This post was going to be about music. That will have to wait, because WOW did I get sidetracked today!
Today marks five years since I survived an unprovoked acute pulmonary embolism. Although there is much to celebrate considering survival rates and risk factors surrounding my situation, that is not my focus here. As I have for the last 4 years, I set out this morning to find an informative graphic to post on social media as my own personal Pulmonary Embolism Awareness Day. (Seriously, know the signs - save a life!) Anyway, during my search, I came across this graphic:
My first instinctive response was, “Heck yes! I am a PE survivor. I kicked that PE’s butt. HooYa!”
But then…. Wait. That is stupid. I am no theologian and may very well be wrong about all of this, but I call malarkey. This meme is telling me to talk to the devil and claim to be a storm.
I am not the storm. The storm is (whatever is currently) the calamity in our lives, in my case on this day five years ago - a life threatening health event that tested my faith. These tests in our lives make us wonder - did the devil cause this and did God allow this to happen? I can speculate what spiritual warfare was going on or why me, etc, but being five years out and looking back, the storm had one major benefit: It did strengthen my faith. I was scared; I turned to God. He has comforted and strengthened me. So, no, I am not the storm. I want to praise Him in the storm. (https://youtu.be/0YUGwUgBvTU) Further, what if I had not survived the PE? I would certainly not want my family to suffer and blame God - or to think my faith wasn’t strong enough to save myself. I really do not think that is how it works. There is sin and calamity in the world, and I have no control over it. For my comfort and sanity, I work everyday to try to strengthen my faith, so that I can be strong in the Lord for the next storm, whatever the outcome. (Luke 8:22-25)
Next, if the devil was whispering in my ear, I’d be praying to God in the name of Jesus - not engaging in conversation with the enemy! I have no authority over the devil, but I do have protection through the authority of Jesus and the power of His name.
Although I appreciate the intention of the original author, whoever that might be, his meme is just silliness.
Here is a more appropriate PE graphic to celebrate today:
I saw this on a friend's social media timeline recently:
It made me laugh, I’ll admit that. It also made me ponder the duplicity of human personalities. Or am I wrong? Are there humans out there (who are being honest with themselves) who do not have opposing thoughts on similar topics from time to time?
Using the example above, some days I barely notice or care if someone else is using their turn signal or not.
Other days it irks me beyond reason.
The difference? Usually, it is due to my own patience meter: my mood, my circumstance, my level of busyness, my lateness, my poor planning, my current pain level (physical or emotional), etc.
Do I always use my turn signal? I think I do. I try to. I am not perfect. Stop judging me.
Oh. Hmmm. What if, despite my honest attempts to follow traffic laws of all sorts (including signal use)... What if I am the miscreant? When I turn it around like that, it feels different. If someone were to drive past me and flick me off or yell mean things pertaining to my use or non-use of my turn signal, how would I react?
I guess it depends on if I felt I was in the wrong or not. Was I behaving badly? Do I deserve a good telling off? Is it even the other driver’s obligation to notify me that they believe I am a bad driver?
There are so many situations where we are put into a similar position to react (or not react) to others’ (in our opinion) “bad” behavior. There are moral judgments being made all the time, all around you (and probably about you). These public evaluations of the rightness or wrongness of others’ behavior - are they a societal necessity?
I do sometimes find it difficult to restrain in commenting (whether silently or not) on (what I perceive as) bad behavior of other adults. Someone offends me - with words, on the road, with their beliefs, etc.... How do I react? Is it my first human instinct to be defensive and react rudely? Pass the blame?
I don’t always have the restraint I need at the time I need it. I know how I should respond.
I should exercise patience, kindness, and forgiveness, but sometimes I cannot help thinking...
Now, can I justify this line of thinking as a Christian? No. If I say more, I am trying to excuse myself. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop me from occasional jerkiness. I am reminded of this quote from a classic:
“There is no religion without love,
and people may talk as much as
they like about their religion, but
if it does not teach them to be good
and kind to man and beast,
it is all a sham.”
― Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
I have to admit it is difficult to not misrepresent Christianity with my reactive behaviors in regard to other people’s (what I feel) bad behavior. There needs to be a general understanding that humans are all sinners, Christians included. We all have behaved badly at some point, right? As a Christian, it is my daily objective to not willfully continue in sin.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we do not have any sin, we are deceiving ourselves and we’re not being truthful to ourselves.
Proverbs 24:16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
Does this mean that I indeed conform to the moral norms I am so eagerly inclined to enforce in others?
(gulp) Ok I will try. No promises, but consider me a work in progress.
So, when is it ok to comment and react to other humans behaving badly? (I am talking about strangers, here… people driving in cars, shopping in stores, posting on the Internet --- but you do not know them.)
I don’t know. What do you think? I will lean towards an answer such as, “It depends.” I am pretty sure that is not the right answer, though.
Things I try to remember when strangers make me angry or frustrated, etc.:
The sagacity here: Keep yourself in-check. Let God deal with the others.
I am Susan. This space holds my own ponderings and observations.