By now, everybody and their mama knows about what’s going on down in Georgia with Bishop Eddie Long. It’s tragic, and it’s disappointing. I believe in “innocent until proven guilty,” but a lot about this situation just doesn’t add up (e.g. the cell phone pictures of the Bishop wearing spandex). I sincerely hope the accusations aren’t true, but would I be surprised if they are? No.
But I’m not here to talk about the accusations. I’m here because, after listening to what Bishop Long said a couple of Sundays ago at his church, some of the words that he shared really impacted me. The words about how we respond to painful situations.
In his message, he said:
We cannot always control and avoid painful situations, but we can control our response to them…
You can CURSE it, and allow the situation to make you bitter.
You can NURSE it, and allow the situation to make you a blamer.
You can REHEARSE it, and allow the situation to be relived and make you a worse person, because you continue to go over it and over it and live in that pain.
Or you can REVERSE it, and allow the situation response to cause you to be better.
There’s so much we can learn from that short part of his message.
Life isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. There will be countless trials and tribulations along the way. But the key is to know how to respond. Like Charles Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”
We can’t always control the situations we’re in. Some things will happen that are just completely out of our control. But we’re always in control of how we respond, and we have to make sure that we respond the right way. With each day that passes, I believe more and more that everything in life happens for a reason; it’s just up to us to try to figure out what the reason is.
Also, on a sidenote, we have to realize that we’re always being watched by others. I talked to someone Saturday night who’s helped me a lot, even though they may not fully understand it. I’ve definitely mistreated this person in the past, to say the least, but I finally got up the nerve to work through the resulting awkwardness and sincerely apologize to them about it Saturday. And then they responded completely in love, not blaming me for anything at all, but instead telling me how they had responded positively to the situation and how it had made them a better person. And then they wished me all the best. Whether they knew it or not, their response was absolutely a blessing to me.
I say all that to say, when you respond positively to a negative situation, it doesn’t always just benefit you. A lot of times, it benefits others as well. Either way, only good things can come out of a positive response.
Whether Bishop Eddie Long is guilty or not, I don’t know for sure. And it really doesn’t matter for me. What I do know is that he was right on target with that part of his message, and I hope that we can all look past his imperfections and appreciate his words for what they’re worth.