Who will cast the first stone?

another FL sunset

another FL sunset

Sometimes I feel it building up and if I don’t get it out, I will explode or maybe implode.  I don’t know, but I do know it means I have to write.  Today I am frustrated with people who say things flippantly and sometimes ignorantly, seemingly calloused to the impact their words may have on others.

I live in a small town and like many small towns we seem to be facing an increasing drug problem and everyone is on edge about it.  It’s everywhere, but you feel it most where you live.

Let me say right up front that I hate drugs.  As a matter of fact, I hate alcohol, a drug that has caused me far more pain than anything illegal ever did.  The definition for drug that I found is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”, so yes; I throw alcohol right in there.  It’s the one that has ruined many of the good “stories” in my life; I’ve watched many loved ones struggle and thankfully, some overcome that battle.  Those on this side of that conflict will tell you that their victory came through Christ.

Now, with that said, does it do any good for me to belittle people who are fighting what very well could be the biggest battle of their life; the battle of addiction?  Does that help them in any way?  Do they not already have a clue that they are in serious trouble?  Does my loving them in spite of it mean I condone the action or behavior?  Not hardly.

Here is what bothers me the most, especially now that we have so much airing of dirty laundry (usually not our own, just everyone else’s) on social media.  When we report things in an insensitive manner, using names and harsh words and innuendo, there might be a child out there who loves that parent who is getting blasted; a child who has been through things that some of us have never had to go through, nor do we understand.  A child who doesn’t need to see and hear over and over again how worthless their parent is; a child who would benefit much more from our prayers, as would their parent.

There is a mama or a daddy or a grandparent, who is walking a road they never wanted to walk; who did all the right things, who prayed all the right prayers, who did the best job they could and for some reason, their child or grandchild fell right into the trap anyway.  A loved one who hurts and cries themselves to sleep and tries to do the best they can; a loved one who doesn’t need to be reminded that their very flesh is making all the wrong choices, by people who have made plenty of bad choices themselves.

I love the scripture that says “let those of you without sin cast the first stone”.  You notice how they all scattered when Jesus said that?

I believe we should follow the law, unless it would cause us to sin.  I believe people who do illegal things should have consequences.  I believe people should rise up in unity and fight the drug battles in their communities by letting dealers and users know we see, we know and we want it to stop and we will do whatever we can to that end.  We don’t want it around our children.  We don’t want needles in our park and we don’t want people who are too messed up to walk, speeding around in automobiles. Dealers should be run out of town if they aren’t going to change their ways.  I agree with all of that and I’m willing to jump on that bandwagon.

However, I also believe in love, mercy and compassion.  I also know that the minute you say, “my child would never do that”, you need to be prepared to eat your words.  I have learned this from experience.  Many people have not learned this yet.  Some think they know everything already and they aren’t open to learn; they have an unteachable spirit.  It’s easier to observe and judge and form opinions based on what they know “up until now”.  Until you have been through something, you have no idea; you really don’t.  None of the people suffering this fate woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll become a drug addict today”.

The sad thing is that some people seem to take some kind of sick pleasure when neighbors or their family members fail.  This is the saddest thing of all to me.    My hope for all of the people struggling is that they would be WHOLE and FREE and live the life God created them to live.  So the question I ask myself is, “how do I play a part in that happening”?  Quite frankly, my role most of the time is to keep my mouth shut and pray.  I asked a very wise young man who suffered from addiction for many years how to pray for people who are suffering the same fate and he said, “Pray for them to receive a divine revelation of the love of Christ”.   Thank you, I will do that ❤

Be Blessed!

WIth love and prayers to CT

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My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who are affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT today.  There is nothing I can say or do to take away the pain or make sense of this horrific event.  What I can do is pray.  We are called to feel the pain of others, to share their burdens with them.  When I heard this on the news today, I immediately thought of my own children and my beautiful granddaughter. 

I tried to put myself in the place of all of those who got the calls this morning that something was amiss, in the place of the teachers and the children who witnessed this firsthand and the first responders who had to see this and probably knew some of the victims.

I want to continue to cry over this, I welcome the ache in my heart.  I want it to hurt and to feel the disgust for such a mindless, senseless tragedy and I want to have the overwhelming compassion that brings tears to my eyes.  We should.  It’s the least we can do.  Our prayers must be heartfelt and we must continue to lift these folks up, not just today, but for as long as we will.

Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you.  Hug them, kiss them, squeeze them.

How do we get from indifference to empathy?

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Daniel Goleman

Boarding the plane for the first leg of my flight home, I was already tired and feeling a tad impatient that it was taking so long.  My seat was near the back and I quickly realized it was a window seat next to an elderly man.  I told him I was seated there and had to wait what seemed liked several minutes for him to take action, then to get up and let me in.  The flight attendant behind him rolled her eyes upward, letting me know she understood my plight.  After all, god forbid, we should be forced to  patiently wait on anyone, no matter their age or condition, right?

I said “thank you” or “good afternoon” or something similar and strapped myself in, anxious for takeoff.  It was then I noticed that he began to shake.  At first I was a little anxious as I wasn’t sure what was going on or if he was going to be okay.  It didn’t take long to recognize the signs of what I believe were indicative of Parkinson’s Disease.  He made several attempts, finally successful; to turn his electronics off and my heart broke for him as he tried to put things away in the rushed manner that we all expect.

He seemed to want to rest and laid back and closed his eyes.  The tremors would come and go and he couldn’t help but bump into me from time to time.  I said a prayer for him as he rested and he fell asleep and I found myself grateful for the stillness….for him, not for me.

When we landed, people almost knocked him over trying to get past.  What happened to politely allowing those in front of you to disembark first?  As I sat there thinking that this could be my grandparent or my dad, it troubled me to know that some people just aren’t concerned with the plight of their fellow man.  Another woman also noticed this and kindly let him go in front of her.

I was once again, reminded that we have to be concerned with others; we need to treat people in the way we desire to be treated.  Are we so hurried that we can’t be attentive or helpful?  We should slow down and allow ourselves to think about others, how it would feel to walk in their shoes.

We live in such a busy, bustling world, sometimes we are too engaged in it to even stop and think, to let our minds wander and ponder things, to let God speak to our hearts.  It takes less effort to ignore than to care.  When we slow down and get our minds off of ourselves and on those around us, we begin to see more clearly.

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