2016 was a bumpy year for a lot of people. The election cycle was brutal, and both Democrats and Republicans feel betrayed by their political parties and by their fellow Americans. The news said that a greater number of people feel like our country is moving in the wrong direction, and we fear for our country. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately that people are afraid and pessimistic. I challenge everybody to stop and take a really big breath right now, and I ask you who is in charge of the fate of our great nation? Who decides where America goes and how long it takes her to get there? Stop with the flip answers and really think about my questions for a second.
The United States of America was founded by our forefathers as a covenant nation. The only other nation ever founded as a covenant nation was Israel. For most of us, that covenant was made with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but it doesn’t matter what you call your higher power just take a minute to consider that our nation was founded to glorify a higher power. What does that mean to you? For most Christians it means being the hands and foot of Jesus by spreading unconditional love and trying to bring the kingdom of Heaven into existence on earth. It means not judging your fellow man and simply loving them and showing them the love of Jesus through your actions. It means being a positive influence wherever you go. It means putting others needs before your own needs. It means not casting your jaundiced eye upon the motives of others. In other words, it’s really, really hard because we’ve all been battered by life and betrayed by other people. We’ve all made bad decisions and had to live with the consequences. It’s hard to be positive when life keeps dragging you down.
Did you see the picture of my rose on this post? It’s a Joseph’s coat of many colors rose. To make a long story short, Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and concocted a plan to kill him. One brother couldn’t do it, and he sold Joseph into slavery. Years later Joseph was in a position of power, even though he was a slave, and he was able to help his brothers get food during a killing drought. Joseph could have been bitter, and he could have killed all of his brothers with his bitterness. But, he didn’t. He forgave them and helped them even though they even said they didn’t deserve it.
God puts us where we need to be when we need to be there. Do something radical in 2017. Offer forgiveness to those who have wronged you even if they don’t deserve it. You’ll feel better because you will no longer feel the weight of the wrong that they have given you. Forgiveness is a gift better given than received. You’ll feel just as good as they do, and God has a reason that you are where you are. It might take you a while to figure it out, or you may never figure it out. However, the grace that you show weathering your storm may be the light that someone else needs to see. Continue to let your positive light shine forth. Joseph probably had no idea why his brothers hated him and sold him into slavery, but years later he was able to save his entire families life. Your situation may not be as dramatic as Joseph’s situation, but your positive love that you show someone in diversity may make all of the difference to them. So be a radical, and forgive. I know it’s easier said than done, but practice makes perfect.