Just as Moses made a difference, you
can make a difference in the lives of others-in your
family, school, church, community, and world! The
world needs you -- your ideas, your compassion,
and your spiritual outlook. And, it's never too late
to start contributing. The best gifts are those from
In light of this month's Hot Topic, "Terrorism,"
let's look at how we can work to eliminate terrorism
from our own lives. We can begin our work by understanding
how Moses helped his people learn about God.
God gave Moses a pattern for building a church or
tabernacle in which to worship the one God. Some people
call this structure the Tent of Meeting, since initially
it was a large rectangular tent-like structure. Every
time they camped, the children of Israel located three
tribes on each side of the tabernacle so that the
tabernacle would always be in the middle of their
community, at the center of their lives. The Ark of
the Covenant in which they kept the Ten Commandments
was located in the part of the tabernacle called the
Holy of Holies. This structure symbolized to the people
that God was always in the midst of them.
Ways we can live so that God is in the midst of
our family, school, and community:
- We put God first, praying with gratitude and
listening to Him throughout the day.
- We realize that God is the source of our supply,
happiness, success, health, security, peace, and
- We align our thoughts, speech, and actions with
God so that they cannot help but be good, pure,
kind, tender, and peaceable.
- We listen to God so that we think, do, and say
the right thing. This keeps us safe.
Because we love God, we want to obey His commandments
-- some of which deal with specific forms of terrorism.
last month's Hot Topic to examine all the commandments.
Thou shalt not kill. Ex. 20:13
- Don't kill another's spirit, creativity, joy,
sense of security or accomplishment by criticizing,
making sarcastic remarks, condemning, judging, bullying.
- Rather we should nurture individual expression,
creativity, happiness, success by encouraging, appreciating,
and noticing the good in others.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy
neighbour. Ex. 20:16
- Don't gossip -- ever! Don't spread rumors, talk
bad about someone else, blame others, point out
their faults, ignore them.
- Rather, see the good in others, speak well of
others, make it a habit to point out when others
do well, notice others, correct and stop rumors.
Let's work hard, especially as so many of us are
going back to school, to make these commandments central
to our daily living by obeying them, which puts God
in our midst.
Here are some other ways we can feel that God is
at the center of our lives and help others to feel
the same sense of safety in different circumstances:
Right after 9-11, there were incidents at my
school in which people started calling students
names who were of Arab or Persian origin. There
were also fights. Yet, these students had nothing
to do with the attacks on the Twin Towers. Other
schools and communities confronted this same fear,
racism, and conflict. Such name-calling, bullying,
and fighting is a form of terrorism. How do we stop
- It's helpful to realize that bullying of any
sort (including gang warfare) generally stems
from fear and insecurity. Individuals who call
others names, pick fights, or bully others are
- fearful that they won't get what they want;
- insecure about themselves, their identity,
- scared that they will be attacked in some
way if they don't attack first.
- Instead of becoming a victim of their fear-motivated
threats and attacks by reacting -- fighting back,
calling them names, being scared -- we need to
know that God is in the midst of the situation.
This can be very difficult sometimes.
- But when we know God is in the midst, and truly
turn to Him, then we can hear His voice and know
what appropriate action to take -- whether it
be calling a teacher, administrator, parent, police,
or standing firm and unafraid (or whatever else
God may tell you to do, which might also mean
running) if no one else is around.
Arguing is another form of terrorism. Arguing
would try to take away our peace. When arguments
happen, how do you put God in the midst?
- Read how Daniel
felt safe in the lions' den. Literally, Daniel
could have been torn to shreds. And sometimes
it feels like we are being torn to shreds when
someone is arguing with us. But Daniel felt safe.
- Rather than defending ourselves, we can let
God defend us. We may choose simply to agree to
disagree. The truth will eventually be known.
- Or you could agree to put the argument on hold
and go somewhere where you each can be quiet alone.
During this quiet time, think about everything
that you appreciate about the other person. Then,
when you come back to the discussion (not argument!),
you can speak to each other with loving and gentle
tones. This takes practice and patience!
- Some schools have peer counseling and conflict
resolution classes. You can join the team of those
individuals who work to resolve conflicts harmoniously.
Enjoy protecting yourselves and others from terrorism
by living with God in the midst.