Raif: What will your actions say?

Raif: Our heroes and what they say about us

Gayle Raif on Monday July 13, 2015. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)

Those of us who lived during the World War II years can see huge differences in our society. Even as a child, I could see how my parents and other adults in their circle of friends and at church treated others. Of course, equal treatment of others not in our group or of our color still had a long way to go.

What I’m talking about now is utter hatred being spewed publicly toward others. It’s not only words, it is physical harm as well. It is the idea that you can do what you want, regardless of how anyone else is affected by your words or actions.

However, what is happening now is not just in the U.S. But all over the world. There are wars, dictatorships that deny citizens their God-given rights, and politicians of every stripe, either abdicating their responsibilities to constituents to enable our best-possible society, or looking out for themselves It’s true that the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 has exacerbated our ruthless, cruel, and punitive behavior. We keep hoping it will all end soon, but then new episodes arise.

Additionally, in the past two years we have had catastrophic fires in California and Australia, a devastating cyclone in India, numerous hurricanes, and devastating floods in the U.S. and other countries. Many of us would love to blame someone else for what is happening, so we look for the likeliest politicians, criminals, and sometimes those we just don’t like who we think are responsible for causing or contributing to the acts.

But what if there is an entirely different cause? One we would not think of, and probably not believe? Before I give you my theory, let me ask you to think about how you were disciplined when you were a child, and for what reasons? Usually it was for something you had done or a bad choice you made. But did the punishment simply make you mad because you thought you didn’t do anything wrong, or did it make you change your behavior?

In other words, if you had refused to change on your own, the punishment was necessary to bring about right behavior and attitudes. It was to teach you that “no man is an island.” We have to live and interact with each other.

How many blame God for what is happening to us? After all, He is the one who sends the rain and other catastrophic changes in the weather, or so we believe. We would rather blame God for something for which we don’t want to take responsibility. So God has been patient through eons of humans doing what they wanted without any real thought to what would make the world a better place.

Maybe what is happening is God trying to get our attention. He created a beautiful world where sin did not exist until Adam and Eve ate the apple offered by Satan.

Hogwash, you say. We were not there, but we can see the effects of sin through the ages. God has been trying to get our attention for a very, very long time, but we refuse to believe Him, or even to acknowledge there is a God. Have you ever heard of a human being who can create a world and everything in it? There are those who have tried, such as Hitler. How did that work out?

Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” And verses 22-23: “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

So the question now is: What kind of life do you want? Better than you had? Then what choices are you going to make? What will your new actions say about you?

— Gayle Raif, a Longview resident, is a regular contributor to the Saturday Forum.

Today's Bible verse

“Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

— Galatians 4:6

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