Tag Archives: Compassion

In the News

The events of Wednesday in Washington, DC were deeply disturbing.  As the joint session of Congress fulfilled its constitutional duty to certify the vote of the electoral college, the Capitol was breached by rioters (a term which I use definitively: “a group of people who meet in a public place and behave in a noisy, violent, and uncontrolled way, often as a protest.”)  The lawful machinations of the federal government were halted by the acts of a disgruntled few.  What are we to think of these developments?  What are we to say to our children?  What do these distressing behaviors indicate about our overall societal condition?

The words that I preached upon last Sunday came back to me as I watched the special reports:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Luke 4:18-19

As Jesus began his earthly ministry in the countryside synagogues of Galilee, he started by drawing the attention of those who gathered toward the words of the prophet Isaiah, declaring that, under the Spirit’s influence, he had been commissioned to share the good news with the oppressed, as well as several other dismissed and discounted groups.  This term, oppressed, is used only once in the original languages of the Bible, and, as a perfect passive participle, truly means “the ones who have been broken or shattered.” 

The good news of Jesus Christ, the historical ‘evangel’, is that the day of the Lord has come which will bring about the restoration of the broken.  The sad news of our present-day, displayed earlier this week, is that many are seeking wholeness and repair through human might or mental gymnastics.  The startling reality is that we all are, to some degree, broken people: sin has caused its damage, fracturing relationships and corrupting worldviews; society has wrought havoc, deepening divisions and disenfranchising the marginalized; selfish ambition has severed many conduits for compassion and care.  Therefore, we all, in our brokenness, need someone to share the ‘evangel’, the good news of the Lord’s favor through Jesus, in ways that we can understand.

Join me in grieving the human condition that motivates a vocal and violent minority to take the measures that were broadcast earlier this week.  Join me in grieving the despairing brokenness that leads some to seek personal restoration through raucous and reckless behavior.  Join me in praying that those who know the truth would proclaim the truth to those desperate to hear it.

Your plight – your poverty, pain, and penitence – is not imperceptible to the one who is in power.  The one who governs all of creation cares about your brokenness and has brought you a cure.  The salve for your shattered self is the Son of God, who came to announce God’s grace for the captive, the blind, and the oppressed.  Jesus came to make you whole again.

As I think of the broken glass that fell upon the floor of the House chamber, I assume it will be replaced.  That is what we do; we replace what has been broken and make it all better.  That is not what God does.  God repairs the shattered panes that litter our lives.  He reassembles every piece, perfectly fitting each shard and sliver together until we are whole.  That is good news indeed for all those who are watching the daily news with dread.

O Tannenbaum

I am writing this post while sitting next to our Christmas tree.  Typically, our tree is our final act of decorating – when the kids were younger, we did not want little hands tearing off ornaments; now that the kids are older, we did not want to visit the tree lot until everyone was home – but COVID has changed all that with tree shortages and on-line classes.  Will the tree dry out and drop its needles as it occupies the Living Room for more than three weeks?  It is likely, but for now, I will enjoy its familiar fragrance and its meaningful memories.

As I look at the tree, my eyes first focus on the ornaments.  A few of them are pieces of foam or felt fashioned by tiny fingers, taking me back to a time when my children were a bit smaller and their wonder of Christmas was a bit larger.  Most of them are commercially produced, whether they are a reflection of a “1st Christmas” (my grown or growing children all wanting their own to be placed highest and centermost) or a reminder of the year we purchased them.  There is an ornament from Jeanine’s college days and there will be an ornament, I am sure, from this season of life.  Each one serves as a mnemonic device of our time together.

Behind the ornaments are the lights, red and yellow and green and blue twinkles that are just bright enough to illuminate their immediate surroundings.  Alone, these bulbs are insignificant, but putting 500 or so together casts enough light to give the room a certain glow.  Unlike the ornaments, the beauty and significance of the lights are not in their individual meaning but in their collective impact: at night, just as we are retiring to bed, Jeanine and I sit by the tree, with only its light filling the room, and remark at ‘how lovely are your branches’.  It serves as a mnemonic device of our beauty together.

