Archive for the ‘Injustice’ Category

Take This Job and Shove It? Not Me!

https://i0.wp.com/d.yimg.com/a/p/ap/20100810/capt.b229acfa82004f44a807a21d3fa697e8-0ec6d93e55ba41a095bf6d15d9e30408-0.jpgRecently, the world has turned its attention to the “Take-this-job-and-shove-it” fiasco with Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant. If you don’t already know (and I don’t know how you could not), a JetBlue customer was rude and confrontational with Steven, who decided he’d had enough. So he grabbed a beer and exited the plane and his job on the escape slide of the plane. Talk about going out with a bang!

The reason I bring this up is not to discuss the rightness or wrongness of the flight attendant’s actions, but to consider the mind-set that we all can fall into at times. We grow discouraged by the difficulties we face or the persecution we are receiving, and decide to let our feelings and other people’s bad attitudes determine our choices.

Today I was reading in Nehemiah, chapter four. If you’re not familiar, it is the account of how Nehemiah rallied the people of Israel to rebuild the crumbled wall around Jerusalem. But that wasn’t even half of the story. The Israelites faced fierce persecution and criticism from a man named, Sanballat. Sadly, Sanballat and his friends decided to shout out insults to the people about their work and their God. This reminded me of Steven Slater’s situation, however, the response of the Israelites was vastly different.

Don’t get me wrong. There were many Israelites who wanted to give up. There were people who specifically came to Nehemiah wanting to “take this job and shove it.” But Nehemiah encouraged them to “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious,” and to continue to persevere in the face of hardship. Thankfully, the people listened to Nehemiah and trusted God to protect and provide for them. So what about you?

  • Is there a situation where you are discouraged by the problems that keep cropping up?
  • Is there a person who continues to put you down or discourage you in an area of your life?

Honestly, I can relate to the flight attendant’s frustration.  But I want to be a person who does not let other people’s bad behavior determine my response. And in order to do that, I need God to help me to rise above the fray. Are you willing to make that hard, but right commitment?

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Victims can be like Ice Cream or Sour Milk

Sandra Bullock’s been in the news quite a bit lately.  I think I can speak collectively for most Americans that she has our sympathies due to her husband’s betrayal.  We all seem to see her as a victim and feel terribly sorry for her.  If not, you’re either a Nazi sympathizer or really into tattooed porn stars—clearly not my readership!

Sandra is the kind of victim everybody loves.  But as I’ve contemplated this, I’ve realized that not all victims evoke love and compassion from us. I believe there are two very distinct views of victims.

The first group is representative of all the Sandra Bullock’s out there . . .

1.  The “Ben and Jerry’s” Victim

These are the victims who are sweet and creamy very much like “Ben and Jerry’s” ice cream. “B and J” victims win our love and adoration instantly.  We can’t get enough of them and crave their stories because they inspire us to frostier heights!  We feel instantly drawn to them—wanting to scoop them up and lick their wounds like we would a double dip of “Chunky Monkey!

I think what makes a “B and J” victim so appealing—even delicious—is their sweet self-effacement and a cool and forgiving demeanor.  And this is what sets “B and J” victims apart from the rest: they do not whine, pout, or milk the moment.

On the other hand, there are those who, sadly, seem to fall into the second group of victims . . .

2.  The “Sour-Milk” Victim

These victims have the same experience of abuse, neglect, persecution and/or trauma as the “Ben and Jerry’s” victim, but with one exception—they take on a victim mentality.

Unfortunately, it seems this group has allowed the hard knocks of life to sour their disposition rather than sweeten it.  If you encounter them, you’ll discover that they are constantly going into, in the middle of, or just coming out of a major pity party.  Other tell-tale signs of a“Sour Milker” are the need to grumble, mope and, sigh a lotwhich tends to stink up any conversation in a hurry! The problem is that these “S.M.’s” think that if they continue to complain about their abuse, that somehow things will magically change. But the only change occurring is the curdling of your stomach when you have to be around them.  These victims need to quit crying over spilled milk and start mopping it up with the healing power of God.

Now it may seem easy to identify others who fit into one of these two categories.  However, it is really quite difficult to know when you, personally, are in either of these two camps.  If you are a “Ben and Jerry’s Victim, then you probably are so humble that you won’t want to give yourself the credit for making the most out of your tragedy.  And if you are a “Sour Milker,” then you probably are too busy feeling sorry for yourself to notice how annoying it is to everyone else.  So my suggestion would be to pray about it.  God will reveal the true attitude of your heart and give you the ability to make “Ice Cream” out of the “Milk Duds” life has handed you.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)

“For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment.” 1 Peter 2:19 (NLT)

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us  . . .” 2 Corinthians 1:8b-10 (NIV)

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Is the unfairness of life getting you down?

Have you ever heard of the movie, “My Fair Lady?”  I know that there are those of you who are so young that a movie made in 1964 doesn’t even register on your radar! And if it’s a musical, many a male in my life turns glassy eyed and starts groping for the remote!  But indulge me for just a moment as I give you a quick run-down about this classic film.

First of all, My Fair Lady won an incredible eight academy awards, including best picture, best director and best actor in a leading role played by Rex Harrison.  Of course, the darling Audrey Hepburn who played Eliza Doolittle, the “Fair Lady” in the movie, practically stole the show but didn’t even get a nomination.  So I can’t help but wonder if she might have felt, in her heart of hearts, that somehow that just wasn’t fair.  Irony of ironies had occurred.  “My Fair Lady” wasn’t treated quite so fair!

Are you ever tempted to focus on what seems unfair in your life?  I think God doesn’t want us to get bogged down by “the glass is half empty mentality.”  Ironically, fairy tales are not about what’s fair but rather what is unreal.  So why do we allow those unrealistic childhood stories to hi-jack our adult lives?  The Bible boldly reminds us that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).  But many times we let unfair situations steal our joy and end up looking and sounding like “more than a victim, than more than a conqueror!”

Here’s a thought, what if we played “F.A.I.R.?”  In other words, playing fair is: Fully Accepting Imperfect Realities. This acrostic implies that there will be imperfect realities. In fact, the very fact that God says we are more than conquerors implies that we will face battles in this life—unrelenting, terribly tragic, completely confusing and totally unfair issues in life.  Life is messy.  Life on earth is full of pain and countless miserable realities and injustices.  But even with all these troubles, we can rest assured that God is for us.  I know that every single difficulty or trial I have faced, God has lovingly used in my life to grow me up in Him.  In other words, I have a hard head and need a lot of unfair experiences in order to learn to trust God more!

So the next time you are tempted to question why something negative is happening to you or to think, “This just isn’t fair!” Pray this little prayer:

“Lord, I want to Fully Accept Imperfect Realities in my life, so that I can become more like you—a Conqueror!”

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:28 and 37 (NIV)