This has been a unique and painful day. I just lost a fight with our local government, over a new water line. I refused to sign an easement over to them, to allow them to dig up my yard. I was given the choice today. Either sign or have no water hook-up. Gee, let me think. Sign? Or no water? Difficult choice, since I have had no shower and my hair looks like a chicken had a bad hair day. So, we’re going to sign. The good news is that the water line is going down the other side of the street, because we resisted signing. Now, the worst they can do – I hope – is make a trench across the road, and cut the roots of a thirty year old maple tree, that was a young sapling when we bought our home. So, there’s gonna be a mess, but the trees that I planted as one-year-old seedlings will be saved. I hope.
The illustration I’m sharing, this inequity, is that life isn’t fair. We are frequently given difficult choices, and often we have to take the hard tumbles, roll over, and get up again. After all, my character hasn’t been assassinated, which has been the case of Shirley Sherrod, the ex-head of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia.
Shirley Sherrod’s true story is one of redemption. A change of heart. The heart we all should have. Having been raised in the south, I understand her story intimately. It is very strange, but I came across the accusation that was made about her, accusing her of racism. Failing to find a video of the snippet of a forty-five minute speech, I, of course, went to YouTube. There I found a longer version of her speech. It was there that I learned about her initial reaction to the plea of a white farmer, twenty years ago, and it was there that I learned the rest of the story and her change of heart. She said “it was revealed” to her that the issue was not about black or white, but the needs of the poor. So, she had a revelation, and there is only One Person who reveals and changes the human heart. God.
Of course, she suffered humiliation, helplessness, and the loss of her job, by a government which reacted without all the facts, leaving Shirley no choice, but to resign on the side of the road, through her Blackberry. Wow. No one has illustrated her plight more poignantly than Glen Beck on Fox News. Yes, Fox News journalists can do the right thing. I’ve never been a fan of Glen Beck, but I am proud of him for telling all of Shirley’s story.
So, here are two unrelated cases, Shirley’s and mine, where the power of the government meets the helplessness of the individual, and serves only itself. My humiliation is very small, while hers is very large, yet they are related when Government overcomes the rights of the individual, simply because they can. As an American, I ask you, what have we become?
The blogger, who released two lines of a speech, without investigating. Who didn’t bother to at least go to YouTube, in search of the whole story – was wrong. I say again, he was wrong. He justified his actions, by explaining away the agony that he was a part of. So, I ask, as human beings, what have we become?
Are we a nation of gossips? Do we accuse and refuse to seek the truth? Are we those whom the Bible speaks of, who have ears, yet refuse to hear? Or do we have eyes to see, yet we refuse to see? Have we become a country divided? Have we thrown away the grace of compassion or fairness? Truth is not truth, when we are satisfied with only half of it. If we believe in a just, as well as a merciful God, then we must – I repeat – we must seek the truth. We will stand before Him, and it will not matter our party affiliation. We will stand before Him whether we believe in Him or not. And if we are believers, and we are asked by Him, how did you spend your time on earth? How much, of the gifts I have given you, have you shared? What then?
I am fatigued by the climate of blame, in our government. I am sick of the corruption. I am sick of the incompetence and the constant finger pointing. I am a conservative; however, as a Christian believer, I must follow the teachings of Paul the Apostle, that we must practice moderation in all things. In all things. So, I will do my best to live by the teachings of Christ – to love others, to reach out with compassion, to forgive, even if I cannot trust, and above all to allow my life to reflect the Savior whom I serve. I fail. All the time. And I failed today.
Father in heaven, I know that I am inadequate in the message I try to give. I pray that You will accept these words by the intentions of my heart, even though I know how insufficient they are. May I live by your word. May I judge others only as I pray that You will judge me. I ask your forgiveness for my impetuous vanity, when I do not know the facts. Lord, please lead me on the paths of righteousness and grant me the grace to follow You.