I live in one of New Hampshire’s small villages. From September through May, our population is about 6,000 people, give or take a few. But during June, July, and August, visitors and summer locals swell that number to 40,000-50,000. As a result of the volume of individuals trying to navigate through town, sometimes it gets unpleasant. Drivers blare their horns at jaywalkers and pedestrians holler at cars that don’t yield to them in a crosswalk.
Then there is the current divisiveness going on in the National Football League. Owners, coaches, players, and fans are choosing sides about the right to stand or kneel while the national anthem is presented. And the discussion is, more often than not, contentious. Each feel their “side” is in the right.
Recently, I attended a program at which a large portion of the audience disagreed with the presenter. Many of the attendees were rude and disruptive toward the speaker, insisting they be allowed to exercise their right of free speech to refute his comments. However, these same attendees didn’t want the speaker afforded the same right, and they tried to shout him down and shut him down.
As the night wore on, the crowd’s behavior angered me. My thoughts about them turned critical and judgmental, dare I say it, hateful. Who did they think they were? I didn’t voice my opinions, but they filled my mind.
Then God spoke to me. In the midst of that noisy, packed room his still small voice called me to task. He reminded me that my ugly thoughts were no better than what was being verbalized, and that each person there had been created by him. As such, I was to view them through his eyes.
Ouch! Boy, did my conscience sting. But as humbling as the experience was, in a way it was also freeing. I don’t have to be judge and jury. In fact, I’m not supposed to be. That job is God’s which leaves me to the simple (admittedly not always easy) responsibility to love my neighbor.
No matter which side he or she is on. Something to think about during these times of social unrest.
“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth…So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another…Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.”
Colossians 3: 8, 12 & 14 (NASB)
Linda Shenton Matchett
With a BA in Psychology and Masters in Human Resource Management, Linda Matchett has had a wide and varied career as a crisis counselor, HR generalist, B&B owner and youth center director. She is currently the Front of House, Snackbar & Catering Manager at Brewster Academy. A journalist and blogger, she has written for numerous online and print publications. An author of Christian contemporary and historical fiction, Linda is also a a motivational speaker. Available topics include Life on the (WWII) Home Front, Wartime Baking, Women in the (WWII) Workforce, The Writer’s Life, God in the Workplace, The Proverbs 31 Gal: The Woman We Love to Hate, and Ruth: Lessons from a Foreigner. Linda is a member of First Baptist Church Wolfeboro where she sings in the choir and serves as Church Treasurer and a member of the Fellowship Team.
Read what's happening all around the Region!