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Footsteps to Follow: May it be so

Jesus said to us: “Come to me all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest” (Matthew 11:28-29 GNT).

A short time ago, a young woman approached me in tears as she lamented the state of our nation and our world. Her desire in life has always been to be kind, helpful, and loving to all of God’s children.

But her faith in God has been shaken as she has watched how disrespectful and even hateful we have become towards one another. Her distrust of God has increased as she has seen people supposedly in the name of God bully and tear down others.

She has grown more fearful of the hate groups who have become so emboldened that they even attacked our very own capitol building on January 6, 2021.

She also can not believe that Putin in his war against Ukraine is claiming to be doing all the evil he is doing with God’s blessing.

“How can all of this be?” she lamented. “It’s so hard to believe God exists!”

It saddens me immensely that these anomalies are so pervasive in our world today. It is as if the devil has taken the lid off of hatred, lying, and bullying in our churches, communities, nation, and world. Far too many groups claiming to be “of God” are spreading the devil’s gospel of hate, discord, disrespect and division.

As I stood before this kind but hurting child of God, I begged her not to accept the lying, bigotry and hatred that is being spewed throughout our nation and world as if it were coming from God. I asked her instead to remember to celebrate and live the gift of God’s love for her and all of God’s children.

I plead with each of us who are reading this to reflect upon our hearts, our words, and our actions.

Are we allowing the sickness and evil of this world to lead us to join in the bullying, the hate, and the hurt? Or are we seeking the hand and strength of God to be lifted above this quagmire of such disgraceful behavior? Are we choosing instead to follow the direction of Jesus to love one another, including ourselves and those far different from ourselves, as Jesus chooses to love each one of us?

May it be so. To overcome the evil, lying, hate, disrespect, and division in our world, the Church must turn to the light of God and the pure love of Jesus.

Yes, may it be so. May we stop living in and being dragged into hate and disrespect, and instead may we be lifted up in and point others to the light and hope of Jesus. May we follow in His footsteps of kindness, acceptance, and love.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).

Pastor Bob Wallace, retired United Methodist Pastor

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