It’s spring! Time to pay it forward

In America, we appear to be in the midst of a house divided, and a world that is in disarray. Our leaders can’t seem to agree, but are more than willing to fight the battle for the sake of getting their own way – regardless of what is right for the American people. I don’t like war, but sometimes one has to take a stand against the wrongs of this world.

The Old Testament talks about an eye for an eye, but when reading the New Testament, it speaks of turning the other cheek. Sometimes making the right choice is more difficult than we would like. Jesus speaks of loving your neighbor, but when your neighbor lives counter to your higher morals and value systems, should you extend your hand in peace, or turn away?

It is that situation that we are facing today as a country and a leader of the free world. Do we turn the other cheek, or live by the law set down by God to the Israelites in the Old Testament? When the disciples thought they were protecting Jesus from the children, the Bible tells us that he welcomed the children saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). Then He took the children in His arms and blessed them (verse 16). The Bible tells us that children have a special place in God’s heart and anyone who harms a child is inviting God’s wrath upon himself. I can only hope that this is true.

After seeing babies being loaded into the back of a mini-van, their small lifeless bodies piled against one another, and others gasping for breath, our President has done what I believe should have been done years ago. He sent a message to the Syrian President, Bashar al Assad, and he didn’t draw a red line as a prior warning. At the same time, he has put the North Korean Prime Minister, Kim Jong-un, on notice that the same may happen in his country should he continue to threaten and intimidate the rest of the region’s leaders.

I am not advocating war, and I certainly don’t like the idea of our men and women facing another years long conflict, but I like the idea of America once again taking the position of a world leader, and protecting our helpless and innocent children. And that is what this action by President Trump has done – while some members of Congress cry foul! Others such as McCain and Graham are praising him for his action.

With our Congress divided into the different factions, many questions and accusations have been raised, did Trump need the approval of Congress before sending the missiles into Syria? Should he have attempted to negotiate through diplomatic channels prior to the strike? Is this another war that our men and women will be sent to fight? What will Russia do? Has the gauntlet been thrust down so viciously and so deliberately to prevent any opportunity for a diplomatic negotiation, or for America to be able to retract or pull back? Was this just another diversionary tactic by President Trump to take the focus away from the chaos in the White House and his administration? Will Trump’s opinion of Putin change? What’s next? Will he turn his focus back to what is happening here at home?

Here in our own country there are riots, murders, and people are dying of opioid overdoses. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our health care system remains broken, after school programs and Meals on Wheels are on the chopping block, and the house of representatives can’t seem to agree on anything of a bipartisan nature. All of this at one of the most holy times of the year.

Yes, this is a time of renewal, rebirth, and focusing on the goodness that spring brings. For me, Easter is a time of remembering that all is not lost, forgiveness is here for the asking, and the life and death of Jesus does not have to be in vain. But, we can’t forget those babies.

Whether Congress decides that taking military action against Assad is the right thing to do or not, I believe action must be taken – hopefully it will mean diplomacy and not missiles. But I don’t believe we can allow more children to be killed by poisonous gas, slaughtered in the streets, or starved to death. North Korea is a powder keg waiting for an opportunity to blow, and Syria is a country with a leader who is Putin’s puppet, and one who is killing innocent people by the hundreds. I have not always been a Trump supporter, but today, and for the action he took last week, I can give him the benefit of the doubt – even if for just this once.

So, while we color our eggs, make baskets filled with plastic grass and chocolate bunnies, let us not forget those who won’t be here to enjoy this special time of the year, this time of renewal, rebirth and forgiveness. Let us take a moment to remember the reason for this holy time; a time when as Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross and it has been reported and interpreted that he died for our sins. In today’s vernacular, that might be considered as “paying it forward” – think of the children who died trembling and gasping for air at the hands of Assad; no colored eggs or chocolate bunnies for them. For this, I will support President Trump; I believe his recent actions were a down payment on paying it forward against future atrocities.

From our house to yours, Richard and I wish you a blessed Easter, Sam says woof.

Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to