I hardly know what to say about the times in which we live. Sometimes I think the famous lines from the beginning of Charles Dickins’ A Tale of Two Cites are very much up-to-date. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity."
As we go forward on our journey through these uncertain times, I would like to suggest three resolutions we should make. It’s not too late to make resolutions you know.
First, be thoughtful. I do not mean that we should tolerate anything and everything. Some things are wrong and will never be right. But, we must understand that not everyone feels the same way we do. Our recent election well illustrates that point.
The Golden Rule calls upon us to treat others as we would wish to be treated (cf. Matt. 7:12). Calling people names, challenging people’s intellect, making disparaging remarks about those who think differently than we do, and using racial slurs hardly qualifies as "Golden Rule" kind of stuff.
In this new year, let’s resolve to be more thoughtful of others.
Second, be hopeful. I am not Chicken Little, and I do not believe the sky is falling. This does not mean that I am ignoring the challenges we face as individuals, communities, a nation, or the world. There are many of them, and they are serious.
My fear is that we can become so obsessed with the problems we face that we fail to see the opportunities. We dwell so much on the issues that divide us that we fail to even consider the issues that could bring us together. We see and hear so much bad news that we are blind and deaf to the good news.
Why be hopeful? Just as there are bad people in the world, there are good people in the world. The human spirit is indomitable. And, besides that, God is sovereign and His will always ultimately prevails. He has not, nor will He ever, forsake His people.
In this new year, let’s resolve to be more hopeful.
Third, be prayerful. The older I get, the more I realize how much I need God’s presence and power in my life. I believe we need that in our world, too. So, let’s seek His will through prayer. And, having found that will, let’s be sure to do what He says.
Pray for all who are poor and downtrodden. Pray for those who are being persecuted by evil despots. Pray for those who suffer pains of every kind. Pray for those who lay their lives on the line, both at home and abroad, to keep us safe. Pray for our leaders. Pray for those who do not know what it is like to be at peace in their hearts because of Jesus. Pray for families that are torn apart. Pray for those who experience horrors that we can’t even imagine. Pray that each one of us might have clean hands and pure hearts. Pray, pray, pray.
In this new year, let’s resolve to be more prayerful.