words of hope for this volatile time we’re in

March 16, 2016 | 25 comments

It’s messy out there, isn’t it? People are arguing. Politicians are lobbing insults. Fights are breaking out.

It’s not pretty, friends.

In times like these, I am reminded of what Fred Rogers’ mama used to tell him when the news made him scared or sad.

“Look for the helpers,” she told her boy. “You will always find people who are helping.”

That is great advice today, isn’t it? Let’s look for the helpers. Let’s scan for anything that gives us hope at a time when we are desperately in need of it.

One of the things I found was this moment, captured and Tweeted out by David Chalian, the political director of CNN.


The photo, unposed, shows George W. Bush hugging Hillary Clinton. The photo was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral. To me, it represents kindness, civility, and gentleness rising above the rhetoric and nastiness. Some of you may look at that picture and bristle because you strongly dislike one of the people in it. As for me? The photo gives me hope, if even for a moment.

There was something else I saw, just this morning. It was a video, completely unrelated to the election. The video is about three months old, and it first appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America. In the video, one man literally gave the shirt off his back to a homeless man who was shivering from the cold.

“He looked cold, hungry…like he had just gotten beat up,” Joey Resto told ABC News.

 Not only did Joey give the man his shirt,  he helped him put it on. Watch the video here. (Email subscribers may need to head over to my blog to see it.)

The video reminds me of the goodness dwelling inside of people, at a time when it’s easy to believe the worst about humankind. It reminds me about the core of what I believe: That every person matters to God, which means that every person should matter to me — even the people with whom I disagree.

Some of you woke up this morning, elated at the results of last night’s primaries. Some of you woke up very sad and disappointed.

I have friends in both camps — the happy camp and the sad camp. People I know have voted for Donald Trump, for Hillary Clinton, for Ted Cruz, for Bernie Sanders, for John Kasich, and for Marco Rubio. I don’t know which camp you’re in. But I do know this:

We all have an opportunity here, no matter whom we support. Yes, we can look for the helpers. But we can also be the helpers. This election season is going to bring out the worst in some people. But let it bring out the best in us. We can be the ones who step across the aisle, reach across the table, walk across the subway car. This is our opportunity to live what we believe.

This is a chance to live as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Most important of all, this is our opportunity to show people who we really are, and what we really believe. We have a chance to show that our beliefs are not in word alone, but in deed. How we believe ought to change the way that we live and interact with others, in a world desperately in need of the helpers and healing.

Let’s be the helpers.


Your turn:

How can we practically “be the helpers?” Let’s offer our helpful suggestions in the comments!

by | March 16, 2016 | 25 comments


  1. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Oh my goodness, Jennifer. Tears . . . just tears…

    • dukeslee

      Grateful for you, Lynn. I know you’ve been struggling through some of these same issues, and of course, the candidates were just recently in your neck of the woods.

  2. Dolly @ Soulstops.com

    Jennifer: YES! to this: “It reminds me about the core of what I believe: That every person
    matters to God, which means that every person should matter to me — even
    the people with whom I disagree.” If we as followers of Christ could really do this, what a difference we could make…Thank you 🙂 Praying with you, my friend 🙂

    • dukeslee

      Thank you, Dolly. I pray I can live this out, in my everyday life.

  3. Kelly Greer

    I felt hopeful when I saw this photo too. So hopeful!

    • dukeslee

      I love the unposed nature of it. So much that’s happening seems posed, rehearsed. This picture touched something deeper than all of that.

  4. June

    Amen, ” every person matters to God, which means that every person should matter to me — even the people with whom I disagree.” and amen.

    • dukeslee

      I pray earnestly that I can live by my words. In part, because my girls observe my reactions. If I want them to live out the gospel, they need to see me modeling it. I pray that I do. Thank you, June, for being here this week.

  5. Nancy Ruegg

    Oh yes — Let the discussions and controversy bring out the best in us–Holy Spirit wisdom and self-control. Thank you also for that wonderful photo of Pres. Bush and Mrs. Clinton, Jennifer. A powerful image to carry with us through this election season!

    • dukeslee

      The photo symbolized, to me, the greater things that string us together in humankind — the sorts of things that transcend political parties and rhetoric. Thanks for reading along.

  6. Cindy Fincher

    I love this…..I choose to be a helper..

    • dukeslee

      Me, too, Cindy. Thanks for reading along.

  7. Meghan Weyerbacher

    Amen -love this!!!!!

    • dukeslee

      Glad you’ve stopped by Meghan.

  8. riceski

    Well I am not offended at all by the picture but I give the credit to Bush because he is a kind gentle man. Hillary helped murder 4 Americans as she watched or should have watched in real time. You can say what you like but Hillary is running because she knows if she doesn’t or loses – she’s toast. If you think she is somehow equal to G. W. – you have no real common sense what so ever. Have a wonderful it not delusional day.

    • Lisa

      Onviously, you missed the whole message in this article… Hatred, disgust, lies, and inability to see more than one side of any issue is what got us to this point.

      • riceski

        Yes of course only you and those you parrot your understanding on the article ‘got it.’ As you like but then aren’t I giving the ‘more than one side of the issue thingi’ you speak about?

        • dukeslee

          Hey there, Riceski. I’m glad you stopped by and felt free to share your opinion. Just to clarify: I made no remark in the article about the political bend of any particular candidate. My whole aim here is to promote a civility that I see missing from all the rancorous political rhetoric right now. My whole aim in my personal life is to live the message of the gospel. So in that respect, you’re not the first who has accused me of being delusional. If I seem a fool, let me be a fool for Christ.

          • Eliza

            Love it! Brings to mind 1 Corinthians 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
            I love the message of the post too – a great reminder not just to look for the positive in hard situations, but to BE the positive in hard situations

  9. Lux @ About Life and Love

    Oh, it is crazy out there. It’s campaign season here too so it seems chaotic everywhere. Everybody’s got an opinion and don’t want to be on the losing end of the argument. I dare not add to the issues.

    Wish us all a peaceful year.

    • dukeslee

      I am praying for peace too. So grateful that God is still in control, even when everything feels out of control.

  10. Martha Orlando

    Yes! May we all be the helpers. Blessings, Jennifer!

  11. Trudy Den Hoed

    Beautiful, Jennifer. The video is a tearjerker and your words are so loving. Yes! Every person matters to God! Thank you for encouraging us to be helpers, not criticizers.

  12. Alexis Beck

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Every message I got from you this week has both encouraged and convicted me. Thank you for being a helper just by writing- God is doing awesome things through your blog and I’m so thankful He led me here.

  13. Pam Ecrement

    Well said, Jennifer! For all that is negative, we cannot forget that in small ways we each have opportunities every day to “be” different if we stay focused on the One who can make all the difference in EVERY season.



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