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December 11 Advent Devotion

Acts 2:37-42

In touch with the ‘right’ person

Calendar year 2017 knocked the starch out of some of us — and it’s still going.

But that’s often the case, when you examine what we all go through on an annual basis: birth, death, sickness, marriage, divorce, job loss, finding the right home. Even the good stuff can be stressful.

Some have trouble handling the political landscape as it has been redefined by the president we elected 13 months ago. Others have pain and suffering or faced financial setbacks or family difficulties.

I fit in with the first group above. Not that I’m alone, but I’ve not handled things as well as I could have. Perhaps I’ve not spent as much time as some on Facebook giving ugly names to people who voted differently. But I can’t claim innocence about yelling at the television with language that could’ve gotten me fired if I’d written it in a newspaper in my earlier life.

Another thing I do is become angry or disappointed with people who I feel “should know better.” Rather judgmental of me, isn’t it? I’m not alone here, either. People “on both sides of the aisle” have been guilty of “thinking for” friends or family. Some of us have been wise enough to keep our mouths shut when we gather with family or friends.

My wife Nancy and I attended my class reunion recently. The organizers thought it would be fun to “go back in time” and say the pledge of allegiance and sing the national anthem. After we finished, I told Ted, a fellow Democrat, that we should have taken a knee to make fun of President Trump’s effort to make the NFL players’ protest of unfair treatment of blacks by police into a thing about the flag and anthem. He said, “I thought about that, too, but I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get back up.”

The Acts passage above tells us that despite our sins we should repent, accept Jesus’ teachings, join in fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Too often, we get upset, then enter into political jousting without considering prayer.

During Nancy’s stay at Baptist hospital earlier this year, I walked miles between the 10th floor and parking garage. On one trip, I saw a woman I worked with at the Benton newspaper 13 years ago. She has a son now and writes a blog about motherhood. In a recent post, she wrote that we often disagree online with friends and others. But she noted that trouble can develop when we make it about us or how someone’s comments affect us. She said it’s not really important that we spend the time online spouting our opinions, but likely we would do better if we spent it praying. That sounds right to me.

–Mike Dougherty

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