On Easter Sunday I went outside to fetch my mother’s newspaper (she lives with us; somehow surviving with me and my lovely wife, two young boys, her college-age granddaughter and a dog) and found the day’s news in a culvert full of water.
Even before going outside, I was prepared for this possibility. “I don’t see the paper. They either don’t have an Easter edition or it’s in the ditch again.” Mr. Grumble was just warming up.
When I saw the paper (thankfully, wrapped in one of those plastic bags and not wet), I was unamused. Preparing to celebrate the resurrection, suddenly my attitude was souring—over nothing but a paper. Nearly 2,000 years ago, I’m sure when Peter and John saw the empty tomb their first thought was, “Boy, I hope they didn’t throw The Jerusalem Times in a ditch today.”
After fishing the paper out of the water, I went to Twitter to publicly notify our newspaper that once again, it had not met my expectations. Remember; this was my focus as I prepared to celebrate perhaps the greatest moment in human history.
My tweet was not full of four-letter words. It was however, sarcastic. But from my perspective (at that moment), I was only reminding our delivery person that he (or she?) had one job and needed to work on his throwing arm. All in all, some would say this was appropriate.
But for someone who calls himself a follower of Jesus Christ, it wasn’t. I never thought about how busy this young man or woman must have been on this day. What if our deliverer was trying to get to church on time? Did I think of that? No, I did not.
It’s true that we should do a job well or not at all; I get this. But for someone who claims faith, it’s not for me to join the chorus of negativity and “cute” snarks on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else. My job is to build up; not to be on the lookout for everyone else’s shortcomings.
The paper wasn’t damaged. All it took was some extra effort to keep from slipping in the mud when I grabbed it. That’s it. Life went on. We celebrated resurrection Sunday. And later, I deleted the tweet, hoping our paper never saw it.
Part of my mission in life is to be a breath of fresh air in the lives of others. I need to be a builder-upper.
It’s the same with pregnancy help ministries. While there are times when we must point out the wrongs in this world (just last week, I wrote a column pointing out possible flaws in Planned Parenthood’s recent Annual Report), this should be the exception—not the rule.
The knock against the pro-life movement—fair or unfair—is that we are constantly aggravated about something; always ready to boycott this group or to rip into this person or that person under the guise of “standing for truth.”
Truth is truth, certainly. And we dare not run from what is right; which is to protect the innocent among us.
As we stand for truth however, let’s focus on building up those around us, not taking any good thing for granted.
If our city grants our parade permit for the Walk for Life, let’s send a thank-you letter to the city council. If a business writes a small check for one of our events, let’s bless them richly in return—any way we can. When our caterer performs admirably for our fundraising dinner, let’s give the servers something extra (a gift certificate, perhaps?) as a way of saying, “We appreciate you!”
Friends, we face the teeth of the enemy on a regular basis. It’s tough when we are attacked for simply trying to do good for those who need us. As a result, it is easy to be drawn into conflict and to react instead of responding.
Tweet This: #Prolife friends, let's be a breath of fresh air. @KirkWalden #ThursdayThoughts
When I saw a newspaper in the ditch I reacted. It was not one of my better moments.
But I hope I learned something. In our great endeavor to create a culture of life, everyone is watching. They want to see whether our faith is real. And each day, we have an opportunity—through every day encounters—to show we are more than what they read in magazines or see on TV.
As one friend of mine likes to say, “Let’s give ‘em Heaven.” It’s a great principle to live by. When we do, when someone sees us coming—even those who may oppose us in some way—they might just say, “Ahhh, here comes a breath of fresh air.”