What Does Your Reaction Say About You?
By: Gary L. Hutchens
As I write this article the 2020 national elections are still one week away. Read that statement again. Election day has not yet arrived! I emphasize this fact to make it clear I am not pointing a finger at voters of any particular political party. You will never see me promote any political party or candidate through bulletin articles I write, and certainly not from the pulpit or class lectern. I am here addressing a situation I’ve been observing generally through much of this year and leading up to this election.
By the time you read this article the votes are pretty much in. I say pretty much because of unique changes in the voting process due to COVID-19. How are you reacting to the results? Are you elated? In despair? Excited? Depressed? Arrogant? Bitter? Angry?…
My real question is, “What Does Your Reaction Say About You?”, as a Christian. Don’t point your finger at others, just examine yourself. Our nation has been literally torn apart this year over a whole host of issues. Emotions surrounding this election has been a contributing factor, but certainly not the only one and probably not even the biggest one.
The pandemic with the resultant deaths, quarantines, lock downs and, to a great extent, shut down of our economy have all been major factors, the ultimate consequences of which we may never be able to fully calculate. And, that reality is still ongoing. Then, the senseless killing of an African American man by a police officer in Minnesota brought long standing social issues to a boiling point, resulting in nation wide peaceful protests, many of which were unfortunately hijacked by individuals bent on violence. Then came the election campaigns and just a few days ago the election itself.
So, how are you reacting, and what does your reaction say about you? Widespread hatred has been evident in our nation; that is indisputable. Are you caught up in hatred, maybe without even realizing it? God loved us when we did not deserve to be loved, so much so that He sent His Son to die on a cross for us (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8). “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 Jn. 4:11).
Are you so angry that you find yourself on the brink of hating someone, or some group of people? “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (Jas. 1:19-20). John wrote, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 Jn. 3:15). Haters will not be in Heaven. Some people deny hating, but their words and actions say differently. As Christians we’re supposed be shining lights, helping people find salvation in Christ (Matt. 5:16). Hatred in our hearts extinguishes our Christian light.
In this world we are continually confronted by all kinds of provocations. But we are supposed to be examples of facing provocation with the love of God. Think about this lesson from our Lord: “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…But love your enemies, do good…and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil…Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Lk. 6:32-37).
Hatred breeds hatred. Let’s not carelessly, by our actions, influence others to hate, thereby leading to our eternal condemnation and theirs. So, where’s your head? Where’s your heart? Is Christ shining through you right now? What Does Your Reaction Say About You?…
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Gary L. Hutchens