My brother-in-law is super fit and a really healthy eater. But lately he’s made an adjustment to his dietary regime. Retired, he’s no longer at the gym at 5 a.m. and at his desk at corporate by 7 a.m. Most days he heads to the gym at a more reasonable hour and stops by his favorite Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee…and a donut! He’s decided that at his age, strict dietary restrictions are barely adding seconds to his total life span, and let’s be honest – what life is worth living without the occasional (ok, daily) donut?
I think the wisdom that he has found is this thing called balance and perspective. When we don’t have it, we tend to get stuck in all or nothing thinking. Do I have to throw away my iPhone in order to stop exploitation of children? In this case, no. When public opinion got hold of Apple’s manufacturing practices, Apple demanded and received changes in factories assembling its products.
It turns out that many small voices can sometimes make a big difference.
It matters that we care, speak up, and sound off.
The question is, how?
It turns out that scripture speaks to this in a lovely way in 1 Thessalonians: 12 Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you. 13 Think of them highly with love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are disorderly. Comfort the discouraged. Help the weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure no one repays a wrong with a wrong, but always pursue the good for each other and everyone else. 16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray continually. 18 Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Don’t suppress the Spirit. 20 Don’t brush off Spirit-inspired messages, 21 but examine everything carefully and hang on to what is good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 CEB
It is always ours to do – examining everything carefully, hanging on to what is good, avoiding every kind of evil. And when we are occupied with this work, which challenges our thinking, informs our feeling, and inspires our doing – we don’t have much time for living in conflict and disrespect with others! It’s ok to have strong opinions, it is NOT ok to use them as an excuse to treat others with disrespect. Today, now can these verses inspire your choices?