There is a lot of attention being paid now to where the presidential candidates stand on controversial issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and the rights of trans-gender people (particularly where public facilities and businesses are concerned.) I don’t like to get involved with controversial issues but this much I will say: You can not enact laws that will change a person’s heart. Laws can be enacted to try to control certain behavior and punish those who violate the laws, but laws do nothing to further the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus came to earth…to demonstrate particularly to the religious leaders, then and now, that laws are not the way to do it.
The ONLY way to change behavior in others is to change the heart in them and that is done best by changing your own behavior:
1) Set an example. I don’t mean just “Do unto Others, ” I mean to show other people what love looks like. Let family and friends…even strangers..see you forgiving a rude customer or an enraged driver. Let them hear you say you forgive your parents for whatever and why. Let them see you help a homeless person by giving them some water, a raincoat, a smile, and a kind word. You don’t have to draw attention to it; the people around you will see it; and the less fuss you make, the more powerful the impression will be, and the more healing and blessing you will receive.
Some people need to know what love feels like with a hug, a hand shake, a kind word, a warm coat…or smells like by helping a disabled neighbor clean her home…or tastes like by cooking them comfort food.
Have you ever thought of buying a poor person their medication?
2) Find a way to help them. If someone is being destructive of life (their own or another’s) they are probably either desperate or under the control of a) other people and in fear, b) mental illness, or c) a substance. That person needs help. That person may need the phone number of a resource that will offer an alternative. I have known a few women who have had abortions. Never once did the woman take this approach willingly or without regret. Once was a result of incest and rape by her father. In another case, the girl was just too young to face such a responsibility. She felt she could not allow her parents to know she was pregnant and thought that abortion was her only recourse. Had there been someone she could have turned to, to support her (emotionally, financially, with an alternative place to live temporarily) I daresay, she would have carried the baby to full term and blessed a childless couple with a newborn baby. But someone has to step up and help. Maybe that needs to be you.
3) If the situation is not hurting someone, let it go. Homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and trans-gender issues are not violations of the Ten Commandments and are not hurting anyone*; let it go. Lying about a former best friend on Facebook, however, IS a violation of the Ten Commandments:
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“Your neighbor” is anyone else: sister, mother, ex-best friend, ex-wife, mother-in-law, total stranger, the leader of the Black Panthers, etc.
4) Love them. If the situation requires tough love, do it. If someone you know and love is addicted to a substance or gambling or over-spending, call them on it. Tell them that you notice it and you love them so you want it to stop. Do an intervention with friends and family. Call in professional or government-supported help. Just do it because you love them. “Love” is a noun of action.
5) Love yourself. If you are being abused, put a stop to it. Leave the bad situation. Turn to a source for help: a church, a shelter, a distant relative. If you are abusing yourself, stop and seek help. There are resources. Start with calling 211.
6) Pray. Pray in whatever way feels natural to you. God has heard it all; He will accept it all. If you like to pray in a King James way, do so. If you prefer to have a candid discussion with Jesus while you are driving, do so. If you would rather write a letter to the Father God and deliver it to a priest to pray over, by all means, do so. And when you are done, listen, watch, and learn. The Holy Spirit may ask you a question for you to ponder. God, the Father, may tell you that there is something you must do. Jesus may simply smile His gentle smile and say, “You are Mine.” And, by all means, if your prayers get answered, share your story with others. Hearing that someone received an answer to their prayers is the best way to encourage someone else to try it.
Thank you, Jesus. To You, the Glory.
* I am going way out on a limb and opining that trans-gender people are no more likely to molest anyone than your garden variety bully or thug. Abusers (sex offenders, pedophiles, serial-killers,…) usually disguise themselves as average-looking people. I will add that homosexuals are ‘guilty’ of loving people of the same sex. Loving. They are guilty of loving someone. The idea may make you uncomfortable but they are not hurting anyone. I am so glad the argument that homosexuals threatened family values has died a natural death. Do you know who threatens family values? Wife beaters, child abusers, fathers who sexually molest their daughters, alcoholic mothers, poverty, mental illness, …
Lord, have Mercy; Christ, have Mercy; Lord, have Mercy.
The above image was borrowed from the internet. See colourbox.com