How we respond matters

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By Pam Horton

Our country is in turmoil, and how we respond matters. Do we remain silent? To do so condones the actions of others on both sides of the issue.

Do we respond with righteous anger to prove our point? Certainly, God did.

Of course, we all know the story of Noah and the flood. God became so angry with the way humanity was misbehaving that He wiped them all out, except for Noah and his family. Thankfully He promised never to do that again, and to set a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of the event and His promise (Genesis 9:17).

When the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah became so filled with sin, God destroyed them. Genesis 19:24-25 tell us, “Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus, He overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land” (NIV).

In the book of Numbers, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram started accusing Moses and Aaron of thinking they were better than everyone else. When the Lord heard of it, He called them out of the crowd and the earth opened and swallowed not only the men, but all their family members, too (Numbers 16:31-32).

These were Old Testament times, but even in the New Testament we read about Ananias and Sapphira, who were told to sell their belongings and give the money to the church community. Everyone had been directed to do the same thing, but this couple held back some of the profit. They did not give it all. God saw this and had Peter call them out, one at a time, and in front of Peter, God struck them dead (Acts 5: 1-10).

I believe, as Christians, we must follow Jesus’s example. He was not silent, but He did not strike people down. The only place I read in the Bible where Jesus got physically angry was in the temple, when He turned over the tables of the moneychangers. Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15-18, and John 2:13-16 all tell of this story. Who are we to judge God, or to know what Jesus was thinking when He was so angry?

All other confrontations Jesus had, mostly with the Pharisees and Sadducees, were peaceful confrontations—heated at times, but still peaceful. Jesus wasn’t afraid to call out a misbehavior or wrong attitude, but He did it calmly. He told many parables to the disciples and the crowds to help them understand the difference between right thinking (Godly thinking) and wrong thinking (worldly thinking).

Action follows thought. If we can keep our thoughts on the grace of God, our actions will be Godly. Our thoughts come from our heart.

That is the real question: Is our heart right? If we have a heart filled with the love of Jesus, our thoughts and actions will prove that. What flows from the heart should be the fruit of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22 NIV).

You see, it matters how we as Christians respond. Will we show ourselves as vengeful? It is written in Romans 12:19, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (NKJV). It is not for us to take matters into our own hands.

Will we act with the grace of God, showing the fruits of the spirit? That would be my hope. May we be the good (Godly) example others follow. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35 NIV).

Horton grew up believing in Jesus. As a teenager and young adult, she turned away from her faith for a few years. Once she came around to understand that it’s not about religion, but a relationship, she began a never-ending quest to grow closer to God. Through this process, she has learned to stress less and choose joy. She has published seven non-fiction books that are available through Amazon. She has also written articles for the Military Counseling Initiative and Youth Worker, as well as being featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandparents. She and her husband, Jim, own NewDirection Life Coaching, where they encourage others to move positively forward.

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  • Candice Brown on

    Amen! The world is watching. Our response can draw or repel seekers, as we bear the name of Jesus. (CHRISTians.) I long to love like him!

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