Parting Ways

Written by Rhonda Alstott
One of the things I’ve personally been working on during this pandemic is my health by focusing on adding healthier foods and more steps to my day. The benefit of this is I have been losing weight. The baggier fit of my clothes, renewed energy and my bathroom scale have been my positive reinforcements in this. The past two days I’ve had my scale give me a hard time. It has told me I have dropped 20 pounds in two days. Now I love good news, but this is great news. Almost too good to be true, so I changed the battery. Same weight…hm… I go to the kitchen and grab a 5 pound bag of flour. I learn my scale has decided to give me faulty information and seems to be lying. My scale and I are parting ways after an 18 year relationship because it’s broken and can’t give me accurate information. I usually donate my belongings to the Salvation Army when I get something new, but sadly I cannot do this with my scale. It will lead the next unsuspecting person astray as well and it might not be for just a few days.

I don’t know about you, but I feel like every day I experience whiplash from hearing something different from the day before…don’t wear a mask/wear a mask, children don’t transmit COVID/children can transmit COVID, don’t trust the numbers/trust the numbers… the list goes on and on. What I do know is that misinformation and conspiracy theories travel faster than the virus itself. I’ve decided that when it comes to deciding whether something is a truth or a lie, I better wait before I post, like, or share because real understanding comes with time. That was true of the prophets and prophecies in scripture. Time showed whether a prophet was telling the truth and time showed whether the prophecy was true. Scripture gives us plenty of examples of what happened to those that were involved in falsehood.

 

When I go back to Genesis and see the story of where sin entered the world (Genesis 3), the serpent enters the scene questioning Eve regarding God’s instructions. When looking at this I’ve always focused on how the serpent took God’s instructions and manipulated them in a way that caused Eve and Adam to partake from the tree causing sin to enter the world, but recently I’ve realized there’s another issue I may have overlooked. A lesson for me is to pause and think that maybe a broader issue than eating the fruit is the issue of who they chose to listen to. Who we listen to is important. Listening to the serpent as authority cost them everything.

 

My question for all of us is this, whose voice are you listening to as your authority?

 

In John 8:44, Jesus tells us himself that Satan is the father of lies. I have spent the past few years of my personal study with scripture in the gospels because it is there that I see the very words of Jesus, a savior I choose to follow. It is in the gospels I see Jesus speak grace and truth into his community where political and religious systems had misrepresented His Father. I see Jesus confront the lies that had been perpetuated by the father of lies and dismantle some strongly held beliefs of his time. Did it cause some discomfort? It sure did. That, along with God’s plan of redemption for us, is what got him arrested, beaten, and killed. God’s plan for redemption was for all nations and people. He has invited us into that work when He invites us into a personal relationship with him. It was his charge to us from the mountaintop in Matthew 28 in giving us His Great Commission.

 

Confession time… there was a time in my personal life that I valued the acquiring of knowledge over my relationship with Christ and those around me. Why? Truth be known, I’ve always had this misconception that knowledge is power. Arguments can be made for or against, but my faith journey has painfully taught me that doing what Jesus says is the real power, not knowledge. Following his voice and doing what His Spirit shows me is the truth I cling to these days. It’s the only comfort I have on some days when I see so much pain and heartbreak inflicted on social media. I ask all of us these two questions:

 

Whose Voice are you listening to?

 

Could I be participating in misleading others in what I share?

 

So for now, I am seeking and setting my mind on things above (Col 3:1-2). I’m focusing on my life that is hidden with Christ and not on the special knowledge some claim to have on social media (Col 3:3). And I’m parting ways with anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk and lies with the help of the Holy Spirit (Col 3:8-9). I’m reading, fact checking, and parting ways with the misuse of knowledge and lies on social and mainstream media, just like I’m parting ways with a scale that can’t tell me the truth, even if I like what it’s saying.

 
 
 

Peace-

Rhonda


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