Stand tall and shine a light

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, January 28, 2021

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After writing a column that addressed the Capitol riots, I was shocked by the responses of a few.  I was amazed how many read between the lines, deemed it politically biased, and defended the actions of the assault.  

Readers wrote, “You’re an idiot!” and another, “You better watch yourself when you go outside!” Strangers who never met me sending threatening and demeaning insults they probably would never say to my face but felt it necessary to bully behind the computer.  

Fortunately, I have only received a handful of those hateful responses through the years. I cannot imagine how people in the public eye feel who receive this type of messaging continuously.  Boy, they must have thick skins! Personally, I wanted to climb into a closet, throw away my keyboard, and shrink into quiet oblivion. 

In the darkness of my safety, I prayed, “God, I do not understand why or how people become so full of malice they lose sight of decency, respect, and you.  

Are they going to win the battle of good vs. evil after all?  Where are the bands of compassion, the marches for kindness, the voices of reason? Why do we seem to always succumb to the bullies in the world? Their numbers are many, and their legions are strong. 

 I am so sorry, but my heart is not courageous enough for the battle.” 

Just as I was ready to throw the computer out my window, a ray of sunlight illuminated the Bible lying atop my printer.  I leafed through it and found a passage that stood out.  “Don’t let evil get the upper hand but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:21.

It was then I decided, “Nope, Sir, the bullies who spread rage and evil are not going to win!” An unseen hand provided me a bit of armor to cover my thin skin.  

The good and kind people of our nation must rise to challenge the bitter hatred which permeates our society and for many reasons.  Whether we disagree on politics or religion or which ice cream is the best, there is no use for sinister words or violent actions.  

A friend who knew I was ready to retreat into my dark chamber of gloom sent me a wonderful message.  

“We live in a world of many differing opinions on many issues.  We must always remember that in dealing with those whom we disagree, that our goal should be to draw others closer to Christ rather than our opinions.”

A woman was in Publix last week, waiting to receive her COVID vaccine along with other folks who were over 65.  A man walked by without wearing a mask.  

She kindly said, “Sir, did you forget your mask? I have an extra one if you like.”  

 He snarled, “No, that virus is just a hoax!”  He strolled carelessly through the senior citizens who were doing their part to stop this insidious disease and its countless mutations.

Today, I would have followed him and gently said, “Sir, just so you know, the earth is flat, be careful, so you don’t fall off.”  

Usually, when we search for truth and use our common sense, we will not fall.   Selfishness reaps nothing, while concern for others grows goodwill. 

The quiet, considerate people who believe in peace more than discord must be heard. Those who believe in healing and desire to help those in need should rise. 

 Those who are called to stop the hate, who pray for all humanity to survive a pandemic, who heed our better calling, please stand tall and not fear.

To rid ourselves of our destructive anger, here are a few simple suggestions we could work on: 

1. Put God first plus read and implement his words.

2. Quit watching opinion news 24/7 and instead try taking walks, relishing the scenery, and breathing in life. 

3. Find a hobby you enjoy and do it; use no excuses. 

4. Create something to give away or offer your time to those in need. 

5. Pass a kindness to someone every single day. 

6. Do not spread errant information without checking the facts. 

7. Pray for our country and all its leaders, not just the ones you like.

8. Teach your children the joy obtained from kindness by your example, for that is how you procure their future.

9. Never let cynicism reign over hope.

10. Embrace peace.

I know it is hard to execute change, plus defending goodness takes effort.   However, we are the hands of God, and it is our charge to pull back the curtain so that others find faith and glory in Him.  

“Turn away from evil and do good.  Seek peace and pursue it.”  Psalm 34:14 

When we do, our light will dispel the darkness.