Thursday, September 30, 2010

Serve and deflect

5:12 p.m. Today's project was to take my grandsons over to the Canyon Crest Towne Center to meet up with my daughter Heather at her office. As an admin at State Senator Bill Emmerson's field office, she solves problems for constituents such as trouble with unemployment, pensions, disability, DMV, housing, any State of California matter. Her cheerful voice, friendliness, and efficiency make her a perfect fit for her job. Diffusing anger and disappointment are much-needed skills here, because when an expected check doesn't come and payments are due, panic can set in and an irate mouth can be set off! She told me today that she receives many thank you notes. That's my girl!!
"When a (wo)man's ways please the LORD, even her enemies will be at peace with her," Proverbs 16:7 says. I have found that to be so true in the world of politics, where my Christian conservative stances, while pleasantly stated, didn't change during my 13-year tenure on the school board. Compromise is all right on values-neutral issues, but with bedrock biblical principles there is no room for it. Those district administrators who began as enemies feeling threatened by the parental uprising I represented, eventually attended re-election fundraisers for me and gave generous campaign contributions. Why? I hadn't changed. But they saw that I would do what was right, even coming to their defense when they were unjustly accused by others. I know of some who began attending Harvest, and others became more open about their faith. The Lord gave me a good run, and I believe Riverside kids received a better education because He called me to serve. at that time.
Speaking of political enemies becoming friends, Xavier and I ran into the wife of a school board member with whom I served for 11 years. Our differences were political, literally at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, even though they are Christians, too. And he is my father's age. But our relationship was always cordial and positive, and his wife even came to a charity event I helped organize, the annual Riverside Alumnae Panhellenic Home Tour Tea and Fashion Show. Steve and I attended a number of formal social and charity events with the couple and always enjoyed their company. There's more to life than politics!
Today at Ralphs grocery store, we hugged and caught up with one another. She hadn't heard about Steve, and was shocked, but was glad I retired early from teaching to spend good time together as a couple before his disease becomes advanced. My former colleague is having two knee replacements soon, and I promised to pray for him. Because of the testimony the Lord has given me, people know I mean what I say. I'll be praying next Wednesday!
Public fights over policy don't have to degenerate into personal disdain and enmity. Walk away friends! Romans 12:14-21 says:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.
Serving the public is hard and sometimes discouraging work. The changes you work hard for come slowly while unwelcome changes devastate millions of fellow citizens in record time!
But remembering that in every situation that we serve the Lord Christ gives us renewed strength to enter the arena another day!

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