Don’t Believe Everything You Think
This is good advice I received from a friend several years ago.
And I was reminded this morning to take my own advice.
According to Dale Carnegie, “When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”
Well, I was wrong.
This morning I reviewed a Facebook post I had made last night, and after having slept on it, I realized that I had made quite a mistake, and determined that I needed to pull it down.
Mmmm…..who doesn’t love the taste of crow? (I don’t, but this isn’t the first time I’ve eaten it–and God knows it won’t be the last.)
My post was in response to a video I saw of Pat Robertson, a well-known and controversial televangelist, who claimed that the result of the election was “God’s will” and anyone who opposed the administration or its policies were “opposing God.”
I was immediately incensed by this and quickly pecked out a response to the post, which I put on this blog’s Facebook page, describing how God did not determine the election, and thus any resistance to the acts of the administration certainly did not go against God’s will. I compared the election results to the results of the Super Bowl and claimed God had as much of a hand in one as the other, and that God’s level of involvement was none.
I fell for the televangelist’s red-herring, argued the wrong point, and missed the opportunity for something of greater relevance and meaning.
My error was in stating that God had no hand in the election, or frankly, in the Super Bowl. As unlikely as I personally think it is that God directly intervened in either of these, who do I think I am to claim it one way or the other? Do I comprehend the mind and ways of God?
No, I do not. And making a comment that implied I did was not only incorrect but wrong.
And that’s why I get to have the filet of crow special for lunch today.
In hindsight, I should have left the post up and put a response to it, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get around to writing a coherent response until much later in the day and I did not want anyone else to read it, make the same error that I did, and further share my wrong to others.
I mentioned that I fell for the red-herring and missed the bigger point. Here it is:
It is irrelevant whether God determined the outcome of an election, a game, or any other purpose.
There are things that happen in our world that could be influenced by God, and things that are not. Reading scripture, we see examples of events where God intervened, including in the selection of Israel’s leaders.
I also personally believe that God does not have a direct hand in everything that happens in our world. I don’t believe that a loving God intentionally subjects a child to abuse, a person to cancer, or anything like that. I believe those things occur as a result of creation’s (read: our universe’s) separation from God, but not as God’s direct action.
Having said that, I do believe that God is more than capable of taking those bad things that happen and using them for good.
I’ve heard stories of cancer patients finding themselves being closer to their families, being more loving people, and truly appreciating life at a level they had never experienced prior to their diagnosis.
I’ve read accounts of people who have been through terrible abuse and affliction, who emerged on the other side as stronger, more powerful people who have become role models and activists who help others.
In the case of the televangelist’s claim, I cannot say whether the result of the election or any event is influenced by God’s hand.
But what I do feel confident in claiming is that God can use the circumstances that exist in our world for good.
And in the resistance I have witnessed to some of the inhumane and un-Christ-like actions of the current administration, I see that goodness sprouting like a lily from a barren field.
And that’s because God is good, all the time.
I was reminded not to believe everything I think. Sometimes the conclusions we rapidly come to are not the ones we need to come to.
And sometimes, that also applies to our long-held opinions and beliefs as well.
God did bless humanity with the ability for critical thought. We should use it.