Monday, November 19, 2007

A quote from John Steinbeck

I found this quote on the blog of a 13 year old girl - I do not know her personally, but I read her blog regularly because of the struggles she is having. She had posted this quote, and then commented on how true it is for her. So, here is the quote, and I will add my two cents afterwards.

"we fight our way in, and try to buy our way out. We are alert, curious, hopeful, and we take more drugs designed to make us more unaware than any other people. We are self-reliant and at the same time completely dependent. We are aggressive, and defenseless. Americans overindulge their children and do not like them; the children in turn are overly dependent and full of hate for their parents. We are complacent in our possessions, in our houses, in our education; but it is hard to find a man or woman who does not want something better for the next generation.Americans are remarkable kind and hospitable and open with both guests and strangers; and yet they will make a wide circle around the man dying on the pavement. Fortunes are spent getting cats out of trees and dogs out of sewer pipes; but a girl screaming for help in the street draws only slammed doors, close windoww, and silence..... -john steinbeck "

My first response is to read it again. I don't want to admit it is true. The paradoxes included here are unfortunately true of our culture today. So, having finally admitted it is true all too often in our world, I will move on.

Where is the answer to the struggles that we face daily? How do we deal with the emotions that the paragraph above creates in us? I can think of only one answer. I do not want this to sound like a cheesy response to life. It is not a Sunday School answer. It does however come down to my favorite verse (today) in the Old Testament. Micah 6:8 says "And what does the Lord require of you? To have mercy, to love justice, and to walk humbly with your Lord."

I could go on and on about having mercy on people and yet loving justice, because many times these two concepts will be against each other, however, for today I am going to simply stay on the topic at hand. If our hearts, minds, souls, and strength were focused on having mercy, loving justice, and walking humbly with our Lord, then as girls, we would be able to ignore the world around us that reflects selfishness, co-dependence, and hatred for those around us, and would be able to focus more on doing our part, one person at a time, to turn the tide. So that our generations, and the generations behind us would truly be able to have a better understanding of who our Lord is. It is not just enough to "want" a better life for those who come behind us. We must take steps to make it better. In that, I am not referring to more money, more comfortable lifestyles, I am talking about a closer, deeper, stronger walk with our Lord. I am talking about loving people so much that it is worth a sacrifice on your part if they may come to know Christ. I am talking about making your generation, and the generation better because they have the hope of eternity with Christ! I am talking about living more for the next world and less for today. As is discussed here, it is not easy to stay focused on the world around you and yet have the longing for the world to come is a challenge. I am not saying ANY of this should be easy. I am saying though, that in order for us to take steps so that the quote above is no longer true about us, we cannot simply blame the generation before us, we MUST take steps ourselves.

Do you know the girl in the last sentence? Do you know of one that is crying in the streets? in your school? at your job? One who has had many doors of life closed in on her? You might have before looked at her and felt sorry for her, even made fun of her because she doesn't have rhythm to be a cheerleader, or the talent to be in the band, or the athletic ability to play softball or run track. She may be hurting on the inside. She may need someone, anyone to just walk up to her and honestly ask how she is doing. It might change her life to know that someone cares about her. She may not look as cool as you want her to. She may not dress in the newest clothes, there is no telling what the rumors are about her. But the truth is this. Jesus died for her just like He died for you. Jesus loves her as much as He loves you. He sees her heart and He sees yours. Take a moment, speak to her today.

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