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Maintaining Our Humanity in a Fallen World

Maybe it is just me, but these last couple of years have been rough with staying informed while not allowing that information to overwhelm or taint you. Over time, we can become desensitized and even insensitive to the needs around us.


With so many difficult situations on the rise, it can be easy to become over-saturated with information. This makes us very susceptible to becoming desensitized and calloused/hard-hearted to them. This can result in an inability to see the true heart or root of the situation. Without that clear vision, it isn't easy to be of much help to bring about any kind of repair to the situation. The root cause must be understood to compassionately minister to its effects. 

 

I have noticed that there is a rise in abrasive behavior and communication. I see so many being short-tempered, comfortable using harsh language or words, quick to reach a critical conclusion about someone, and an odd joy in jumping on someone's 'bandwagon' to bash, condemn, or mock someone or something. So often without any personal knowledge of the person or event. Almost a fixation on those things- a cheap thrill.

 

Memes and one-liners have become the standard method of conveying thoughts. But, unfortunately, dark-humored memes, jokes at the expense of another, generalizing, and name-calling, whether spoken or implied, do little to bring positive change to a situation. They do not win allies or converts. They most assuredly do not bring glory to the Creator.


Where is your focus?

I recently heard a teacher (can’t recall their name) state, “What you are focusing on, you are fostering.” What does that mean? When we foster something, we prop it up, furthering its ability to be established. The official definition for the verb foster is to encourage or promote the development of (something typically regarded as good), to encourage, promote, further, stimulate, advance, forward, or to help it develop.

 

We need to honestly ask ourselves the following: “Do we want to see more of what we are focusing on?” Spend so much time fostering the life-giving things that you love that you haven't the time, energy, or desire to spend time broadcasting the things you don't.


Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should and just because it's true, doesn't mean it needs to be said.

 

Am I saying we shouldn't discuss the things that need work or pretend that they aren't as bad as they indeed are? Not at all. I am saying that as Kingdom people, we are responsible for how we interact with our fellow humans (You know, those other folks that our Creator created in HIS image.). Scripture tells us that we will have to give an account for every idle word we speak.

 

This should scare us all a little.

We don't have to condone someone's behavior or even agree with them to love them. Ask almost any parent about this one. *wink. We can show the love of HaShem to anyone right where they are.  It is the goodness of Adonai that leads people to repentance.

 

Therefore, you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things, Do you suppose, O man-you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself-that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:1-5

 

What kind of testimony do you think it is to be cross and harshly spoken all the time? What folks would want any part of our Creator or us if that's what our fruit looks like? If we think that folks don't know when they are being looked down upon, we are mistaken. Let us seek not to sully God's reputation.

 

6 Things the LORD Hates


Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among the brothers.

 

People are watching.

Our conduct affects those around us, and with the blessing (or is it?) of the internet and social media platforms, those effects can be very far-reaching. At times, influencing people that we will never even meet in real life

 

The fact that what we write, say, or do can reach people worldwide, whether we ever have any personal interaction with them, should be significant to consider.

It is very sobering to consider the ramifications of our less-than-life-giving actions or comments that have gone unaddressed. Unbeknownst to us, someone could be walking around damaged because of us. Even worse, they could replicate that same damage, thinking it is the proper method because they trusted the source. Others may recognize the incorrectness and lose confidence in your credibility as a teacher, mentor, leader, or friend.

 

How can we turn the tide?

We can begin to turn the tide by acting.

The first thing we can and should do is to pray for those who are lost, struggling, or otherwise hurting. I know this may sound like a great big no-brainer, but I know that sometimes I need a reminder, and maybe I am not alone. I will tell myself here, for example. On my drive to work, I pass several homeless encampments. One day, as I thought to myself what a mess the area had turned into, I heard in my spirit, “Have you prayed for these people?” To say that I was convicted and grieved by my callousness would be an understatement. What did I do next, you ask? I prayed. Nothing fancy, but I prayed, and my heart softened. I began to ask the Creator what else I could do. I am asking the Father to enable me to see each and every person that I encounter the way that He sees them.

 

I have learned that the Creator loves to answer that prayer.

 

The second thing that we can and should do is put action to our prayers.

 

When we use our resources to help others, something wonderful happens. The love of the Creator flows through us and out to that person. There are people out there that have never had anyone do a single kind thing for them that didn’t have a string attached or come from a selfish motive. What an opportunity to show them there is hope for something better. That their life matters.

 

Matthew 7:12 In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the Prophets.

 

Galatians 5:14 The entire law is fulfilled in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

 

Who should we help?

