*I took a few weeks off from writing my column at the beginning of 2021 to catch my breath and had actually planned to be out another week, yet with the newly added chaos in our country, I felt the need to write this opinion piece. Like many of you, I just don’t know what to think about the world lately. It’s coming at us from all sides and everyone feels helpless. — thanks for hanging in there. I’ll be back to lighthearted distractions next week — let’s hope.
Maybe it’s time for repentance
“Go say you’re sorry. Nothing will change until you apologize.” That’s what we heard as children, and perhaps it’s a lesson we need to revisit as we move into 2021.
We’ve spent the last year seeking solutions to terrible problems, but so far, no vaccine, politician, or celebrity has made a difference.
Prayers begging for help have been plentiful. “Help us, God.” “Have mercy on us.” “Help – help – help!” Yet we haven’t given much attention to the possibility of saying, “God, we’ve been wrong. Forgive us.”
Wrong? Me? For what? I wear my mask and vote for “good people.” I don’t destroy public property or burn private businesses. I never shot anyone, and I sent school supplies to the teachers and flashed my headlights for nurses in the hospital parking lot.” I even put a sign in my yard that said, “peace,” therefore, I’m good. I’ve done nothing wrong.
The problem is, liberal or conservative, old, young, rich or poor — everyone thinks they’re “good.”
“Repent” is a harsh word, stirring images of an angry red-faced man banging the pulpit with one fist and pointing at us with his other hand while screaming, “Repent!” But actually, the act of repenting is a gentle, fatherly way of saying, “turn around my child. Avoid trouble and go the other way.”
Maybe Godly Americans from all walks of life need to ask God to forgive them for going along with the crowd and forgetting that we’re chosen and set apart. We haven’t been a good example to others and have stayed silent as society deteriorated and crumbled into a mess.
When prayer was banned from public places, we shook our heads but didn’t want to get involved. We sat lazily by and allowed worldly TV and video games to entertain and educate our children. Bibles, once the centerpiece of the home, were moved to a dusty shelf. Taking our children to church became something only our grandparents did because we live in a fast-paced world where work, sports and vacations took precedence.
When the teenager down the street became pregnant, we didn’t offer help, but were quick to pick up the phone and gossip. We ignored the widows and orphans because we were busy, and suddenly, we no longer looked or acted differently than anyone else. We owe God an apology for blending in, instead of standing apart.
We shake our heads at the bad behavior of people we see in the news yet perhaps it’s the so-called Godly people who’ve let America down.
We’re held to a higher standard and should know better. We’re supposed to bring light to a dark world and hope to the hopeless. Although we present a good face when it comes to wearing an “I voted” sticker or donating blood — have we boldly voiced our concern when our schools, government and sadly, even our churches were making ungodly decisions?
Without banging his fist or shaking his finger, my pastor gently reminds me that I can do better. I leave church inspired and challenged, and maybe that’s what Americans of all political sides need to hear right now . . . we can do better, and maybe it should begin with the uncomfortable, yet necessary act of repentance.
This story first appeared in Advance Publication Newspapers.