By: Ginger Hughes
Some days I read the top news stories and other days I skim the headlines; however, the outcome is often the same. I see negativity, discord, and division. It seems no matter the topic, from politics to sports and everything in between, our opinions are so dogmatic we no longer listen to anyone else. We no longer open our ears or our hearts to any way other than our way, to any thoughts other than our thoughts.
A few days ago, my husband left for work, and the television was left on a popular sports show. Two men were discussing a particular player’s stats and whether he was indeed one of the best in his sport or not. I was in the kitchen, and my little boy was playing on the floor when I heard the exchange begin to get louder and more intense. I walked to the living room and watched while these men heatedly argued their opinions of this player, complete with one man pounding his fist on the desk.
I stood there for a few seconds before turning off the television, wondering in disbelief why we can’t seem to have a civil conversation about anything these days…including, or maybe especially, sports.
Watch the news, read the paper, or drive down the highway to horn blowing and finger-pointing and you experience it. Scroll social media and you see it. Nasty and mean-spirited comments fill the pages, each person thinking their belief or opinion is better or more important than others. And sadly, we even see it in the church at times amongst the family of believers.
Division, unkindness, selfishness, and loss of self-control are so prevalent these days. It’s sad to me that we can’t do better than this. Rather, it’s sad to me that we “choose” not to do better than this. Because kindness, manners, and decency are choices.
This morning I was reading in the 12th chapter of Romans when the heading for the upcoming verses caught my attention. “Love in Action” was the title, and rather than continue where I was reading my gaze skipped down to begin reading this section instead, beginning with verses nine and ten. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (vs. 14-16) Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. (vs 18) If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
I don’t know about you, but as I read these verses, I feel a sense of conviction as I wonder if I am living up to the calling as a believer to love one another. It’s a high calling for sure, and interestingly enough you may notice that not one verse here speaks to our feelings. It doesn’t ask us to feel loving toward another person, it commands us to ACT in love toward another person. It instructs us to “live in harmony with one another and to live in peace with everyone.”
This is a bold request and a huge expectation. Nevertheless, this is the calling.
We can’t change all of the hate we see in this world, nor the division, nor the constant turmoil. But we can change ourselves. We can change our heart. And when we change ourselves, it often has a ripple effect on our children, our grandchildren, our friends, and perhaps even our neighbors. On second thought, perhaps we can promote change in this world. But rather than looking for “them” to change, we must first look at ourselves. Are we acting in love towards others?
Let’s create a world where love prevails. And may it begin with me.
-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.