Devotional for Tuesday July 7th

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Fresh wind, fresh fire”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him to the court, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison.” Matthew 5:25 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Make an effort to understand their perspective.”
 
This morning I want to continue our discussion from yesterday regarding keeping things in perspective and not assuming the worst about people or situations. In Matthew 5:21-25 Jesus taught a lesson about reconciliation and resolving differences by talking to people you disagree with and making an effort to see things from their perspective. In that passage He taught that we should not allow our thinking about other people to be driven by dark emotions (verse 21), nor are we to allow anger or insults to characterize how we speak about people (verse 22), and we are to talk to them and to seek reconciliation (verses 23-25).
 
Making an effort to understand a situation from the perspective of the person you disagree with, can go a long way towards resolving differences and relieving tension and anxiety in everyone. In the book “The Coddling of the American Mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure” the authors explore the problem of the “cancel culture” and the creation of “safe spaces”, and the increasing level of intolerance for opposing ideas found on college campuses these days.
 
Conservatives sometimes derisively refer to those college students as “delicate snowflakes” because they come across as being emotionally fragile. And to a large extent, they are. That’s what the authors discovered in their research. The generation of young people entering college beginning in 2013 have been raised by parents and teachers in an over-protective, risk-free environment that puts maximum focus on safety. This has created a belief in the minds of the young people that they live in a dangerous world where they are always at risk and therefore in need of being protected – even from words and ideas they don’t like.  
 
The research revealed that there are many reasons this has come to be true about them, but one of the most surprising facts that came out in the research is that in some ways it’s true that those students really are at risk of harm. The authors said they were astonished to discover how many real and legitimate threats are actually being made against college students today by alt-right and white supremacist groups on an almost daily basis. FBI files record many hundreds on instances of ugly and virulent online threats posted on campus websites, actual incidents of attacks on campuses, harassing demonstrations by armed alt-right groups on or near campuses, graffiti and posters spread on campuses in the middle of the night, and much more. It turned out that to some degree those college students really do have a reason to be concerned and to feel a dark sense of dread that there are potential enemies in the shadows wanting to do them harm.
 
Of course, none of that excuses the extreme excesses that we witness on college campuses these days in terms of the cancel culture and all that follows from it. But that insight does help us to gain a slightly better understanding of what’s going on inside the heads of those kids we see on the television news reports, and why they sometimes over-react to such an irrational degree. They have been poorly raised by parents, they have been over-protected by educators and administrators, but also, some of their fears are real and legitimate.  
 
A basic truth about human nature holds that “Behind the deed there is always a need”. In other words, there’s a reason people act the way that they do. Making an effort to understand those with a different perspective than yours can go a long way towards gaining an understanding of why they’re acting the way they are, and it can help to resolve some of the differences between us.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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