This is a sermon to myself. As I watch the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, I am finding peace in my soul. Not because he’s becoming president but because I am resisting lowering myself to the unfounded resistance of the last eight years. I don’t want to live each day resisting some illusory image of evil that causes fear to dominate the future. Jesus said, “Do not resist an evil person.” I don’t want to become what I abhorred in the lack of cooperative attitude of our elected officials. They believe they serve only half of the population of the United States, and the other half are wrong. They live with anger and disdain and disrespect in their hearts. I refuse to be pulled down to that level of thinking.
Instead, I am watching the inauguration so that I can see for myself what happens. I choose to interpret it according to my desire for things to improve in our country. Otherwise, I would have to listen to the interpretations of a biased media, or a media that has been duped into thinking drama and the raising of fear is news. Television ratings are more important than objective presentation of events.
It’s coming to a point where I am unsure of what is fact and what is biased opinion when I listen to the news. Facebook has become Falsebook for me. I have been called on the carpet by others when I sent articles that I agreed with, but didn’t fact check them. Iclicked on an article this week that disparaged Google’s search engine for giving preference to negative articles on Islam and women. It sounded reasonable, and I would have accepted its “truth,” but then I followed the same entry process when entering a search. The results indicated by the article did not correspond. It was not all negative choices to click on first.
The state of mind in our great country today is that nothing is true except what I want truth to be. For Democrats, the truth is that DT is all bad. They are resisting vehemently before he actually does anything as president. And they simply copy the actions of those they decried for eight years.
I admit my frustration at the lack of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in our country. I admit my frustration of a growing divide among the populace. It makes me think of the history of Ireland, the ugly, warring, murderous divide between Catholics and Protestants of the twentieth century.
My emotions rise when I hear and hear about the sexist and racist remarks of white males in the county in which I live. They rise when I hear a president blamed for trying to fix a healthcare program that was broken and our elected leaders would not address the problem together. Don’t insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, for profit hospitals, and the legal system have to be held accountable for increasing prices?
Yet I’m learning to recognize when someone else is controlling me by inciting my emotions, emotions that cause me to react without objectivity and proper perspective. I am guilty of reactionary retorts on Facebook through the last year. I never felt the peace of Christ as I reacted. That’s why St. Paul said (and I choose the particular traits that apply to this conversation), “Now the works of the flesh are evident…hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions…of which I tell you…those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21 NKJV).
Jesus stood up in the boat during the storm and said, “Peace – be still.” And it became still. I choose to choose my state of mind rather than have it dictated by others.
We live in a democracy. As an American and as a Christian, I am called to respect the choices of others. The choice for president was DT. I will work hard to resist reacting from emotion and try to find a way to engage in constructive actions and conversations that will show we are really trying to do the same things, but with different opinions about how that can happen. When I witness bigotry, racism, sexism, unequal treatment of my neighbor, white privilege, patriarchy, I will call attention to it in a way that avoids putting the other person on the defensive. Sometimes people don’t even hear how they are coming across. I can’t change anyone by condemning them.
I can only try to be a light in the darkness (a darkness that has existed a long time). Will you join me? Speak what you want to happen to your own mind and heart – peace, freedom and justice for all. What you say is what you’ll get. You will reap what you sow. Follow the ways of Jesus, trust what he said is best, be kind and helpful to others and you will find peace in the storm.