Monday, June 11, 2018

Thinking Before You Speak

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God."
I opened my Bible app this morning and this popped up as the verse of the day. 
I've usually seen it quoted out of context and it's been meaningful to me: Be still. Be calm. Let God be God. 

But when you read the Psalm in its entirety, this verse has a different meaning: 
"Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolation he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:8-11)
"Be still" actually means: "Stop! Put down your weapons." 
God makes wars cease. Got wants us to stop fighting. 

While I wish we would take this literally in the political realm I also think it is powerful in our personal lives. "Stop! Put down your weapons." Before you blame someone for something. Before you make assumptions about their intentions. Before you criticize them for their actions: Stop. Take a moment to think. Cool down. Don't let your feelings get the best of you. We've all seen situations escalate and get ugly because people tried to solve them while they were angry. Step away. Get some perspective. Look at your own part in the situation. And then come back, calmly, openly, with compassion, and say what you need to say. 

The same is true for social media: Think before you type. Reflect before you rant. Once it's out there it cannot be taken back. 

And, before you say anything, here's a helpful acronym:
T - is it True?
H - is it Helpful?
I - is it Inspiring?
N - is it Necessary?
K - is it Kind? 

If the answer to any of them is "no" you might be wiser not to speak. 

May God help us to stop and think. May God help us to be peacemakers in this war torn world.

Monday, June 4, 2018

With You Always

Our little town of Northborough was shaken by some serious events this week: A threat of a shooting at the local high school, and a fire in the center of town.
We give thanks to God that nobody was injured and further damage was prevented.
But the effects on people's sense of safety cannot yet be measured.
What do we do to keep our children safe, and everyone who works in schools: the teachers, staff and administration? 
I think of students who graduated high school and college. They have every reason to celebrate but they also look ahead to the next, big and somewhat intimidating step. 
Families are getting ready to move, people growing older are thinking of downsizing from their beloved home to a smaller place. 

Jesus says, "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus also says, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:34)
God will take care of tomorrow. While this doesn't free us from responsibility - we still need to work towards becoming a safe community. We still need to protect those who are most vulnerable and care for those who need us. But we don't need to succumb to anxiety, worry and fear. God is with us always. God will carry us through. 
It's hard to trust that in the face of everything that's been happening in our world. But what have we got to lose? 
May Jesus' promise make your breathing a little easier and your day a little brighter: "I am with you always, to the end of the age."