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   The discordant voices that permeate our presidential election cause the unsuspecting observer to wonder: what is right and what is true.  The Prophet Isaiah sums this up rightly when he states: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (Isaiah 5:20)  These words spoken by Isaiah ages ago reflect the voices that reverberate in our political landscape today.  .

   The most prominent voice of discord in this election has given us a dark, loathsome and divisive picture of what America’s future should hold.  This voice rhythmically spews hate under the cover of “law and order”, while it subliminally echoes segregation under the cover of “stop and frisk”.  This vile combination of hatred and separation, which has gained some traction within certain segments of the society, is not new to our political discourse. These words have previously been voiced under the guise of fighting crime in poor neighborhoods.  They have also been voiced as policy under the pretense of obliterating the effects of drug use by the underprivileged youth. However, as shown in the past; those it portends to protect represent those it harms the most.  And they are the black and brown children, the minority, and those on the fringes of our society.  This should raise issues of serious concern for the Church.

   The recent disclosure of the character flaws that beholds the voice of hate interestingly has not swayed the core of its hardened supporters and believers.  They see as non-negotiable the need to pull back the history of race and gender relations.  Therefore, a stronghold of resistance in the redemptive process of race and gender relations still persists, when we have voices that justify such flaws.  On the one hand these voices argue that the flaws are only human; while on the other they argue for the need to overlook them because there are more important issues to address.  Hence the question: where is the  voice of the Church.

   Let it be known that we all have flaws, and we all remain a work of God’s redemption under His grace.  True repentance requires seeking forgiveness and a change of heart.  As such, an apology made with the intent of seeking repentance for wrong words or deeds become hypocritical when it is offered only to satisfy self-serving purposes.  This becomes obvious when the pattern of bad behavior continues to be exhibited and remains a consistent trend after the apology.

   The Bible informs us that out of the abundance of the heart come the words that are spoken; and as such God looks at the human heart.  Luke 6:45 tells us that: “ A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of”.  As a result injustice starts out with the wrong narrative.

Posted by John F. Udochi with 1 Comments
in Care

The Power of Silence

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Can silence be comforting?

I can recount multiple times in my life that I have faced hardships that caused me to wonder where God was in my suffering? I prayed, I read my Bible, I meditated; But, all I could hear was silence. While I am not sure if God chose to be silent in those instances, or whether my grief rendered me spiritually deaf, either way I was overcome with pain and helplessness.
There is much we can learn from the suffering Job encountered when he faced calamity in his life. Initially, Job heard nothing from God either. Fortunately, three of his good friends (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite) came to comfort him in his time of need.

Job 2: 12-13:
12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

What’s striking about this passage is that his friends remained silent for entire first week because they could sense the depth of his pain. They didn’t offer empty platitudes such as, “God is preparing you for something greater” or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Nor did they over identify. “I know exactly what you are going through”.

I believe that one of the best things we can do to care for someone in deep distress is to offer a non-judgmental presence. A willingness to show up and BE present can be more valuable for the afflicted than hearing clumsy assumptions and anxious projections. Job’s friends were doing great until they opened their mouths. They should have remained silent.

What do you think?

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