Finally, there is gold garland that, literally and figuratively, ties all the aspects of the tree together.  Wrapped around this fragile, living (and dying) evergreen is a cord of shimmering splendor.  It makes this ordinary plant something special.  I do not typically think about the garland, which I usually regard as a finishing afterthought to my tree decorating, but today I am in a mood to recognize its significance.  I consider the garland a glimpse of Christ within the Christmas tree – a touch of royalty surrounding the rustic.   This cord envelopes the earthly with the eternal and the ordinary with the extravagant.  It serves as a mnemonic device of Jesus, fully human and fully divine.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

I appreciate the tree beside me because it reminds me of God’s blessings, God’s community, and God’s presence.  Whether real or artificial – or not even a tree – I pray that there is something near you, as well, that jogs your memory of the goodness of God this Christmas.

Changing Seasons

Can you feel the change in the air and, more specifically, on the air?  Yesterday may have been Thanksgiving, but today is the beginning of the Christmas season.  Overnight we went from enjoying the autumnal comforts of pumpkin spices and falling leaves to enjoying the winter delights of peppermint swirls and drifting snow.  Yesterday may have been spent watching competing teams play football, but tonight we will be watching competing networks broadcast ‘specials’ featuring Frosty and Burgermeister Meisterburger.  This weekend we will witness Christmas lights begin to twinkle on our front lawns and Christmas trees being set in front windows.  I hope not to alarm you, but Christmas Day is exactly four weeks away.

But this year is different, isn’t it?  Because of the travel and gathering restrictions many of us face, there will be much smaller lines at the big box stores this “Black Friday” and much longer shipping times from the online retailers this month.  There will also be fewer ‘cookie swaps’ and Christmas parties (although “Secret Santa” gifts may be as simple as visiting Amazon).  That may allow us the serendipitous blessing of more time to spend with those closest to us and more opportunity to stream our season’s greetings than in Christmases past.  We will have to be creative, but we can still make this the most wonderful time of the year.

Besides, sometimes the crowds around us keep us from appreciating the gift of Christmas before us.  We, too, are sometimes distracted by all the hubbub of the holidays to see the truth as it approaches.  We are sometimes the “Inn Crowd”, the huddle of humanity in the Bethlehem of our day, too busy or too burdened to recognize the gift of God about to be given.  We are sometimes guilty of misguided priorities and pointing the Savior to the stall in the back.  The “desire of every nation” has been delivered to our doorstep, and we are in danger of dismissing him due to the distractions of the day. 

Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:20

But this year is different, isn’t it?  The crowds have socially distanced and we have settled for a celebration in isolation.  In the stillness of this strange and strained setting, can you hear the knock on the door of your heart?  In spite of all the changes that COVID has brought (or maybe because of them), this year may be the perfect time to get out of the inn and away from all the revelry and travel back to the stable – to hear the shepherds and see the child, to marvel at his radiance and muse about the shepherds’ report.  Do whatever you need to do to prepare yourself for the blessed arrival of God’s greatest gift: listen to a Christmas Carol playlist on Spotify, stream an Advent service on YouTube (might I suggest Calvary’s?), or watch “The Bishop’s Wife” on Amazon Prime.  This Christmas may be the best chance our generation has to worship the newborn king together.

I pray that we all are enveloped by the enormous love we encounter at Christmas.

Still Giving Thanks

There is a ‘standing headline’ circulating through social and broadcast media: “Celebrating Thanksgiving to Be Quite Different This Year”.  As a consequence of surging numbers of COVID-19 cases across the globe, authorities are recommending, at least in my area of the country, that our observances of Thanksgiving be limited to small – and preferably outdoor – gatherings, that our travel plans be curtailed or eliminated, and that our traditions take a hiatus.  Under the circumstances, it seems to me that this is the most reasonable path to take, both for the sake of our loved ones and for the communities around us.

