Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
As I listen to the increasingly divided thoughts from both sides of the political aisle these days, I see more and more how those opposed to facts, stats, and common sense seem to only dig their heels deeper into their stance along with using the usual thought- and debate-stopping mechanisms (any number of classic fallacies) when they can.
As a person always interested in the richness and nuance of words, by nature and profession, I am both amazed and appalled by the way any given statement can be twisted and turned, cherry-picked and spun, to fortify the narrative in the mind of the hearer.
Of course, deep down, many who would spin and obfuscate have another motive, but some seem to be genuinely bound up in the fortress of their beliefs and have been sequestered so long there they seem to sincerely believe what may be, objectively speaking, incorrect.
I think, here, of the young who, in their impressionable immaturity and who know no better, are easily indoctrinated. Sadly, I think also of the young who are easily exploited by any adult because of the power and emotional appeal of using children as mouthpieces.
We do children great injustice by this.
For one poignant example, the teen from Sweden who becomes visibly upset when repeating the frightening rhetoric of the climate crisis mongers. This girl is also a special needs youngster. Speaking as a former special education instructor this a particularly cruel case of child abuse.
Countering the Crazy-Makers
There are few among us, however, who seem to have the quick thinking, intelligence, and verbal facility to be able to withstand and overcome the strength and tenacity of those who would like to fundamentally transform our thinking.
Most of us don’t have the bucks, either, needed to debate on an influential-enough platform.
As believers, however, we have a font of wisdom, knowledge, and support always available, and its effects are far-reaching.
I would add it is also critical to access, so we can successfully avoid ideological and philosophical fortresses of our own and maintaining the “sound mindedness” that is our inheritance through Christ.
What HE Says
In a nutshell, as St. Paul put it (1 Corinthians 2:3-5, NIV) (though it was also difficult for him, a highly educated and articulate man):
3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
As believers, people of faith, we have a higher calling, if we can make ourselves keep this in mind amid the highly distracting–and frustrating–age in which we live. But it’s a calling we were made for, in each our own way.
And God needs us, too, to be about His business–especially now which might be of significance with respect to the end time prophecies.
While 99.99% of us are not called to be apostles or evangelists like St. Paul, we each have our “station,” as it were, to mind and in the context of which we can shine the light of Christ among those we live, work, and socialize.
I’m called to encourage and teach, my sister is an evangelist.
A friend has a gift for hospitality and in her presence you feel noticed and cherished, a welcome–and restorative–necessity in an age when meanness prevails in so many quarters.
Another has a beautiful voice and when she sings it brings people to tears–as they listen to the old hymns embellished with new meaning.
There are also preachers, pastors, administrators, missionaries, financial supporters, and many other ministries, as well.
But some think what they do is not so much.
If that’s you, think about perhaps a time when some small action, word, or something else someone did or said affected you in a significant way as God was drawing you closer.
Just one example in my life is detailed here. This woman had no idea of her effect on me, as related in the anecdote, but why would she? She was just enjoying what she was doing. But affect me she did. As a result, I drew closer to God. Now I can share the story to encourage you, too.
But how does all this calm our minds and spirits?
Whereas as one politician put it once, as a cold threat to his adversary, “They (intelligence communities) have six ways from Sunday at getting (sic) back at you,” Divine Intelligence created Sunday–oh, and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, too.
Evil is clever, smart, brilliant, and powerful, and by “evil” I mean Satan and his minions, but after all, Who created whom?…
God has myriad ways and means to accomplish His will, answer prayers, and reach to the ends of the earth with the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ (which is the ultimate “peace plan”)–even to turning around what some intend for evil to bring about good.
And even what might seem a small contribution on our part can, like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, be multiplied to “feed many” the words of truth, salvation, healing, deliverance, correction, comfort, encouragement, and sound-mindedness at once or over time, as God gives the increase how, when, where, and to whom He will.
In short, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them…” no matter how many, how rich, how clever, or how powerful “they” may be…”because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
With that kind of backing, as we keep our eyes on the prize, our hands to the task, and our spirits attuned to God, it becomes possible to resist that which would trap us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even physically.
It keeps our minds free, our hearts light, and our spirits focused.
And as a bonus, it brings us closer to another promise, this, from Jesus:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
For more posts on survival in these challenging time, I invite you here.