Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two Very Different Words

It is very easy in this information age to become calloused to the constant droning of voices we hear reporting the news.  We live in an age of information overload.  I know things about people that I wish I didn't, private things that are splashed on the front of newspapers and magazines, or on teasers for the nightly news.  I know terrifying things that cause my heart to race and cause me to look over my shoulder.  I know nonsense things that aren't really news, but on a slow day anything is game.  And occasionally, we even hear about sweet and wonderful things that make our hearts happy.
These last couple of weeks the word that comes to my mind for the news being reported is SELFISH. The dictionary defines the word selfish as: a person, action or motive lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.  I know most of us can probably conjure up a few names or scenarios right now.  Traveling within the quarantine period after being exposed to a contagious disease?  Not taking measures to contain a problem to the fewest number of people? Misrepresenting the facts to manipulate the public?  Over and over this week my mind keeps asking, "Why?"  "What is really going on?" "Is there anyone with common sense and compassion for people left?"
There is another word that looks similar to SELFISH but has an altogether  different meaning.  The word is SELFLESS.  Selfless is defined as: concerned more with the wishes and needs of others than one's own; unselfish.  I can think of names and scenarios for this word also.  The healthcare workers who were unprepared, but cared for the first Ebola patient in the US, who by the way lied to be able to come here for medical care (selfish).  The airline workers, including flight attendants, pilots, baggage handlers and mechanics who are working on planes that may have transported ill travelers who were cleared by the CDC to travel.  People who are just being faithful to do their jobs, believing that someone, either management or government, is looking out for them.  Unfortunately, and obviously not true,
I have a similar, although much less frightening story from my own life.  When I was in HS I contracted hepatitis.  I was very sick and had to be quarantined.  My family members and co-workers had to take shots to prevent the spread of the disease.  To this day, over thirty have passed, I still warn medical care professionals about my history with hepatitis.  I don't give blood.  I don't get tattoos.  I don't want to do anything that would possible infect another person.  I am blessed that my hepatitis has never converted to Hep C.  Isn't that what I should do?  Isn't that common sense?
God's word is clear on this.  If we say we love God but neglect our neighbor we are a liar.  It also says we must not think too much of ourselves; to treat our neighbor as we would like to be treated.  Today, take a few minutes and pray for those in authority over us.  Pray for those who are directing the decisions being made re: protecting our nation.  It may be your loved one who is exposed.  But regardless of that, pray for God to expose selfish motives in each of us and to change us into selfless believers.   Pray for each of us to speak the truth to each other.  And pray for the health and safety of those who are battling on the front lines.