The requested modifications in celebrating this thoroughly North American holiday gives us an opportunity for beneficial correction.  This year we will not have the chance to celebrate “Turkey Day” or “Friendsgiving” or “Football Day in America”.  The Thanksgiving table may not, this year, look like the iconic Rockwell painting in its gastronomic bounty.  The chairs may not, this time around, be filled with friends from work or church, or school recreating the warmth of community.  The back yard or living room, this year, will not be shared by generations who enjoy tossing around the pigskin.  This year we might only have the opportunity to give thanks – alone with the grantor of all good things or with those in our closest of circles.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.   Psalm 95:2

Earlier this month, for another purpose, I formulated my list of ‘thanks’.  I have modified the entries slightly, hoping that my touchpoints might stimulate your thoughts toward thanks.  Today, I am thankful for:

TIME – I give thanks to God for the gift of time.  I would have never planned to spend so much time at home and share so many little moments with my family.  I cannot fully express the gratitude I feel to God for the ability to unexpectedly be together for much of the last year.  

HEALTH – I give thanks to God for the gift of health.  I consider myself fortunate that I have the availability of protective equipment and world-class care.  God has truly blessed me with the accessibility of masks and wipes, medications and medical professionals that enable me to resist much of the ailments that in other places or other times would have diminished my quality of life.

AMUSEMENT – I give thanks to God for the gift of laughter.  As dire as things are, there is an abundance of resources ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous that make me laugh.  I give thanks to God for giggling babies, on-line videos, satirical skits, and dog sweaters, along with another million amusing moments.

NETWORKS – I give thanks to God for the gift of connectedness.  I have been awed by the creative ways God has inspired others to engage with the community around them – Zoom, Duo, Facetime, YouTube, balcony concerts, calls, letters – and I am grateful to God for enabling me to participate in things I thought would be impossible to attend last Thanksgiving.

KINDNESS – I give thanks to God for the gift of love for one another.  Through signs, parades, and deliveries, we have cared for one another like no other time I can recollect.  This reminds me of the grace of God each time I see these expressions.  Thank you, Jesus.

SALVATION – I give thanks to God for the gift of forgiveness.  Countless times over the past year, as I reflect on the above-stated gifts of God, I have messed up: failing to appreciate what I have, ignoring the opportunities granted me, selfishly pouting for the things I am denied, or blatantly disregarding the Lord’s will and word.  I am so thankful to God that my sins are forgiven and that I am a new creation, saved by the free gift of His grace.

For what will you be thanks giving?

Let us all agree that we will get together a year from now for “Turkey Day” and “Friendsgiving” and “Football Day in America”.   But this year, in light of all we have been through, and continue to go through, let us all give thanks.

Purple People

In the days ahead, after the recounts and the legal challenges, one of the candidates for President will carry the requisite 270 electoral college votes and win the election.  At that same time, approximately seventy million voters will be, to some degree, delighted with the outcome and a similar number of voters will be, also to some degree, disappointed.  In many states, the margin for victory has been razor thin and large sections of our country are no longer ‘red’ or ‘blue’, but shades of ‘purple’ instead.  Whoever is inaugurated next January, he deserves our prayers.

Where do we go from here?  I believe this is a time for practicing the biblical behavior of reconciliation.  Reconciliation, when mentioned in the Scriptures, is found in the Greek term καταλλάσσω (katallássō) which means “to change completely toward agreement”.  Having an accountant at home, I know that the most common contemporary connection to reconciliation is related to the balancing financial records (i.e. to change the books to establish an agreement among diverse categories).  But the words of God represent a deeper level of agreement amidst diversity: the positive, complete change in relationships between rivals.  

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:18-20

The process of reconciliation begins and ends with our relationship with God.  Despite the fact that we willfully and intentionally deviated from God’s desire, by actively sinning against Him, He has changed completely our relationship through Christ, not counting those sins against us. (Please note that there is no mention of excusing or eliminating those sins, nor that those sins were no longer grievously offensive.)   God moved us from His ledger of opponents to His ledger of friends, based solely on the actions of Christ.  This is the first step of reconciliation: to know ourselves, in Christ, as a friend of God.

Once we have accepted our new position in Christ, we can move to the second part of reconciliation, namely that God has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.  In other words, God has bestowed upon His friends that privilege of inviting others into God’s friend group, all on the basis of the actions of Christ.  In this ministry, we are welcoming mutual friends to share in the celebration.  Our shared relationship with God creates a shared relationship with one another, regardless of the diversity we express in our words and experiences.  We are able to befriend one another because we have a friend in Jesus.

