How to Cope in These Distressful Days

Posted on July 10, 2018

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By David Ettinger

Note: I wrote this blog shortly after the election of President Trump. I think it still holds true today and is worth taking a gander at.

Lowering the Pulse Rate
Has the recent U.S. Presidential Election gotten your pulse racing? There was enough venom and vitriol flying to agitate people on all points of the political spectrum. And now that Mr. Trump has been elected America’s 45th President, the venom and vitriol, sadly, still remain, and people are stressed.

Unfortunately, this includes Christians. Though the Bible tells you to “Be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6), you nonetheless continue to experience anxiety. Those who voted for Mr. Trump are often labeled as racists, misogynists, homophobes, and stressedxenophobes. To be a Trump supporter is to be a “hater.” Though you try to not let these epithets get to you, they do, and it increases your pulse rate and stirs up feelings of discouragement and anger.

Realistically, there is little chance of this situation abating anytime soon. There is a huge divide in the U.S., and the chasm is ever widening. The sooner you accept this truth the better, and if you do accept it, the next step is to learn how to cope with it. How do you cope with it? You do so by turning to the Word of God, taking counsel from it, and acting upon it.

Jesus Your Great Counselor
I love reading Jesus’ words. What I appreciate most about them is that He never sugar-coated anything by saying, “There, there, now, My dear child, everything will be just fine.” Of course it’s true that everything will be just fine when we leave this world and go to be with Him (Philippians 1:23), but this is not the case now.

Being a follower of Jesus comes at a high price, and Jesus is clear on this. He told His disciples: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (Luke 6:22-23).

In other words, claiming allegiance to Jesus carries with it the “privilege” of being hated, ostracized, insulted, and scorned. This has been the case for the majority of Christians throughout the Church Age, though in the West, such hostility is only now becoming prominent. For Christians in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, this is the norm.

Furthermore, note that when such treatment comes your way, Jesus refers to it as being “blessed.” Yes, it is a blessing to be so vilified for Christ’s sake. It’s not such an honor to handsbe slammed for your political views, but when it comes to being Christ’s follower, you are to embrace such treatment. If the only animosity you are currently facing comes from your conservative worldview (which stems from your Christianity), consider it a precursor to the blessings that will be yours once hatred comes flying your way because you love Jesus.

So, one of the keys to surviving these distressful days is to shift your attitude when contempt is heaved upon you. Remember that Jesus loves you deeply, and has warned you in advance what to expect from the world for loving Him back. Rather than be saddened, angered, or depressed in the face of enmity, thank God that He considers you worthy to be treated in such a way, and that He has “blessed” you so richly. It’s all about attitude.

Be Aggressive
Whereas Luke 6:22-23 is passive in that you are to adjust your attitude in the light of bad treatment, Luke 6:27-28 instructs you how to behave. Jesus says: “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Are you aggressive in doing this? Have you prayed for President Obama? For Hillary Clinton? For Bernie Sanders? I do, and it isn’t easy. Technically, these three individuals are not my enemies, but they definitely hold worldviews I strongly oppose. How about those closer to you who hold radically different worldviews than you? Have some of them expressed their views in unflattering terms that raised your pulse rate? How have you handled that neighbor, workmate, friend, or relative? Did you argue with them, and not so lovingly? Do you detest them and wish they would relocate to the South Pole?

hold handsThis is natural. Jesus, however, is calling you to do the unnatural – to love those you would naturally abhor and pray for them. What should you pray? For me, I pray for my “enemies’” salvation. I pray for the salvation of the Obamas, Clintons, and Sanders’. I don’t go much beyond this, but isn’t this enough? Wouldn’t God have your enemies come to Christ?

Another thing about praying for your “enemies” – it tends to make them less demonic and more “human” in your mind. It is difficult to hate someone you are praying for to be saved. In fact, if you pray long enough, you even come to sympathize with your “enemies,” knowing that their souls are in peril.

So, another way of coping during these distressful days is to pray for those who hate you, disagree with you, and treat you nastily. Let them do the hating; you, as Christ’s faithful followers, are to love your enemies by praying for their salvation.

Jesus’s Way; Not Yours
Doing the above will not only display your love and devotion to Jesus, but it will serve as balm for your soul. You are not to follow the way of this hostile world by returning vitriol for vitriol, but you are to return vitriol with love. You are to follow Jesus’ way and not your own. This is an absolute if you are to cope in these distressful days.