It's becoming increasingly difficult to find my place in this world. According to the President, I don't use the "N word" because I'm simply being polite. My refusal to utter that despicable word couldn't possibly have anything to do with my respect for a fellow human being, could it?
And then there's the Pope, who has an opinion on us Second Amendment supporters. Apparently, I am a hypocritical Christian if I "invest" in the weapons industry. "If you trust only men, you have lost" said the Pontiff, who seemed to imply that all people (the public included) who dealt in weapons were subject to distrust. Supposedly, "we say one thing and do another".
I somehow feel as if Pope Francis is accusing me of "trading in duplicity" by implying that my belief in the commandment to "love my neighbor as myself", while being a licensed, responsible firearms owner (and prepared to defend myself or family against evil) is somehow dishonest to my faith. Did not Jesus give this instruction: let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one? The Christian who wishes to protect his life and that of his family from evil is not violating Biblical love.
So, speaking of hypocrisy ... In his encyclical on climate change, how does His Eminence justify his comment that he "does not mean to 'settle scientific questions', but to open debate" on the subject (in paragraph 188), with the encyclical's proposal of an international body that has the power “to impose sanctions” (paragraph 175) or “impose penalties” (paragraph 214)? Sounds like he's already decided that the climate change argument is valid and he supports punitive action.
By the way, the title of this blog post comes from the Book of Job, and it struck me that as I try to live an upright life, the world wishes to twist and turn my motives and beliefs. Like Job, I sometimes feel as if I am being attacked on all sides, and I find myself wanting to defend my integrity and character. But also like Job, this very stress upon my foundational belief system has strengthened my moral consistency, and I have found that is not necessary to resist the attempts of others to impugn my character.
The world can question and challenge my opinions and actions, but I cannot change my heart and how the Bible tells me to live my life. In other words, I cannot live a life that seems false to me, just in order to conform to the world's agenda.
So no matter that the world thinks they know me, or that they try to define me with labels such as racist, hypocritical, or even homophobic -- I know my heart, and all those labels are unwarranted. But I also know that as long as I remain unchanged and uncorrupted in my moral code, and resolve to live my life righteously (according to God's standards), the world will never understand me or my motives.
Like Job, my integrity and my character will be discredited and maligned. And like Job, whether my friends stand with me or attack me; whether my family understands me or not; and whether the world approves or disapproves of my positions, I will be unwavering in my determination to do right -- no matter what. So there is no need to stand and decry the false accusations. Indeed, it is better to pray for the scales to be lifted from their eyes, and their hearts to be softened.
You see, I don't really care what the world thinks they see in me. I know who I am; and more importantly, I care more about what God sees in me. He knows my heart. Through the work He and the Holy Spirit have done in my life, I have the integrity and the courage to hold true to my convictions to live an honest and upright life.
So let the "kings of the world" define me as they will; their labels are false and unfounded. For those who really care to understand me, my actions will display my character. And I will remain committed to living a life of faith and moral character. I will stake my reputation -- in this world, and the next -- on that steadfast integrity.
Psalm 62:1-2 "Truly my soul waits in silence for God only; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved."