Daily Devotions

The Sin of Separation

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And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

I am deeply concerned for the children of immigrants who have been forcibly separated from their parents by our country. This is a spiritual issue, because it undermines the ability of those children to remain healthy individuals in the years to come. The trauma our leaders have caused these children is massive. It is also a human rights issue that will negatively affect not only the children in their countries, but also our own.

According to an article in Popular Science magazine, by Nicole Wetsman, “Most research has focused on changes to genes involved with the receptors that regulate the stress hormone cortisol. The changes in those genes, noted in both human and rodent studies, cause cortisol levels to stay elevated far longer during stressful events, and make it harder for the body to relax. ‘Childhood trauma, then, reshapes how the body responds to stress long-term, across the lifetime,’ Ressler says. That deregulation of the healthy stress pathways leaves people at risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders.” Our nation’s sinful actions have left thousands of children with psychiatric disorders for decades to come.

Prayer is always important but cannot be our only answer. Our leaders have made a terrible decision that has enormous implications for our future. Any number of these hurting children will grow up to be bitter and hurting adults. If we stick our heads in the sand and pretend we didn’t commit ethical crimes, in about twenty years, we will have thousands more people, in surrounding nations hating our country and its citizens. Some of these hurt individuals will have positions of influence and will turn their angst in our direction.

Dear friends, our obligation extends beyond simply trying to reunite these children with their parents. We need to discuss reparations for their physical and mental health care. We need to publicly acknowledge our poor decisions and seek forgiveness, while humbly treating those we’ve harmed with respect and dignity. If we do not, I am concerned that our children will pay a great price for generations to come. God expects us to address this justice issue and make a lasting difference for good, rather than ill.

Road Rage

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One who is quick-tempered acts foolishly, and the schemer is hated. (Proverbs 14:17)

Nico Ryan, in his article “How Emotional Trauma Drives Nearly Everything We Do,” describes being chased in a road-rage incident. “In a rage-filled tirade, the driver in the car next to me screams in my direction as he tries to force me off the road and into a nearby gas station.” Nico survived the incident and began putting it into perspective.

Nico realized, “Every one of us is in pain; every one of us wants to be loved. We act the way we act because we want the hurting to stop.” The scary driver’s actions were not about a particular driving incident, but about his level of internal pain. When we act out our rage, we are letting our pain seep out in uncontrolled ways.

Since we all experience pain, the issue becomes how we choose to respond to the pain that makes all the difference. Faithfully acknowledging the pain within us is the way through it and takes us to a place where we no longer need to lash out at others to relieve our own pain. Recognizing and facing our pain takes courage, but it is the only way to a happy, healthy life.

Today, take a few moments to reflect on your level of agitation. Is road rage a typical response? How patient are you with the irritations of others? How often do you put yourself down? Questions like this help provide a baseline for the pain in our lives. Then, begin to address the pain, which will help reduce its impact on you and those around you. We do not need to live with the rage any longer.

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