This ministry of reconciliation is what we need right now.  Instead of dwelling on what divides us, we can rejoice in what unites us.  Instead of debating policies and positions, we could work together to defeat societal ills we all abhor.  Now is the time to focus on what we agree upon.  Now is time to cultivate the mutual friendships we have through Christ.  As we gather before the presence of God, we can share in the things we hold together: that we all have struggles, that we all have pains, that we all have gifts and that we all need love. 

Now is the time to work together and trust Christ to heal what divides us.

Duty and Delight

Earlier this week I walked to City Hall and filled out my ballot for the upcoming election.  I have always considered it a duty and a privilege to take part in the process which determines our representatives in government.  Even in local elections where only incumbents are running, unopposed, I delight in flipping that lever (when I was younger) or filling in that circle (now that I am older), making sure that my voice and my choice is heard.   I encourage each person reading this post, if you are registered to vote, to likewise engage in the process and cast your ballot for the candidates of your choosing.

Professionally, I am of the opinion that my position within the local church prevents me from divulging the candidates for whom I cast my vote.  Personally, my preference is to remain neutral in politics, seeing the benefits of our multi-party form of democracy as it fosters a healthy exchange of ideas.  In the days following this impending election, a winner will be declared in every contested race and our towns and cities, our states and commonwealths, and our country will move forward.  Our choice, each day following the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, is whether we will move forward united or move forward divided.

I, as a pastor of a small church in Boston and as a follower of Christ, am concerned with the aftermath of whatever the Electoral College determines.  It is for this reason that I offer the following observations for your reflection in the days to come.

I find it worth remembering that the course of history is long and the terms for our elected officers are short.  As hard as it is to imagine today, 2020 will likely be simply a footnote in the annuls of time.  How many of us could recall the details of the ‘Spanish Flu’ or the name of the President in 1918-1920 (prior to Googling it during the present pandemic)?  Most of today’s headlines will be the source of tough trivia questions posed by our grandchildren.  We, as human beings, are resilient, and we are capable of withstanding good and bad character, good and bad economies, and good and bad votes.

I also find it worth remembering that our hope is built, ultimately, upon God’s eternal nature (which we imperfectly reflect) not the political powers of the day (which imperfectly reflect us).  A foundational truth that sustains me in these days of uncertainty is this:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Genesis 1:27

Before there were people groups, religions, classes or governments, there was a male and a female who were created in the image of God.  Somehow, somewhere woven among our DNA is a spark of the divine, which produces, among other things, a knowledge of moral excellence and a hunger for genuine community.  It is this mysterious impartation of the Almighty that gives me hope, despite the tensions and turmoil of this present hour.

Whether or not our votes are sufficient to carry our candidates to victory, let us commit ourselves to call upon history and the heavens to grant us hope.

Small Wins

It has happened again; God has allowed those around me to repeat a recurring theme through interactions I have had over the last 7 days.  I heard it first during a denominational meeting when a speaker encouraged me to ‘shrink the win’.  I heard it again while attending a virtual retreat as a facilitator asked me to reflect on ‘small places of growth’.  I heard it for a third time when I had lunch with a few colleagues when one of the participants commented on ‘the small victory’.  I heard it lastly at our prayer meeting when one of our intercessors reminded us of God’s ‘little blessings’.  God has been orchestrating my engagement with others as a means to focus my attention off the major problems of life and onto the (many times) minor peeks of sunshine.

God has been asking me to adjust my perspective.  In the days since the stay-at-home order was issued in the Commonwealth, much of the news and statistics about my region have been horrible.  The pandemic has exposed us to a great deal of death, damage, and dysfunction within our communities.  I in no way want to diminish the pain or loss that so many have suffered since March.  But I also do not want to make the mistake of seeing the last 220 days as filled entirely with bad news.  There is some light in the midst of this whelming darkness that is visible to those who are looking for it.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV84)

What are these glimmers of hope, these baby steps of growth, these small victories and little blessings about which God has been speaking to me?  This seasons-long quarantine has afforded the globe to be home with just a little more than television and internet, and this, in turn, provided the disparities of life to be displayed.  The world was watching, and many good people were pressed to action.  Medical inequity was broadcast and many responded with donations of PPE and calls to address the needs of inadequate care in nursing homes and among the poor.  Racial injustice was then captured on cellphones and many were outraged to the point of demonstration and a long-delayed dialogue about race began to rise.  Economic hardship gripped many and so neighbors helped neighbors with what they could share.

