Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:9
Where does one even begin? Looking at my news feed there are rockets in Gaza, airliners shot down in the Ukraine, crisis at the border, resurgence in Iraq. And that is nothing to say of what is happening in our own back yards. How can we not feel overwhelmed, consumed, helpless and hopeless?
I’m grateful to Sr. Sandy Straub for sharing her journey at the border. I needed that. And as you are aware it’s been a while since I’ve logged on and blogged on well about anything. When we established this blog we wanted it to be a forum for conversation, growth and support for trying to minister in this unfinished world.
I want to be honest about why I wasn’t writing for all that time. I was burned out, tired, feeling pretty used up. And I’m not sure I’m completely back on track. But I did step out and step back and was able to get a new perspective on things. I think we need to do that once in a while when all around us we are immersed in what’s wrong with the world.
There is a lot that’s wrong, but there is so much that’s right. I’ve been doing this work for some time now. And while I waffle between calling it ministry and work, some days it is “work” with little reward. Unlike other jobs there’s never a time clock you can punch out, go home and turn off the brain. Media inundates you with the very reasons you do what you do.
And let’s be honest, we’ve all met folks who really seem to love living in that negative space. “Hey did you hear the latest awful report from…” or “If you want to read something that really makes you angry, check out Senator X’s comments…” or my favorite (this is a direct quote). “Just read this article about … and it will make you sick.”
I wish these were the exceptions to peace and justice work but I’ve found they have become the norm. We fill our lives with the horrors of the world hoping that we and others will feel so outraged that we’ll act to stop them. It’s a tactic that I don’t see working and the media has taken it and ran. Everything and I mean everything is presented as a crisis. But I see that folks appear to be more desensitized, numb and inactive – than outraged, compelled and ready to act.
We cannot physically, emotionally or spiritually sustain a constant state of crisis and fear if we want to truly transform ourselves and the world. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to care about others or know that the suffering is there and want to work toward its end. But how can I be faithful to the life of Jesus if I feed on the suffering and in turn feed the suffering? How am I His disciple if I don’t make room in my life for the life giving joy of the gospel? Where is the blessing I want to share and inherit? Why would anyone want to join me in this if I’m only ever saying how bad everything is, focusing on the evil? I’d run the opposite way too – and kind of did for a spell.
Let’s not forget to step back, see a bigger picture and remember that it’s not our problem to solve, but we are joy-filled disciples, available to the Holy Spirit. And when we are faithful, we lift one another up and invite the whole world into the kindom, ready to inherit the blessing.
How are you doing? Can you take a step back and get a different view? Where are you finding joy and being blessed? I’d really like to know.
With you on the path,