“I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love…” ~Michael Jackson
Have you ever wondered if you are part of the problem? I have. I was. Listen carefully.
Fayette County. What do you think of when you hear those words?
Fascinating history; purple mountains capped with snow in the winter, every hue in autumn, unique wildlife, and beautiful greenery in the spring and summer; opportunities to serve the less fortunate; faces who need my encouragement; great talent; natural wonders; friends; beautiful people.
I could go on. I bet you could, too. I know you could, in fact, because I see you shake your head. I hear you almost everywhere I go. You say other things, though – the things I used to say.
Obesity; welfare; ignorance; entitlement; drugs; crime; ugliness; deceit; poverty; teen pregnancy; domestic abuse; violence; fatherless children; deadbeat dads; strife; junkies; homelessness; discontentment; complaining; child abuse; hopelessness; despair; depression; wastefulness; trash; lazy people; unworthiness; bitterness; resentment.
Is there more to the story than we see? Why, of all the places on this vast universe Our Creator could have put us, did he chose this one? There is a reason, readers, and it is not to give us a superiority or and inferiority complex.
“Who am I to be blind pretending not to see their need?” ~Michael Jackson
In my opinion, there is exactly one problem in Fayette County. One. Yes, this one trumps them all. It knows no color or class. It infiltrates them all. It is a problem I have had my entire life. I am a native, after all. That problem is properly termed “entitlement.”
Entitle: verb 1. to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim.
Claim: verb 1. to demand by or as by virtue of a right; demand as a right or as due: to claim an estate by inheritance. 2. to assert and demand the recognition of (a right, title, possession, etc.); assert one’s right to: to claim payment for services. 3. to assert or maintain as a fact. 4. to require as due or fitting.
When a person believes she deserves more, better, faster, newer, nicer, than what she has already been so graciously given, she stalls out. Whether that already is a dry crust of bread or a meal fit for a king, it really makes no difference. One who cannot be content with little will scarcely ever be content with much. Her attitude shifts with every whim. There can be no gratitude. No thanks can be given in exchange for good things. That person is ever discontent. Her glass is always half empty. She never stops to think that she is the one who drank the other half and failed to appreciate it. She never sees the amazing gifts that have been placed in her hands. She is greedy. She is spoiled. She sees blessings as burdens. She sees opportunities as intruders.
Oh! How dark our lives become when we fail to look for what’s right in the world! We cannot deny what is wrong, but we can use our positivity to help change it. Or, we can complain. We can grumble. We can blameshift. We can look down upon. We can shake our heads and we can hate.
Fayette County, it is a choice. No one and nothing can make you bitter, unhappy, dissatisfied, or disgusted. Those attitudes are choices. I know because I had them all. They belong to the entitled.
I don’t know about you, but I want to play for the other team – the one known as “Thankful.”
Thankful. Thankful to whom? God. The gospel. Restoration. Redemption. Yes, redemption. Even for a county the whole world hates. Even for a girl who hated the whole world.
Then sings my soul! My Savior, God, to Thee! How great Thou art!
Are you part of the problem? I was. And I am here to say I am so, so sorry. I need to ask your forgiveness. I live in a beautiful place with beautiful people who need exactly what God, in his infinite grace, just so happened to give specifically to me – a beautiful smile. I’m never going to stop using it, Fayette County, because I love you and I love your people. I pray the Lord will use me to give you and your children hope.
Please don’t shake your head at me. Remember that once upon a time the God of the Universe lived in a throw away town that everyone loved to hate, too.
Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. ~John 1:44-46