I know that some folks have a hard time with the idea of helping people in certain situations. They feel that they got themselves there by their own actions, and they should deal with the consequences. While I do not favor help that facilitates a continuance of the situation, I want to think of it this way. If someone were to find one of my children in a similar situation, how would I want them to respond?

 

Suppose you were to be found in a sinking lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. Are you required to give your entire life story to your potential rescuer before being considered for rescue? If you encounter someone in that situation, would you need an explanation before helping? No, of course, you wouldn't! 

 

Consider that many folks we see struggling are in that sinking lifeboat. If we can begin to see our fellow humans as folks like you and me stumbling through this life, we will be better able to serve with compassion. 


 Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen: to break the chains of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke?


All around us are people who desperately need to be shown the love of the Father.

Many are struggling with unresolved traumas, drug abuse, or untreated mental illness. Domestic violence/abusive relationships are on the rise. All these factors and more contribute to the steadily climbing homeless numbers. Many people simply have no one in their lives for companionship. Seniors living alone or in nursing homes with no one who comes to visit them or share their lives. The people living in these situations are real people, someone’s children created in the Creator’s image.

 

What can we do?

One way to show the love of the Creator to the community around you is to donate some of your resources. There are various ways to go about it. I have listed a few suggestions to get you thinking. Check around your community to see what organizations are already in place. No need to reinvent the wheel, just come alongside someone who is already doing the work and lend a hand in whatever capacity you are able.

 

Give back to your local community by facilitating or participating in a drive, such as:

·       Food drive-Needs can vary by the season. I recommend getting a list of needed items from your local food bank.

·       Clothing drive-Get a list of needed items and guidelines for the items they can accept from a clothing bank in your area.

·       Toiletries drive-Ministries that assist the homeless are often in need of these kits.

·       Pet supplies drive-Rescue shelters, food banks, and organizations that assist the homeless often distribute these items to their clients.

·       School supplies-These items are needed throughout the school year, not just at the head of the school year. In addition to the organizations listed in the suggestions above you can reach out to your local school district to inquire.

·       Baby items-Get the current ‘wish list’ from an area crisis pregnancy center or outreach program and work from it as needs vary.

 

Raise money to donate to an organization by:

·       Collecting items and holding a yard sale.

·       Putting on a car wash.

·       Gathering some friends who love to bake and holding a bake sale at a local event.

·       Bringing people together for a community meal (spaghetti feeds are easy and inexpensive) can be a great way to raise funds and meet like-minded neighbors.

 

Nursing Facilities:

·       Host a sing-along.

·       Perform a funny skit.

·       Read stories out loud.

·       Listening to someone’s stories.

·       Send greeting cards for birthdays.

·       Inquire about ‘adopting’ someone who has no family. This could mean visiting them or helping by supplying some needed items.

 

Homeless or Transitioning Shelters:

·       Sponsor a birthday party. Purchase the requested items or volunteer to assist in staffing.

·       Donate new or gently used business attire.

·       Resume writing and job interview coaching.

·       Stylists can offer haircuts or skincare and makeup help.

·       Donation of new or gently used household goods.

Many people in this position fled dangerous situations with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

 

Crisis Pregnancy organizations:

·       Volunteer for the various vacant positions, which may include phone workers, reception, distribution of donated items, and facilitating support groups.

·       Some organizations offer some primary Home Ec. classes in childcare, household maintenance, balancing a checkbook & setting a budget, meal planning & grocery shopping, and basic cooking. Even if you don’t feel you could take the lead, you could be an extra set of hands to the teacher.

We have a generation that does not know how to cook from scratch or how to run a home. If those who know how do not instruct those who do not, things that are common knowledge or practice to one generation are lost to the next.

 

These suggestions are provided to get you thinking. I’m sure that as you look around you will find multiple other opportunities to serve in your community.

 

Go out into all the world-starting with your community.

This is not the time to take the defensive position. It is not enough to protect our ground. To take back the ground the enemy has grabbed, we must operate in the offensive position.

As circumstances in this world get more difficult, the needs will also increase, presenting us with many opportunities. If we are to be His representatives in a broken world, we need to put action to our faith. It is not enough to have a strong opinion or understanding of what is right and wrong. If we wish to be used in bringing real change in people’s lives, we must be willing to put in the hard work of investing our resources (time, finances, gifts & talents) to humbly serve people. After all, isn’t that why the Creator gave them to us?


 

About Me:


Tina Fallstead is a wife and mother whose passion is to enable other women to become all that the Creator has created them to be. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation and is excited to be on the path of learning the ways of her ancestors. She and her husband are blessed to lead a congregation in their community called The Way of Life Ministries. Tina has recently launched a women's ministry called Geulah Gals, focused on 'Hastening the Geulah through serving the community alongside our sisters.

 

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