“Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you.” (Deuteronomy 6:18 NIV)
We are, each one of us, on our own individual path, and we take (or should take) responsibility for our own lives, how we live them and how we respond to that which we expose ourselves to.
For instance, I realized that when I exposed myself to negative media, it made me feel bad. One day, I decided I was no longer going to subject myself to feeling bad about someone else’s life. If I’m going to feel bad, it’s going to be about whatever is happening to me.
So, I went on a media hiatus, and stopped exposing myself to negative news. That was the first step. I immediately started to feel better. Then I really went all out there and started looking for good news. Believe it, or not, I was able to find sources for good news via the Good News Network, Sunny Skys, and Daily Good dot Org.
And for me, this was an excellent way for me to “do what is right and good.” Just by making that little tweak, the world became a much better place, and things began to go very well for me.
Then a friend of mine posted on facebook, “The world is such an evil place, there’s nothing but bad news every time I watch the news.” I thought my media hiatus might be just what the doctor ordered for my friend, whom I’d noticed does seem to be depressed a good deal of the time.
When I suggested that not exposing yourself to the news, particularly bad news, at all might be a better way to live a better life, you can already guess what happened; right?
I received a flaming response, accusing me of burying my head in the sand, and lacking in social responsibility, among other accusations.
It appears that in today’s socially respectable day and age, it is the duty of every American to subject themselves to a constant barrage of negative news from around the world. Elsewise, you are an ignoramus and a failure as an American, or possibly even a human being.
And, yes, my friend is also a believer.
I applaud everyone’s right to find their own way, so I support this person’s point of view, because they are passionate about their perspective, I love their position even more, as it applies to them.
But what works for one person, may not work for the next. I can certainly stand behind your opinion and defend your right to have it, if I chose a different point of view for myself in this moment.
It is upon each of us to determine what is right in the Lord’s sight for each of us. For me, my ministry is focused on planting and nurturing good seed, so it makes much more sense to create an environment that supports the work that I do.
For someone else, whose ministry is that of an advocate, political or spiritual warrior, they must remain focused on the news regarding victims, or the plight of others who are treated unjustly or unfairly, as they help make a stand against the darkness.
You see, there is no right or wrong in this issue of exposing one’s self to negative media. It’s up to you to decide what works for you, but you do not have the right to impose your view on another person or to berate someone else because they have a different opinion.
I know what it’s like to be passionate about what you believe in. When I first started serving in the ministry, I was very excited about my newfound beliefs, and I wanted to share it with everyone I could. What’s more is that I wanted to convince these people to understand and see things from my perspective, because I felt that this was the right thing to do.
So, in an attempt to persuade people to adopt my beliefs, I took up Christian debate, and I could logically interact with people, and brow beat them enough, that if they chose not to believe, like I did, sorrowfully, they had to concede they were going to hell. (Okay, I’m exaggerating, a bit. I know.)
But what I learned from my early experience in the ministry is this:
No one was ever converted by debate.
Oh, sure, you might be able to guilt someone into reciting the sinner’s prayer, but their experience would be shallow and not long lasting. Or maybe someone would do it, just so you’d go away and leave them alone.
A few years later, I discovered what does resonate with people, and it’s not how well you can recite scripture. Nor is it how well you can explain the deeper mysteries, or hidden facts within the smallest details of the bible.
No, what really resonates with everyone is love. That’s it. It’s that easy.
Love is what God is all about, and you are free to discover how that plays out in your life and how you are integrated with God’s love and the vibration of frequency which accompanies God’s love.
And you are invited to come and hang out with us in this loving vibration, if you like. If you come to appoint where this love vibration no longer serves you, feel free to move on.
Where we gather, you will find love. You will not find a platform to argue, because we will not enter into a debate with you. We honor your perspective and your right to it, and we can still hang with each other in God’s presence for as long as you like.
There is no judgment here, only love.
One day, we will all awaken and realize that we are all love, and that love is all there is. Everything else is an illusion. And some of us will enjoy the truth of love, as it is, here, on earth.
~ Rev. David M, St. Paul’s Free Church