Friday, October 2, 2020

Charity Over All by Melinda V. Inman

Meme that says Writer  Life

Charity Over All 

God has us here for a purpose. He has given us the task of writing what is good, what is right, and what is pleasing to him. We have a mission from God during this time of upheaval, just as writers did during the 9/11 disaster, the Civil Rights Movement, previous times of war, and other national crises during and before our lifetimes.

As Coretta Scott King said, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.” Where do we fit in the struggle?

Writers are essential. Someone must proclaim the truth. Someone must relay the facts. Someone must inspire people to continue to go forward during the most difficult times of our nation. Someone must motivate others toward love and good deeds.

That is us. We have been given this task. This is our sacred duty. How will we fulfill it?

Peace and tranquility seem to be in the distant past. In the sixties and early seventies similar strife threatened to tear apart our country. Racial protests, then and now, were sparked by egregious wrongs that must be righted. These require creative solutions.

Combative political discourse enflames the situation, making it nearly impossible to find common ground. And then, there’s the pandemic, which somehow became politicized, thus decreasing our nation’s ability to combat it, and so, we now have over 200,000 dead loved ones.

How can peace possibly enter this situation? Where do we find hope?

A lesson from the past is informative. Richard Baxter was an English Puritan pastor who lived from 1615-1691, a time of great difficulty in England and in Scotland with Protestants and Catholics pitted against one another during the reign of Charles II.

Many pastors were put to death or imprisoned, often for simply not following governmental restrictions about where they were allowed to preach and to meet. And yet during this time, Richard Baxter established a rare path of peace.

Richard Baxter lived this: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in both, charity.” This is broader, yet somewhat similar to what Martin Luther said: “Peace, if possible; truth, at all costs.”

Meme about charity

These quotes only matter to us if we believe in objective truth. As followers of Christ, we do.

We believe in the Word of God and the promises contained therein. The earliest creeds spell out the essentials, the truths, of our professions of faith. The Apostles’ Creed and The Lord’s Prayer, for instance, profess the most basic essentials of Christian faith.

So, how do we apply these truths to our choices and our political decisions when all the news outlets only give shaded versions of the truth, or, in essence, commentary? How much time do we spend fact checking before retweeting or posting something we’ve read?

In essentials, unity. Peace, if possible.

Truth, at all costs. In non-essentials, liberty.

Charity over all. Charity means love, kindness, compassion, believing the best of others, and choosing to prioritize unity and oneness with others during a disagreement.

What are societal essentials? Consider some of the political and social fights occurring right now.

Do personal preferences and insistence on having our own way drive these conflicts? Do we display hypocrisy in our position, refusing to do what’s best for others in a situation, when we have insisted that others do so toward us in the past? Is this even something we should be fighting about or causing division over, rather than seeking the greater good for all?

What is our motive in all of this? What are the Lord’s most important directives to us? How can we be Christian peacemakers?

“Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these’” (Mark 12:29-31 ESV).

During this difficult time, let’s adhere to these greatest commands, aiming our readers toward unity, tolerance, kindness, and love. Let’s be the voice of peace and hope. 

In essentials, unity. Peace, if possible. Truth, at all costs. In non-essentials, liberty. Charity over all. Believe the best of others. Prioritize unity and oneness during a disagreement. #Write #SeriouslyWrite #KindnessMatters via @MelindaVInman

Becoming Christian peacemakers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength...You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 9:30-31a). via @MelindaVInman

During this difficult time, let’s love our neighbors as ourselves, aiming our readers toward unity, tolerance, kindness, and love. Let’s be the voice of peace and hope. #SeriouslyWrite #WritingCommunity via @MelindaVInman

The Shadows Come

Sequel to No Longer Alone 
(WW1 Based on a True Story)

Germany threatens all of Europe. Millions have died. President Woodrow Wilson makes the declaration that the United States must enter the Great War to rescue our allies. Congress approves. Our story begins. In America’s heartland, everyone hunkers down to provide food for the world and resources for the war effort. A draft is necessary, and all young men must register. One by one, these are called to war. With this threat looming, Prentis and Avery raise the necessary horsepower, cultivate the needed crops, and contribute their labors to the Red Cross.

But crises at home, an insidious busybody, and one after another called up to fight in Europe bring the greatest dangers they’ve ever faced together. Then there’s the influenza pandemic. Will they survive the war abroad and the war being waged at home, threatening their love and their lives? Will their loved ones make it home again? 

Raised on the Oklahoma plains in a storytelling family, Melinda now spins tales from her writer’s cave in the South. Her fiction illustrates our human story, wrestling with our brokenness and the storms that wreak havoc in our lives.


