Reprinted from Dec. 22, 2022
Question: My husband Justin lost his job three months ago when the company he was working for moved to another state. We could have moved with the company but both of our families live here. We have two children, ages 6 and 9.
To say finances have been a struggle is putting it mildly. I work and he is getting unemployment. Our pastor knows of our situation and asked if he could put our family on a list for assistance from a local organization. The organization provides food and toys for the kids. This has turned into a minor argument between my husband and me. He says he doesn’t want to be known as a charity case. I tell him this doesn’t have to last forever and, right now, we could really use the help. He is actively looking for another job. I don’t see anything wrong with temporary help, do you? ~ Financially Cramped
Dear Financially Cramped,
Growing up, my mom raised five boys as a single parent on a teacher’s salary. We were poor but proud that we only relied on family to help – and only when we were desperate. In high school, I became involved with a church. We soon found ourselves the recipients of an anonymous donation that changed our lives. Our first reaction was to reject the gift, but we couldn’t; we didn’t know who gave it.
In my ministry, I have had the chance to do for others what was first done for me. Each time, as the saying goes, I have found it more blessed to give than to receive. There are people who want to make the world a better place for others. It is an act of faith to receive such a blessing. I would encourage you and your husband to see this moment as an opportunity to simply receive the goodwill of others.
When you get back on your feet, I think you will find a heart to pay it forward, to help those in the way you’ve been helped. And the truth of the matter is that you will end up giving far more in your life than you would receive!
When I was young, my instinct was to reject even simple gifts from others. My pastor gave me great advice: the best prayer you can say is “thank you.” Receiving from others opens your heart to grace, to knowing that you are loved without anything needing to be given in return. That can be a hard lesson to learn in a world when everything is a transaction. But as the heart grows tender in acknowledging our own needs, it also grows to see the needs of others around us and gives us imagination of how we might help.
My hope is that you have the merriest of Christmases knowing that you have a beloved community of support and care and that in that knowledge you give peace and joy to others throughout the year.
Rev. Kyle Sears
Dear Financially Cramped,
It’s a challenge facing the situation you’re in but it’s important to remember that it is temporary. Asking for help can be one of the most difficult things to do. Your husband may feel disheartened or maybe even ashamed, but those feeling won’t solve the issue. It takes courage to ask for what you need. Success can be defined as accomplishment and attainment of a goal. The road to success includes deciding what you need and the path to attaining it. Refusing to avail yourself of all the opportunities to further your progress is counteractive and defeating. There are numerous assistance programs that were created to help people in your exact situation. If your husband wasn’t taking any initiative to move on and find a job that would be a different story. You can look at this acceptance of assistance as an embarrassment or as an act of courage that you reached out for help when you needed it.
The principle of Religious Science is the study of the Law of Life – the law of cause and effect. For every action there is a reaction. How we respond to circumstances will determine if they serve us positively or negatively. That means that whatever we focus our attention on will expand and draw more of the same to us.
A good way to glean the best from any circumstance begins with asking what is the gift this brings to my life? What message is the spirit waking me up to? It may sound odd, but it’s best to seek the benefits of any situation rather focusing on the difficulty because, in the end, it’s all for goodness sake, even if it doesn’t appear to be so at the time. Encourage your husband to contemplate where he is putting his belief – in hopeless and shame or support and success? Changing his belief will bring about a change in results.
Think of a radio station; when we dial into a particular station’s frequency we are able to receive that station. It is the same with our desires. The Law of Attraction is simply responding to our vibration or how we are directing our energy and providing more of the same. When we dial into faith that everything is working for good in our life; not only is our attitude uplifted but results will shift. With the right mindset, focusing on faith and trust in the ideal solution and the belief that life is improving, it will happen.
Continued success in your resolutions!
Rev. Mary Morgan
Reprinted from Oct. 11, 2022
Question: I’m feeling guilty because of an attitude I can’t shake. I know we’re supposed to love, not hate. I can’t say I really hate anyone, but I do have a problem with several politicians who, in my opinion, are letting their constituency down by thinking only of their respective parties instead of what’s good for our citizens.
