members groom each other or perform other acts of kindness between members. Within the human species, kindness is expressed in al of those little things that we do for each other, even for perfect strangers. Something as simple as a smile as a friendly greeting to someone that you don’t know, makes their day a little better. As Aesop said, that small act of kindness is not wasted.

So, start your day by being kind to yourself, forgive yourself for what ever happened yesterday and resolve to be a better person today by gong out and being kind to others that you may encounter. Maybe, as you say a little prayer in the morning, you will remember the line from the Lord’s Prayer that asks to be forgiven for your trespasses and entreats you to forgive the trespasses of others. Then you can add in this line into your prayers – “Lord, let me love others today as you have loved me.”

Then go out there and be kind today.

 Let me get that door for you!


What do you do with your failures?

July 9, 2021

I really don’t want to write about failures; but, rather, how you react when you have experienced a failure in your life. I found this quote that kind of sets the tone for this post…

I’ve observed that if individuals who prevail in a high competitive environment have any one thing in common besides success, it is failure — and their ability to overcome it.
– Bill Walsh, college and NFL football coach

Failures are an inevitable part of life, unless you never try anything, which would make your life really boring. Some people spend so much time worrying or planning for failure that they actually DO very little. Others develop a fatalistic outlook on life that almost assures the failures that they are confident are about to happen to them.

We don’t have to be highly competitive people in sports or in business to better position ourselves to deal with failures – to overcome them. Overcoming them, by the way, may not always mean continuing to try to do the same thing over an over until you succeed.  Sometimes overcoming a failure means learning and accepting that doing the thing that you failed at is not possible and deciding to try something different or a different approach towards the same goal.

Many people spend a lot of time following a failure trying to find something or someone else to blame. That is basically a denial of personal responsibility for the failure or a way to refuse to accept that the failure happened. Some people retreat into a “poor me” response and try to find comfort in the thoughts that the whole world is somehow against their success. They make up conspiracy theories to explain their failures.

A key word in Walsh’s quote is “prevail”. One dictionary definition of the word prevail, when used as a verb isprove more powerful than opposing forces”.

How does one prevail and prove more powerful than whatever failure the opposing forces have caused? One can begin by not allowing the failure to extinguish hope. Then you can turn that failure into a learning experience that will help guide a future attempt at success. Instead of spending time asking who or what caused this failure, instead ask, “what can I learn from this and what can I do differently in the future to avoid another failure like this one”. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, turn your energy towards planning a better future attempt or perhaps even a different thing to attempt. Doing that requires two things – letting go of the past (the failure) and continued hope for the future.

I’ve posted here a few times about the intertwined impacts of faith and hope in our lives. Whether hope precedes faith or faith is the bedrock upon which hope is built is a debatable topic. I choose to believe that having faith in God allows us to have hope in the face of our trials and failures in life. It is in that moment of surrender to God with the prayer, “not my will but thy will be done”, that hope is rekindled. It is that surety that God is with us that allows us to prove more powerful than opposing forces – to prevail.

So, what do you with your failures? If you take them to God in prayer, you will prevail. After all we have been told in Romans 8:31 – “If God is with us, who can be against us?”

Remember, however, to pray for the right thing: not that God make the challenge facing you disappear (God doesn’t work like that); but, rather, that God be with you and give you the strength and perseverance to prevail.

That’s what you can do to overcome your failures.


Casper or Beetlejuice – which will they see?

July 7, 2021

I think this quote might have  come Pastor Freed’s blog, Jack’s Winning Words, but I’ve had it around for so long that I can’t remember. It just reads like something that he would post.

“Once you are a parent, you’re the ghost of your child’s future.”  (From movie: Interstellar)

There is a series of humorous ads on TV about not becoming your parents and we hear the phrase “Dad jokes” a lot these days. The truth is that parents and what we see them do as we are growing up do have a huge impact on how we turn out. Children watch how their parents act and react and try to emulate them, either consciously or unconsciously. That can be good or bad, depending upon what they see and hear. Will they see the ghost of Casper the Friendly Ghost or Beetlejuice?

Courtesy, kindness, and compassion are all learned responses towards others; however, disdain, hate and prejudices are also learned responses. Which will your children pick up from you? Casper or Beetlejuice?

Many young couples spend a few years together before they have children, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. During that time, they can easily slip into a very self-centered relationship where the lack of responsibilities (and expenses) for anyone else (i.e. children) allows them the freedom to indulge themselves. For them, the arrival of the first child may be a traumatic change in lifestyle. Suddenly, they are not free to come and go as they please or spend on whatever they want. In some cases, the wife’s shift of attention from the husband to the baby causes tension and resentment in the husband. It is life changing, but not life (or marriage) ending. How are you reacting to the baby?  Casper or Beetlejuice?

