I spent the last few days watching the country react to the presidential vote. I read of a Yale professor who made an exam optional because the professor was “getting many heartfelt notes from students who are in shock over the election returns.”
Yesterday students from American University burned a flag as part of their protest. I suppose they really didn’t think about the name of their University and the respect it deserves as they began the name-calling and standard protest jargon. What a great way to protest the election of a United States President…burn a flag. That accomplishes a lot for their cause.
Protestors took to the streets in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C. and other major cities across the country. I don’t even know what that means. What are they protesting? What’s the argument? That they didn’t get their way? The country voted. So you don’t like the results? That’s life.
I read articles from folks fearing for their safety as a result of the election. Really? Do you believe that because the country has new leadership you are now suddenly going to be physically assaulted? We could sure talk about some countries where physical safety is a real issue but let’s not pretend that election results bring shadows lurking in the dark ready to pounce on you.
Come on now. We need to toughen up and teach our college students how to make a real difference in this world. Let’s grow a spine and move on with life. How will college students function in the world if election results put them in shock? If this is the training students are getting for tuition dollars in colleges across America we are in trouble.
America is supposed to be a leader among nations. Yet here we are protesting, crying, writing letters to our children explaining how this election went wrong, calling each other names, watching news sources write articles about living in Trump’s America. We really need to get a grip. America doesn’t belong to any President. It doesn’t belong to Donald Trump any more than it belonged to Washington, Lincoln or any of our other previous Presidents. This is our America and it’s time we start acting like it.
At Toccoa Falls College we teach students that life is about developing character. We teach students that sometimes we just don’t get our way. We learn to move on to issues where we can make a positive difference in this world.
At Toccoa Falls College we don’t burn flags. We respect our government officials, we don’t go into shock when things don’t go our way, and our students solve problems…they don’t create them.
When is the last time you made a really big mistake? A week ago? Maybe this morning? When you first realized what you did what was your first reaction? Did you try to cover it up or maybe blame someone else? Very few people really goof in a big way and say, you know what? I did that. Well, here are a few ways to recover from your next big mistake (by the way…it’s coming) and get on the right track again after making a mess of something.
Say “I’m Sorry”: If you messed up just admit it. Don’t make excuses and don’t blame someone else. You did it. Take responsibility and say two simple words to others you may have involved in the mess. What are the words? How about “I’m sorry”. Those two words have tremendous power because they show you take the responsibility for what happened.
Learn From Your Mistake: Dr. John Maxwell, a well-known author on leadership issues, wrote an interesting book called Failing Forward. In his book Maxwell says that when you make a big mistake that knocks you to the floor, spend some time down there. In other words, think about the lessons from this mistake and learn not to do it again. Clean up any mess you made while you’re knocked to the floor and then get up. So you cleaned up the mess what next?
Get Over It: OK…so you goofed. We all do. Don’t hang onto a big mistake and become discouraged or lose your confidence. Don’t create great drama around this situation that engulfs your friends. You will only further alienate yourself. Get moving and keep moving. There are other jobs God has for you to accomplish. Living and dwelling in the past is a lonely life.
So…say I’m sorry, learn from your mistake, and get over it. I would much rather live for the exciting plan God has in store for me than dwell over any big mistake that is simply a part of being human.
Let me tell you an old story about a scorpion and a frog. The frog was getting ready to cross the river and the scorpion begged the frog to allow the scorpion to ride on the frog’s back as he crossed. Of course the frog wasn’t very cooperative. He was afraid the scorpion was going to sting him as they were crossing. The scorpion convinced the frog to take him along saying that if he stung him they would both die crossing the river so the frog didn’t need to worry about being stung.
Part way across the river the scorpion stung the frog. Just before both of them drowned, the frog asked the scorpion why he had stung him. What was the scorpion’s response? I just had to. It’s my nature. You see, stinging is what scorpions do. They can’t help it.
When I think of this story, I also think about our nature as followers of Christ. By definition, we should be modeling the behavior of Christ and following His teachings?
On my blog you can see a video of a young boy without any winter coat sitting on a bench in the cold. Some people walk by him and do nothing. Others stop and talk with him. Still others give him their own coats and keep him warm. What behavior would you model?
When people want to gossip and include you, as a follower of Christ, what is your natural response? When someone does something to hurt you, as a follower of Christ, what is your natural response? In other words, by your behaviors, how does anyone even know that you are a follower of Christ? What actions show that by following Christ your very nature has changed and that you are a new creation?
2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us of this, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
So, may I encourage you not to be the scorpion that stings because that is his nature. Rather, be the new creation in Christ and model what it means to be a follower of Christ. Make the Godly characteristics taught in scripture your new nature.
This week I read a story about a dad whose name is Garth. Garth was diagnosed with cancer now for the third time. He was told by his medical team that he has an eight percent chance of living five more years. This news just confirms that there is a really good chance that Garth is soon going to die. Imagine getting that type of news. Imagine looking across the desk at the doctor who tells you that your life is coming to an end. You’re a mom or dad with a young daughter just getting ready to enter high school. What would you do?
Garth decided he was going to do something special. He is writing 826 napkin notes with inspiring words for his daughter whose name is Emma. He will have one note for his daughter’s lunch for every day she is in high school. Let me give you an idea of what his notes say.
One note says this, Dear Emma, sometimes when I need a miracle I look into your eyes and realize I already created one. Love, Dad
So often we wait for tragedy to hit before we let people know how much we care about and love them. It’s easy to get caught up in our own life pressures and forget what the Bible has told us. Take a look at James chapter 4 that says this, How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. The older I get the more I understand the truth in this verse. Life passes so quickly and there is no promise of tomorrow.
Let’s not wait until it is too late to tell others how special they really are. Spend plenty of time with your family. Our children grow all to quickly. Our spouses are growing older each day. At some point, if we live healthy lives, our daily work jobs will be finished and I suspect most of us will wish we had spent more time on some of the things in our life with eternal significance. Go home tonight, hug your family and tell them how special they really are. Your family needs to hear it from you.