I’ve looked up their bios and have found many good qualities these folks have and I try to dwell on those but the frustration keeps coming back. Do you have any suggestions on what I could be doing to rid myself of the judgments I’m experiencing? ~ Love the USA
Dear Love the USA,
I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that you’re not alone in your quandary. We watch the world change and have trouble believing, not to mention trusting, the people we elect to administer our desires. Sometimes we confuse the individual’s qualities with the office where they sit and then have difficulty reconciling the two. During these times of confusion we begin to wonder if the problem is with the person/people we’ve elected or with us. I believe it’s a little of both.
Let me explain. We listen to the speeches, use due diligence to research and make the best choices possible during the election process. Then we’re challenged when there are changes or things we assume would be handled appropriately but are left unaddressed. We might simultaneously feel that we’ve missed something or that the elected official lied to us. Finally, we’re frustrated, anxious and angry and begin to question the decision-making and election processes in general.
The democratic system is supposed to uphold the people’s wishes, right? Elected officials support the parties’ overviews and ensure their constituents’ voices are heard and adequately implemented. The challenge comes with human nature. Sometimes we make mistakes, misunderstand and underestimate our sway. We’re not privy to what happens “behind closed doors,” which leaves us wondering how powerful our voices are or if they’re even heard.
A passage in Deuteronomy 17 addresses the qualities of a king (or leader in this case). In verses 18-20, we learn that officials should review a copy of laws daily to understand and digest the essence and truth. They are encouraged to carefully follow the regulations and not consider themselves better than others. They must remain focused on the facts and serve well the people.
When a leader ceases to embrace the specifics of their appointment, things can go south quickly. Stuff happens. We’re all human. We read in Esther how things can quickly change with appropriate action. Esther revealed the negative human qualities of Hamon, albeit straight-up narcissism, to the king, who swiftly acted in dynamic ways to correct the disrespectful actions.
We’re human and respond to being let down or feeling deceived by people we’ve chosen to represent us. Therefore, a key component is remembering our collective humanity from a faith-based perspective. This aspect of humanity reminds me of verse 2 of Psalm 36: “For with his flattering opinion of himself, he does not discover and hate his iniquity.” (CSB)
And Luke 6:32: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (TLV)
We’re counseled to love the sinner and hate the sin. Perhaps the way to refrain from judging is to look inward to discover the salient reasons we’re triggered by the action or lack thereof. And maybe we cut ourselves some slack for being human and judging others, even though we know and believe it’s pointless.
Matthew 7:3 reminds us: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (ESV)
Please understand: This reference is not an admonishment, merely a reminder of our responsibilities. In addition, we have a voice to speak out when we see iniquity. Joshua 1:9 encourages us to: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
We have a right to be miffed about incorrect action or shoddy work. However, we are also responsible for taking appropriate measures to bring attention to the things that necessitate change. Unfortunately, we can get sidetracked in how we accomplish that goal, so let’s pay attention to the feelings that arise. What we do from there says more about us than it does about those creating the problem.
Be well & be blessed!
Dear Love the USA,
You are not alone in your frustration. What you said reminds me of something attributed to former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. He was apparently upset with the way things were going in Parliament and he blurted out, “This is the worst kind of government known to mankind … except for all the others that have been tried from time to time!”
Churchill’s point, I believe, is that democracy is messy but there is nothing better! Another thought: The legislative process is a little bit like making sausage; the end result is good, but you wouldn’t want to see how it was made!
In all seriousness, the “American experiment,” as somebody called it, is still an experiment: Can we really govern ourselves? In 1776 we got rid of the Divine Right of Kings concept and replaced it with self-rule … which means that people who are as petty as you and I are running things. You and I are not perfect and neither are the ones for whom we vote. Therefore, it seems to me, sometimes we are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, not the “best” candidate.
But don’t quit! Don’t throw up your hands in frustration and say, “They’re all bad!” No, they are just like us: sometimes good and generous, and sometimes mean and petty. I agree with you that often politicians seem to be more concerned for their own careers than what is good and right for the people. But we are stuck with democracy, so don’t disengage. If you do disengage then you let the extremists win.
As Ben Franklin was emerging from a meeting, somebody yelled, “What kind of government have you given us?” He yelled back, “A Republic … if you can keep it!” So that’s your job and my job: to keep up the fight to keep our democracy a democracy. And right now in America not all politicians are as concerned as they should be. My advice: vote for those who want to keep our democracy and vote against those who would destroy it.
The Rev. C. L. “Skip” Lindeman