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You Can Only Control YOUR Response

by Niki Turner

As current events have unfolded over the past few weeks, you've probably had an opportunity to get angry, frustrated, discouraged, fretful, fearful, outraged, indignant, and appalled. News headlines and social media are designed to generate a reaction, usually an emotional one, and everyone retreats to their respective corners and hunkers down, suspicious of everyone and worried about the future we face.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by the grief, the horror, the sorrow, the hatred and the ignorance. I made the foolish mistake of dipping my toe in the political fray on Facebook a couple of times during this election cycle. It's astonishing how quickly people who never comment on your posts, never see you in real life, never talk to you in person, will jump on a political post they disagree with like chickens on a solitary grasshopper. There's no room for rational discussion... someone is always screaming at the top of his or her lungs, drowning out anything that resembles reasonable discourse.

So what can we do, besides lock ourselves in our rooms and pray?

The Bible directs us to show respect for those who are in authority—government, church, police, parents, teachers—whether we like them or agree with them or voted for them or not, according to the Bible, we are to "be in subjection" to them. Few Christians would argue that it's all right to make fun of their pastor, or speak evil of him, or curse him and hate him with the fire of a thousand suns, but if it's the president or anyone else in government or politics, it's fine. If it's anyone we consider a threat, or different, it's fine.

But it's not fine according to the Bible.

Romans 13:1-7
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same...
 1 Timothy 2:1-3
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,  
Titus 3:1
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.
 1 Peter 2:13-14
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
 Hebrews 13:17
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
So how should WE respond to all the pulsing rhetoric and everyone's-got-an-opinion?

  1. Think before you speak (or type). Jesus said "blessed are the peacemakers." Is what you're about to say or share promoting peace, or the wrath of man? (Note: slapping a scripture on something is not necessarily promoting peace. Be careful with that method.)
  2. Pray for those in authority every day, especially the ones you dislike the most. Yes, this means if Donald Trump becomes President Trump, or Hillary Clinton becomes President Clinton, or the conspiracy theorists are right and President Obama enacts martial law and seizes power for four more years, we are going to have to PRAY for whoever is in power. Just like Paul prayed for Nero. (If you haven't read anything about Nero, you probably should... we might grumble about our presidents, but none of them can hold a candle to Nero.) Why do we need to pray for those who are in power? Because harboring bitterness and hatred and loathing in your heart is hurting YOU. Purpose not to say anything negative about them, ever. Adding negativity to something doesn't produce good results. Let that trickle down to your state authorities, your county and city leaders...
  3. Step away from the source of stress. Turn off the TV, unplug the WiFi. Don't talk to the crazy family members. Do something else for an afternoon, or even for an hour. It will help you reset your perspective.
  4. Quit griping. I think we're addicted to complaining. Yes, it's fashionable to complain, but bellyaching about "what Obama did" is a waste of your time and energy. Does anyone else remember people griping about "what Bill Clinton did" and "what George Bush did" and "what Ronald Reagan did." I do. The only difference now is the volume seems louder and more personal thanks to social media.
  5. Your power is in your response. How you respond to a situation is often the only thing you have control over. Take your power back, don't react. If something requires you to respond, sleep on it, if possible and pray about your response. You do NOT have to react or respond to everything you hear and see! That's freeing, isn't it? 

In these days of turmoil (we've had them before, and we will have them again), we need to be light, life, and love in the world. We need to be the peacemakers, the humble, the meek, the gracious, the kind, because that's our calling. We're it. We are God's representatives on this earth, regardless of the condition it's in, or whoever is in charge, or how we're treated.

Go in peace.

Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, blogger, and the production manager for the Rio Blanco Herald Times weekly newspaper, one of the oldest continuously operating newspapers in Colorado.She is a co-blogger at www.inkwellinspirations.com, currently serves as president of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Colorado Western Slope chapter, and is the ACFW Colorado coordinator. Niki is a Colorado native who grew up in Glenwood Springs—home of the world’s largest hot springs pool. She married her high school sweetheart 26 years ago. They have four children, four grandchildren, and two West Highland White Terriers who are kind enough to take them for long walks together.You can find all her new releases at www.nikiturner.net



Comments

  1. I've been practicing my eye roll. And, I try to avoid the news. I'm not sure that's helpful to the country, but it seems most of us are either obsessed with the news or avoid it. ugh. Thanks for the great reminders!

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  2. So true, Niki. It's really sad how people can turn on one another because they have different views. Can you imagine if everyone had the same thoughts on every subject or issue? We'd be like robots. Life would sure be boring.

    But regardless of one's views - we should love unconditionally.

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