GENDUSA COLUMN: Planting a Garden of Wisdom

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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After being asked by a friend how I separate my political beliefs from my faith, I answered, “I don’t.” I am always puzzled by how Godly folks participate in the uncivil rants we hear daily from our backyards, through our internet, and up to the halls of Congress. Lack of consideration, compassion, and civility has rocked America into numbness.

We wonder why the sanctity of life is seemingly waning, wrath is rising, and why our church pews are emptying. Could it be because we are too busy pointing fingers?  We blame Democrats, Republicans, or any race we are not a member of, and yet, we can’t see the problem could be our insight. 

We have become a nation of opinions, objections and conspiracies that we pass around like salt on the table to rub into wounds.  

Conversing with anyone about any topic is often challenging without it becoming political. Social media, news outlets and extremist groups have become a lightning rod for people to set fire to civility. Our children and grandchildren read and listen to every malicious word spilled in the name of politics, but we expect them to grow into kind, considerate and flourishing human beings.

Hypocrisy is reaching epidemic proportions, and those who believe that faith and our political behavior should not be connected might want to read the words of God. 

“By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John: 13:35

We all have disagreements over policies, and who we should vote for or against, but when it becomes the focus of our lives, we lose sight of the only leader that can correct and heal us. We are no longer disciples when we choose rage over reason, division over discussion, stubbornness over compromise, and bullying over empathy. 

We should not call others’ names, degrade, mock, slander, or openly spread hatred. If we do, are we following the example set before us by God himself? 

Grandpa, my grandmother, taught me long ago that God sees no one as different, but he clearly notices those who do. She also said, “Be careful, for the Lord hears your prayers, but he also listens to your vitriol.” 

We are blessed to live in a country with the freedom to shout, scream, and pen offensive, destructive statements, but do we not realize the damage and turmoil caused by our inconsideration when we do? Our constitutional rights should never outweigh God’s words and instructions.  

How do we teach children kindness, politeness, and honor if we lack the wisdom to be civil?

The other day, a fourteen-year-old girl committed suicide because her peers continually physically beat and bullied her. Where did those children who pushed her to death learn such awful behavior? Where do the anger and hostility come from? Is it from imitating the bullying parent, the mocking politician, or the hateful rhetoric spread on social media?  No more children should die because of errant leaders and enraged folks.

We all believe our opinions are correct, but we are wrong if we use our views as weapons against others. We watch Congress act like impish children, and when they do, are they representing the majority? I doubt many of us got away with disrespecting others when we were young. So what makes it acceptable today as adults? 

Being passionate about anything we strongly believe in is acceptable, but not to the point that we anger our Heavenly Father. Remember, he can still put us in a corner if we turn our passion into arrogance.  

Folks, this life is a short run, and our country needs all of us to run a clean race, spread the good word, and remember that God is our Coach, pushing us to the finish line. If we believe in the Almighty, we must heed his words and not rely on our oft-foolish intelligence.

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, arrogance, and perverse speech.” Proverbs 8:13.

If we want crime, suicide, and murders to lessen, we must find ways to temper the ire. We will not become a better nation without putting God in our conversations and becoming more suitable disciples.  Faith in God and America should blend together to encourage acceptance, growth, compromise, respect and integrity. The only way to make that happen is to plant a garden of wisdom in our backyards. 

“How can men be wise? The only way to begin is by reverence for God. For growth in wisdom comes from obeying his laws.” Psalm 111:10