Once the trauma (and drama) of becoming a parent has passed, it is time to settle down and deal with the responsibilities.  It is not just about providing for the physical wellbeing of the child. It is about the responsibility for their future, for who and what they will grow up to be. It is your role as the ghost of their future. It’s about what will they learn from watching you. Casper or Beetlejuice?

One aspect of life in particular seems to have been lost or at least taken a secondary role in the lives of many parents in the last few generations – religion. Do your children see you taking them to church and Sunday School on Sunday mornings or do they see that sleeping in or that being out at the soccer/baseball/football field is more important?  Do they see you bowing your head in prayer at the dinner table or watching the evening news on TV? Have they ever even seen you lift a Bible, much less read from it? What are they learning about God and religion from watching you? Casper or Beetlejuice?

And what are your actions towards and reactions to other people who are not just like you?  Do they see and hear you being understanding, compassionate and friendly towards people who are of a different color or ethnic group or sexual orientation or do they hear racist or homophobic or ethnic slurs either shouted or under your breath? What do you think they are learning from that ghost? How will that impact their future. Casper or Beetlejuice?

You may be saying, “But, I didn’t choose to be in this role.” Yes, you did, wittingly or unwittingly. It is no longer “All about me”; it is now “All about we.”  Now, it’s time to grow up, show up and own up to your responsibilities. You are now in the spotlight and your performance is being judged and emulated. You are the ghost of your child’s future. Which will it be? Casper or Beetlejuice?


Leave your harbor behind…

July 2, 2021

A quote that I saved a while back inspired me this morning – “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”  – John A. Shedd

We are all “safe” if we let our fears prevent us from ever venturing out of the harbors that we create for ourselves. It is as if we become mimes, trapped in an imaginary glass box of our own making. It may be a place where we feel safe and comfortable, or a job into which we have settled. Perhaps your harbor involves relationships that feel safe for you. For some it is a location that they seldom venture far from. For most it involves the routines that we fall into and the habits that form over time. It is just easier and safer feeling to continue to do the same old things in the same old places with the same old people around us.

The routines of our lives become harbors that we don’t leave. But that feeling of safety comes at a price – our lives become constricted, and we don’t grow. We let our fear of things new or different set boundaries that we do not cross and prevent us from forming new relationships with people whom we fear to meet. Life can get pretty boring in the little harbors that we create for ourselves.

Another quote that I collected, this one the lyrics from the song “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, provides inspiration to leave those safe harbors –

And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through.”

The essence of Shedd’s quote is that ships were meant to sail the seas and not rest peacefully in harbors. Ships are built to withstand the seas – the tossing waves and blowing winds – just as we are “built” to withstand the tests that life through at us. It is up to us to overcome our fears, to test our limits and break through, by breaking out of our safe harbors.

Think a moment of your life and the routines that you have developed. Have you lived in the same place for 10-20 years or more? Do you always go to the same restaurants or stores? When was the last time that you met someone new or made a new friend? Have you even looked lately to see if another job might be a better fit for you? If you are single, when was the last time that you had a date or even tried to?

As you think about things like that and other things in your life that have become routines (safe harbors) ask yourself why. What is holding you back? What do you fear?  Is there really any basis for those fears?

You may reply, “But, I feel comfortable with my routines, why should I change anything?” The simple answer is that this was not what you were made for that is not the purpose of life. I like this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt – “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

One cannot reach out for new experiences from within their safe harbor. You must leave the safety and comfort of the harbor of your routines and try new things, meet new people, have new experiences. Not to do so is not really to live your life. Perhaps you can pray for the courage to leave your harbor. Maybe knowing that you have God at your side will give you the courage to leave your harbor.

Let the words of Dawna Markova inspire you – “I will not die an unlived life…I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise” Maybe Markova could have said “to loosen my heart until it becomes a ship that sails out of the harbor.”

Leave your harbor behind today and reach out for new experiences do new things, go new places, meet new people.

Bon Voyage!


I’ve got to be me. You be you.

July 1, 2021

I get an email each day with quotes from various groups of people and on a variety of topics. I have no idea how I got on that email list, but it does occasionally provide some nice fodder for me to blog about. A recent email from that source contained a bunch of quotes from female entertainers that the email called Divas. A couple of them caught my eye because the message of their quotes is one that I have posted here about in the past – being yourself.

