I certainly have opinions about everything that is going on these days. I’ve shared a few of my thoughts privately with close friends. I’ve refrained from going public with all these thoughts for a variety of reasons but mostly because I’m not totally convinced of my own opinions.
Today that changes. I would like to share a few thoughts and opinions. However, I want to do so in a different way than I’ve been seeing recently. Yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t shake the question, “what are you thankful for?” So I’m starting a list. In light of everything going on I would encourage you to do something similar.
- Friends and family. I’m grateful for friends and family that have the same opinions as me and I’m grateful for friends and family with different opinions. While I sometimes struggle to see the opposing viewpoint, I know that it is good for me to hear their side more than it is good for me to shout my own viewpoint. I smile when I think of the diversity of my friends. It makes me think that I’ve done a good job being a civil human being. (In full disclosure, I’ve hidden a few friends in my social media news feeds, not because I disagree, but because I cannot tolerate their tone. Friends aren’t abusive. I have no room for abuse.)
- Technology. Just a few years ago we wouldn’t have been able to carry on like we have during a crisis. Churches like ours are still meeting – and growing – even though we had a season of not meeting in person. (I’m convinced that those who say all this is persecution against the church are really just dealing with their own insecurities.) Schools are still operating, thanks to creative teachers and parents and the use of technology.
- Medical professionals. There has never been a better time for a health crisis. We’ve never been better equipped for something like this. We have incredible technology, incredible knowledge, and incredible people all working together to solve this problem. Wealthy individuals are pitching in. Governments are contributing. I don’t agree with or understand every decision they make, but I also know that they are putting everything they’ve got into this and eventually it will no longer be a “crisis.”
- Men and women in uniform. Some of the friends and family I mentioned in the first category serve and I’m grateful for their service. I did a ride-along this past winter with a friend in our local PD. I was super impressed with the quality of his work and with the ethics in which he operates. Honestly, I already knew he was a great guy and yet he exceeded my expectations. I see him and so many others serving with the same diligence and excellence every day. They are doing their jobs and doing them well.
- Conspiracy theorists. They rarely see themselves as such and the name I just gave them might be worded too strongly. However, I am grateful that they are digging for truth and trying to hold people accountable. More than that, I’m grateful we live in such a place as this that respects (generally) the right to say what we want, whether or not it makes any sense whatsoever. Additionally, we can freely and openly agree or disagree with that outrageous statement. The thing we need to remember is that other people don’t have to support our sentiment. If they choose to “take it down,” well, they have just as much right to do so as we have a right to speak it to begin with. Find another way to communicate your beliefs. Be careful of what you demand of others.
- Balance of power. The timing of balance tends to mess with people. It takes time for everything to level out. In a storm with waves crashing all around, it takes even longer. I have quite a bit of faith in this system. It has a long track record of working. Also, there’s not a better alternative to what we have. So flaws and all, I’ll take it.
- Jesus. I want to make sure I communicate this clearly and simply. This category exceeds all the others. In fact, none of the other things I’m thankful for matter in comparison to Christ and his work in me and around me.
“Yes, we know that ‘we all have knowledge’ about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church. Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.”
1 Corinthians 8:1b-2 NLT