Many of us have spent time with the people we love, learned new skills or enjoyed new hobbies.  Many of us, because of the mild and dry weather, walked more and dined more on the sidewalks of our city squares.  The church went out digitally to the world instead of asking the world to come out to church.  We learned to adapt, to adjust and to practice mercy.  We made signs to appreciate the sacrifices of those who risked and shared tears with who lost.  We grew in compassion and care for one another.  Small victories.   

I am still praying that this pandemic is over soon, but until then, I am choosing to embrace the reality that there can be great warmth and light from a dumpster fire.

Thoughts on Prayers

In the early morning hours of last Friday, the news broke that the President of the United States was diagnosed with COVID-19.  After a whirlwind of breaking news reports, later that afternoon the Commander-in-Chief was flown to the hospital for treatment.  Many people from all across the political spectrum expressed concern, most offering the cultural trope of “thoughts and prayers” for a speedy recovery.   But, I wonder, what do we mean when we use the phrase “thoughts and prayers”?  About what are we thinking and for what are we praying?

In a days after the diagnosis, I heard from more than a few people (in conversation and through social media) that we, as Christians, are commanded in Scripture to pray for those in authority over us (and it is true, for 1 Timothy 2:1-2 does say that).  But what does the Bible teach through this command?  Frankly, if we read these verses closely, we find that this directive to pray for kings and earthly powers is a specific example of a more general principle found in the very same scriptural reference: that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people.  Indeed, we are to pray for our governmental leaders just as we pray for anyone and everyone else. Even more than that, Jesus, in Mark 5:44, teaches us to pray for those who persecute us.  We are expected to be people who pray for the needs of people, all people, irrespective of their reputation.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  James 5:15 (ESV)

How, then, are we commanded to pray for one another?  Thankfully, the Word of God is not silent about this subject. 

  • James 5:16 encourages us to pray for each other so that we may be healed.  It is wholly appropriate to seek the Lord’s blessing so that people recover from illness.  We can rely upon and request for others God’s mercy, His divine nature which reduces or removes the just consequences of our existence in this fallen world.
  • James 1:5 states that, when we are in the grips of a trial, we can ask God for wisdom to grow through the process and challenge.  In connection with this, Colossians 1:9 directs us to pray for God to fill us with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.  We, too, can pray that these experiences of illness (physical, moral or financial) will all teach us the lessons of growth we need to learn in order to avoid the same trial in the future.  
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:11 teaches us to pray for each other that God may make us worthy of His calling.  Further, Matthew 26:41 tells us to pray for one another so that we will not fall into temptation.  We lift one another up so that we can remain faithful in the midst of any gathering darkness.
  • Finally, Ephesians 6:20 instructs us to pray that we may declare the good news of Christ fearlessly.  In the good times and in the bad times there are those around us that need to know that God cares and comforts, and despite our infirmities God can give us opportunities to offer hope.

God willing, these are the types of things I hope we are expressing when we offer our “thoughts and prayers”; Lord, help us not to voice an expectation of prosperity or success, but the blessings of mercy and guidance as we face affliction.  So, I ask you to pray for our President, and to pray for all those you know, that God will be merciful to the downcast and that He will guide us to eschew the reckless behaviors that lead to the difficulties we face.  May we all learn from one another as we pray with and for one another.  

Lights Out

Earlier this week, my home was uncharacteristically quiet.  The only sounds I heard were the soft taps of my laptop keystrokes and the rustling of Legos® as my son was building a masterpiece in another room.  This unexpected hush was because we woke that morning without power.  At first, I was concerned: My daughter requires electricity and internet to teach remotely and my son requires the same to be taught remotely.  Eventually, we soon came up with a game plan – Rebekah would have to go to our oldest son’s house to teach and Joshua would have to attend classes via cell service on his phone.  It was not perfect, but it worked for a while (cell service diminished as the neighborhood taxed the system and phone batteries do not last forever).  Thankfully, by 8:30 the next morning, we had power in the house.

