It is appropriate to say thank you to the Forgotten Shepherdess for the vision and strength of purpose to develop this blog. This utilization of technology to give a voice to many who for their own reasons did not feel comfortable with open dialogue found a place to discuss their concerns, needs and feelings. In the book of Daniel we are told, knowledge will increase. (Daniel 12:4). Praise the Lord for this opportunity.
Now that the election is over, how should we thus live? I believe we put into the practice the words found in Colossians 4: 6: Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation; not put them down, not cut them out. (Message). We need to show our concerns for the issues which now lie in front of all of us – leaders and laity alike. It’s evident we all have expectations and ideas of how things should, would, or could be done after the elections. Now is when our religion must have shoes – we must walk the gospel in our lives and behavior not just the words we have been so intent on speaking!
Open dialogue and communication is vital to any relationship. The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, spends much of the book of Proverbs talking about our speech. In fact, he says,” A wise person gets known for insight, gracious words add to one’s reputation…Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. We have the opportunity to create an environment where everyone feels safe in speaking their unique ideas and opinions with the confidence they will be heard and valued. If the Forgotten Shepherdess can launch this process, we can be confident there will be change in this field. Although Christians are challenged to be one, this does not mean there are different approaches and different ideas of how things will be accomplished. We are challenged to be one as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One. They are One in purpose, our salvation, although they all have separate roles to play in the process. I can’t begin to imagine how that works – I just know I’m thankful it does and the price has been paid for my salvation and yours! We aren’t asked to die, but to live in a way which shows the unity of the Godhead in our lives and relationships. We need to remember our words must be leave a good taste, in our mouths and other’s ears. We must energize and not destroy!
Everyone has the need to be valued and heard. We have to provide that respect and listening. Listening is the major part of communication. As opinions, ideas, concepts are shared, take the time to listen with both your hearts and your ears. When we listen to each other, we will understand the pain, frustration as well as joy the speaker is sharing. We will also have to stop what we’re saying and thinking to give full attention to what is being shared. I Thessalonians 5:13 – 16 (Message) “Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time, thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ to live.”
I believe we can live like this and make a change in each and every community where there are members of Southwest Region Conference. The change begins with me – who will join me?