It’s all in how you look at it

Published 9:23am Thursday, July 25, 2013

By Jonathan Yarboro
Greetings from the corner of Bridge and Bridge! As Jack DeVenney used to say, “The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my windshield’s dirty!” That expression kind of covers it, don’t you think?
It has been an interesting week in these great United States. There has been a lot of conversation this week about human behavior. Most of it has centered on the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial. There has been other polarizing news as well.
I call it polarizing news because the discussion the news fosters tends to result in the taking of sides. In the Zimmerman case, the two main sides are rights to personal protection versus civil rights. Both sides are “standing their ground.” They are simply doing it for different reasons and with differing motives.
Is there another way to talk about these kinds of tragic events when they happen? Is it possible to have open, honest discussion about human fallibility without feeling the need to take a side?
I have been pondering, studying and wrestling with these question for several years. I haven’t found any answers, but I have learned a few things.
First, I have learned that we as a society are becoming increasingly wary of face to face communication. Most of us rely heavily on electronic communication, which is actually a very good thing as far as efficiency goes, but it has limits. It is impossible to have a serious conversation with anyone else via email, twitter, text or Facebook.
Second, we as people seem to have forgotten that we do not all experience things the same way. Human beings are naturally meaning makers, so it comes as no surprise that our minds spend a great deal of time and energy trying to make sense of things.
Again, this is not a bad thing, but it does not give any of us license to assume our way of thinking is the right way for someone else.
Third, few of us have the desire to intentionally hurt other’s feelings or start a fight. It is more productive for the whole when individuals work to be civil to one another, regardless of position or ideology.
The problem is that some of us are civil in appearance only. Behind the scenes, we are petty, manipulative, destructive and outright mean.
This is nothing new, friends. According to the Bible, God’s human creation has been behaving this way since the very beginning. Human beings regularly ignore God’s call to care for one another, to embrace difference and in all things to be rooted in the love of God. Some things never change.
So why bother? If nothing changes, what is the point? The word of God helps us answer these questions. God regularly sends the message to the whole of humanity, “Fear not; follow me; your faith will deliver you.” The power of God’s redemptive love cannot be bested.
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman have at least two things in common. First, both are children of God. Second, allowing fear to lead them forever changed their lives.
Whenever you and I allow ourselves to be rooted in our fears, real or imagined, lives are destroyed. Whenever we keep our fears in check by rooting them in God’s grace, lives are redeemed. It’s all in how you look at it. Think about it.

The Rev. Jonathan Yarboro is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka.

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