We all face inconveniences in life, whether it be a power failure or a road closure or a toilet paper shortage; and we all are forced to react to these (petty) annoyances in one way or another.  One reaction is aggravation, where we focus on what we do not have and fume over the lost resource (whether it be time, opportunity, or possessions).  The other reaction is acceptance, where we inventory what we still have and implement positive changes (with our time, opportunity, and possessions).  As pastor and missionary William L. Watkinson wrote more than 100 years ago, “Yet is it far better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Am I the only one, though, that feels like I am living in the center of a Yankee Candle store?  I seem to be lighting an unprecedented number of candles this year.  I have lit a candle for the pandemic, and another for the racial divisions, and another for the presidential election, and another for remote learning, and another for state college tuition costs, and another for the West Coast wildfires.  There is darkness everywhere I look these days and I fear that there are not enough scented votives to disperse it.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

We, as a global community, need people to shine the light.  We are in desperate need of someone to illuminate the terrain to guide our steps and guard our shins, to bring heat to the wounds we have inflicted on ourselves and others to provide purification and cauterization, and to offer hope in places of despair by declaring that the dreadful unknown can be defeated.  We who know Christ as Lord and Savior have, in abundant supply, the radiant and radiating truth of forgiveness and restoration, and it is more than sufficient for us to share.  In the places that are overwhelmed and powerless, perhaps your candle will make a difference.

I remember thinking, after the power had come back on and the technology was again available, “Lord, give me another minute to appreciate the quiet before the din of darkness creeps back in.”

WWYD?

My family watches a more-than-average amount of television, and we all have our favorite shows.  There is one program that we tend to watch together that elicits a great deal of conversation – “What Would You Do?”.  For the uninitiated, “What Would You Do?” is a hidden camera show, produced by ABC news, where unsuspecting people are recorded as they witness a wide variety of moral and cultural dilemmas, eventually to be interviewed about their reactions by the program’s host, John Quiñones.  One segment might involve a bystander’s reaction to an apparently inebriated bar patron heading for their car, while another might touch on issues of a restaurant diner’s immigration status, always leaving the viewer with the question, “What Would You Do?”

As we watch the show, and in the discussions afterward, we all give our opinions about what the proper reaction should be, thinking that, if we were there, we would be one of the good folks that would talk with John Q following the scenario.  We would never be the ones who tolerate discrimination or ignore outright need.  We all conclude, by the end of each episode, that we would love to be on the broadcast.  We are looking forward to the day when we are visiting a diner in New Jersey, overhearing a conversation about the travesty of women’s professional sports, only to hear the voice of John Quiñones behind us, saying, “Excuse me, folks, those people are actors….”

It leaves me with a question: would we be better people if we thought our actions and reactions were being watched by others?  On “What Would You Do?”, they always have people who intervene, who care enough to confront the bigotry or bad behavior demonstrated by the show’s actors.  They typically also have people, often whose identities have been digitally obscured, who do nothing or, worse than inaction, are advocates for what most consider to be wrong.  Watching those strong and sensitive strangers defend the defenseless or notice the needy encourages me to do the same, whether anyone is watching or not.

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.  1 Peter 2:12 (ESV)

If you have read this blog before, you might be expecting me to remind you that God sees what you do (which is true), but that is not my takeaway today.  Peter reminds us that those around us see what we are doing, and that every scenario depicted on “What Would You Do?” or played out in real life is an opportunity to reflect the goodness and glory of God.  When we, as followers of Christ, do the right thing – support the figurative and literal widows and orphans, care for the physically and spiritually sick, show compassion for those imprisoned by the system or by the self – we tell all those around us that God loves, and by extension we love, the broken and bruised.  Whether it is broadcast on national television or not, we are always right to address wrong.

I would still like to one day be on the show.  Until then, I will imagine that there are hidden cameras when I overhear absurdity or observe abject poverty.  What would you do?