Source: Sherman Publications

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Spiritual matters
Turn to God in times of uncertainty

August 10, 2011

We are living in a very interesting time. For the United States, this is probably one of the more serious times in our history.

Although we are not in a "great depression," as we were in the 1930's, we are certainly in the same pressure cooker of distress. From the economic crisis, to the world order being threatened by the lack of certainty in the future—we certainly should see the danger of the time.

Looking back, we must remember how people respond to crisis when the fear of uncertainty begins to motivate behavior. Political upheaval is a very real possibility.

One of the most important things that we must be careful of is a victim mentality. This is what led to the rise of hate that motivated the Holocaust and World War II. In order to manipulate the Germans, Hitler convinced them that they were victims of Jewish "conspiracies" and that their economic problems were the result of the mistreatment at the end of World War I.

Hatred and the sense of getting even made them become blinded to the evil of Nazism and Hitler. The Germans were not the exceptions. Violent responses due to anger turned the world upside down. There were many dictators sitting on the sidelines waiting for their opportunity to seize power. Many nations had entered into economic wars through trade protections and other forms of barriers, as people saw their problems from a victim mentality rather than from a perspective of personal responsibility.

Animosity and anger are on the rise in our country and we must be very careful not to allow these emotions to gain a foothold in our minds.

If we allow this, we will respond from our feelings rather the rational thought, which will only create more problems in the end. If we see ourselves as victims, we will go on the defense, or even still, we may go off the offense.

The struggles resulting could implode our world, much like what happened at the onset of World War II. The conflicts over retirement age and benefits could pit the young against the old. Unemployment could pit the hard up against immigrants, legal or undocumented, as so often has been the case in history.

The have-nots could turn on those who have resources, or are not suffering, because we are drawn into comparisons with other people. These are just a few of the causes of both the rise of Nazism and the ensuing conflict with communism that lasted for 60 years. Have we learned any lessons from the past?

We need to be mindful of the past and set our eyes on the goals for our future, with proper planning and personal accountability. In fact, the greatest contributor to our present dilemma is the lack of long-term planning.

Whether government, industry, or individuals; people have forsaken long-term planning for immediate satisfaction or results. Now, we are reaping the harvest of short-term planning and the worst thing we can do is try to come up with a short-term solution. Emotional thinking promotes immediate reactions, motivated by a need for immediate satisfaction.

The Bible says it like this in Hebrews 12:15, "looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears."

The Rev. Loren Covarrubias is pastor of Mt. Zion Church.