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” – Dolly Parton

“I didn’t need a role model. I didn’t need to try to be like someone else. I just needed to be me.” – Queen Latifah

There were a number of other Diva quotes that reinforced that theme.

One doesn’t have to be a Diva for this to be great advice. All too often we (especially the young) try to be like someone else, thinking that this is the secret to happiness or success. It is actually OK to try to emulate the best qualities of someone that you admire, but too often that is not the focus. Instead young people may just try to replicate the look or mannerisms  of their heroes or role models. They somehow believe that if they have a certain look or act in a certain way they will be more attractive or successful in life. Of course, that never works and instead of increasing their appeal to others it may actually be off-putting. Why? Because they aren’t being themselves. People want to get to know who you are, not who you are pretending to be.

It is much easier to say that from the vantage point of older age than it is when one is young. Growing up can be a confusing time and process. There are few people to turn to for advice or guidance. Parents come to mind, but many times parents are distracted by work or other commitments and don’t pay enough attention to the needs of their own children.  Think of how many times we hear in news story coverage of a tragedy involving a child we hear the parent say, “If only I had paid more attention and recognized the signs of my son/daughter’s depression.”

But, those are worst-caser scenarios. Most kids don’t get that down on themselves that they become depressed, but they do go through the process of “finding themselves” and becoming OK with who they are. That process can be confusing and frustrating for some and for a few it extends well into what is called adulthood. I’ve posted here a few times about loving yourself before you can love others. I think that happens when you come to grips with who you are and decide that it is OK to be you.

It is the step beyond just accepting yourself that Parton was alluding to – the “do it on purpose” step. I think that could be restated as “do it with a purpose.” The step beyond saying “this is who I am” is answering the question, “Now, what am I going to do with who I am?” One does not have to have a huge, lofty set of goals or purposes in life, but it is important to always be working to be better tomorrow than you are today – to be a better person, spouse, child, parent, worker, contributor in life than you are today. Why? Because becoming better each day increases your worth – your worth to yourself and to society. And we all strive to feel more worthy. You don’t increase your worth by trying to be someone else. You just waste your time.

The final Diva quote that I’ll use today is from Beyoncé –

“Don’t try to lessen yourself for the world; let the world catch up to you.”

Think about that for a while. I could label that quote, “Girl, get a little attitude.”

So, I’ll be me and you be you. Let’s both be the best “me” that we can be. Sounds like something Dr. Seuss might have written, doesn’t it?

That’s a worthy pursuit.

 


What are you looking for? What do you see?

June 30, 2021

I collect quotes from a variety of sources for future use in this blog. Many times I will look at my collection of quote and notice that two or more just seem to go together to form a thought or topic for a post. Today’s post is such a case.

I don’t recall exactly where I got this quote from Robert Hunter – “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest places if you look for it.” I know that I got this other quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog where I most often get inspiration. “It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”  – Thoreau

When I put them together in my mind, I come up with seeing the good and positive in things, people and events because that is what you are looking for.  All too often we see the negative side of things because that is what we are looking for. That is a cynical outlook on life, one that stares into darkness from within darkness. It is easy to be drawn into the dark world, so one must work at staying positive by looking for the light – the positive side of things.   

There is a natural threat response built into everyone’s brain that makes us draw back in fear from anything unknown,  unexpected or surprising. We are immediately afraid because we do not understand, we have not had time to think and evaluate what is happening, to assess whether it is really a threat or an opportunity. That is particularly true when we encounter new people, especially people who are not “just like us.”

Think about the last time that you had an encounter with someone that you had never met before – maybe someone with obvious differences from yourself. Did your “shields” go up? Did you smile or stick or your hand or utter a greeting or did you shrink back and avoid eye contact? What caused that reaction? Were you looking for the light or seeing only the darkness? What did you see?

Perhaps we are looking at the people that we encounter in the wrong way and should all heed the advice that we can find in the Bible to look at people in a different way – “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7)

How can see “see” into the heart of the people that we meet? We cannot unless we take the opportunity to talk to them and get to know them. Our knee-jerk defensive tendencies to form quick opinions, mostly negative, based solely upon external appearances, give us no opportunity to look into their hearts and see the real person that is there.

It takes a conscious effort to overcome those negative defensive reactions, so perhaps you can ask God in your prayers to give you give you the courage to take the risk of meeting new people from a positive frame of mind. Maybe looking from that point of view will allow you to see the light that is within them. Certainly, greeting them with a smile and a warm welcome will allow their light to shine brighter. Who knows, you may have just met a new friend.  Try it and see.

What are you looking for? What do you see now?