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  1. First comment by the author: As always when I write, I am preaching to myself. A heated debate broke out on my Facebook profile after the debate. In light of the President and the First Lady’s diagnosis of COVID19, we pause to pray, regardless of our differences. Who knew that on the day this article published, we would have the opportunity to apply charity toward all, here toward the President and his family? Who knew? God knew!

    1. Yes...grace, grace, grace ... for all. This is definitely a time when we all need to give charity and grace to those we disagree with. This is such a heated time in our country. My heart hurts for our nation.

    2. My heart has hurt for our nation, too, Dawn, and the current hostilities and the vitriolic campaign and the impact of the pandemic. Our nation must be brought before the Lord in prayer, and we must ask for grace to treat one another with kindness. These are challenging times.

  2. I love that quote about liberty in non-essentials. In the classes that I teach, I often quote that because it’s true. As the body of believers we must learn to be full of grace towards one another on things that have the potential to be divisive but shouldn’t be. Great post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your heart for peace.

    1. Lisa, I ask the Lord for guidance before I write every Seriously Write post. And when I do, I find that he often has me preaching to myself. If I need these reminders and this encouragement, then surely others do, too. These kind and gracious reactions are more challenging this year than I ever remember in the past. May the Lord give us the grace to be gracious toward one another and to be flexible with those non-essentials.

  3. Amen, Melinda! This article is most needed during this tumultuous time. I agree with you when you say, "Charity over all. Charity means love, kindness, compassion, believing the best of others, and choosing to prioritize unity and oneness with others during a disagreement." Believing the best of others stood out. As sinful humans we often go the worst instead of seeking the best. At a time like this, we need the Holy Spirit to take over our selfish thoughts and we need to submit to his grace. Great read!

    1. Oh my goodness, yes, Marcie! We do NEED the Holy Spirit to convict and to lead and to fill us with love and to work together all of this for good! If you read my comment after the post, you saw what a mess can happen in this volatile time. When the Lord leads, it always turns out that he’s having me preach to myself!

  4. Thank you, Melinda for speaking truth about truth.
    Words for me not just to praise in theory, but to apply in practice . .. today!

    1. The Lord usually has me preaching to myself when he inspires my posts, Ava, and in this case, I am with you. These words must be applied, put to practice, and lived, if we are ever to have unity and harmony in our nation. Christians must love and act in kindness. And pray.

  5. Wow. Melinda, such a powerful message for us in this hour. I loved this: In essentials, unity. Peace, if possible. Truth, at all costs. In non-essentials, liberty. Charity over all."
    As Christians, we cannot depart from the truth of God's Word. More and more, I find this puts me at odds with almost everyone in my life. For most are choosing culture over scripture. But I pray I can live our the kindness of Jesus as my most memorable apologetics. I am torn between crying out for Jesus to come quickly and for Jesus to wait so more can be saved. May our hearts stay near our Savior through it all.

    1. Melissa, my husband and I were praying together today about all of this, and we bounced back and forth between those same requests you mentioned. The Lord always astonishes me when he leads me to write. I typically end up preaching to myself -- that part isn't astonishing, for it seems that it's always the case. If I need this message, then so surely do others, for the sins and flaws we have are common to man.

      But, this time I was particularly amazed. At midnight I was on Twitter as the news was posted about the president and the first lady. The discourse was violent and cruel. I was astonished at what some of us were saying, and I realized that we've all had the mask of hypocrisy torn right off our faces by this pandemic and all of this strife. Honesty is good. But cruelty is not.

      This is where we must grow, where we must cry out to the Lord for help to practice kindness and charity, where we as believers must surely learn to shine. The Lord had already orchestrated this post for today. He's amazing! I've wept a lot today.

  6. Amen. I pray I use the gift of writing to encourage others to draw closer to God.

    1. This is our solemn responsibility now and at all times! Thank you for summarizing this all so succinctly, Melissa!

  7. Amen. I too believe it is so important to use our gift of writing to help others. Great blog and much needed at this time in history

  8. Yvonne, thank you for sharing your thoughts! With conflict rife in our politics and our management of this pandemic, we have such a need to call upon the wisdom of God’s Word and the peace-seeking tactics of previous generations of believers. Their actions call upon our better natures and godly and peace-loving character born of our faith.

  9. I love what you said: wen you write, you are preaching to yourself I also get the drive to write based on issues I struggle with myself! We have an opportunity to be united right now. To pray for those we don't necessarily "like" or agree with. When we unite and strive for peace, Christ can be glorified and the devil's mucking around, casting doubt, etc., doesn't get a foothold.


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