“The wisest person I ever met in my life, a third-grade dropout.”
Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby. And, now, Dr. Rick.
Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. Thank you so much for joining us today. I want to talk to you with a very heavy heart. We are taping this particular episode right in the midst of a global pandemic. If that weren't enough, America is under siege. The United States right now is in chaos and it is at this particular time that I want to challenge each and every one of us to be agents of hope. [01:00.0]
We're in the midst of a world pandemic. We are, in the United States of America, experiencing horrific scenes played out every day and every night in all of our major cities. It's hard to believe that it's been a week ago, but what a week it has been here in the United States of America. America is in chaos.
A week ago today, a 46-year-old father of two, George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minn., while in police custody. What happened in Minneapolis, inhumane. What's happening on the streets of America, unconscionable.
The rioting and the looting all throughout the United States is just a devastating, devastating scene, and not to mention loss of life, millions, if not billions in property damage. Thousands of arrests. Buildings burned to the ground. Tear gas in the air. Looters storming stores. The National Guard activated in 26 States. Forty cities have already imposed curfews. It could go higher. [02:15.2]
I am all for protests. I taught the amendments of the Constitution of the United States as a college professor. I believe in the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment guarantees us the right to freedom of expression. That's Article 10. Article 11 guarantees us the right for peaceful assembly. You see, we have the right to protest for that which we believe is right. I completely agree with that, but we don't have the right to commit violence and to burn down cities.
Friends, I want to tell you something. It is so important to each and every one of us to seek redress through peaceful channels and not tear us apart.
I don't live in a distant land that is divided. I live in the United States of America, and whether we're brown, black, or white, we are still God's children and we're still Americans. [03:12.8]
And I think what I'm saying is I'm calling all of us Americans to act like a family. What did you say, Abraham Lincoln? A house divided cannot and will not stand.
The scene last Monday was horrific and inhumane. The scenes on the streets of America today, just unimaginable. You see, the problem I believe with the looting and the problem with all the violence is it's counterproductive. It removes and blocks the focus from what the focus ought beyond.
We need a meaningful sustaining dialogue with reasoned people from every sector who can work toward solutions with regard to the way in which we treat one another, and the way in which we can live together in unity and harmony in the United States of America. [04:13.9]
But we can't even get to that because it's being blocked. It's being blocked by this rampage of violence that's all throughout the land. It's counterproductive, friends, and I think it's up to the judicial system in Minnesota to seek justice. But it's up to each and every one of us to do our part, to seek peace. I believe that with all my heart and I also believe that peace begins with hope.
I've said for the last three years that hope places a transformative demand upon our heart to believe for the absolute best outcome, regardless of what we see, regardless of what we feel, regardless of the weight of the injustices. [05:03.1]
We still have to have hope, friends, regardless of the pandemic, regardless of the death count, regardless of the buildings that are burning in the streets and in the cities of the United States. Friend, each of us has the responsibility to have hope that we're better than this, that we can believe for an absolute better outcome.
I love this quote. I believe it with all my heart. “There was never a night or a problem that could defeat a sunrise or hope.” I really believed that with all my heart. When we have hope, we have the beginnings of peace. When we have hope, we have the beginnings of justice.
What I'm seeing all across America are people who seem to have no hope, no reason for which to hope. Now, I get that. I understand that. Believe me, I've been dealing with race relations my whole life. But that's not a justification for violence and looting. [06:05.5]
Friends, let us come together. Let us come together as a people. Let us come together. I was listening to the news this morning and I'm looking for any glimmer of hope I can find. And I found one in the words of presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Right Reverend Michael Curry. Listen to what he said.
He said, “We must choose love. He said the opposite of love is not hate; it's selfishness. He said these words: “I'm going to live an unselfish life that seeks the good of others, as well as my good. And when we do that, we all win.” Boy, I like that.
He also went on and made a very powerful statement. He said, “Protesters and police, we're all children of God.” I would include protesters and police, and all of us bystanders, we're all children of God and we have to figure out how we can live together. [07:09.2]
And he said, these concluding words: “We have to make a choice to work together for the good of others.” There it is right there, friend. We have to make a choice to work together for the good of others. We must make a choice.
Martin Luther King said some powerful words 60 years ago, when he uttered these words: We’ll “either learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.” We have to make a choice.
We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. You see hope demands a choice. What did you say, Winston Churchill? Fear is a reaction; courage is a choice. And now is the time for every single one of us to stop saying we're not involved. Now is the time for every single one of us to rise up and to do whatever we can to offer hope to a hurting world, to offer hope to a hurting community, to offer hope to people who feel hopeless. [08:25.0]
Fiends, we are the United States of America. I'm talking specifically to those of us in America. We are family. We are citizens together. Come, let us reason together, sayeth the Lord. Now is the time.
Here’s the way that we can choose hope in a very simple way. Look for hopeful signs. I just wrote a couple down. A young man on television, that young little fella singing a song. Look for hopeful signs.
How about this in Flint, Mich.? A sheriff taking off his rioting gear and making a choice to unite with the protestors and march. [09:07.6]
How about this? Did any of you see these pictures of police, several police, bowing down on their knees in prayer? We have to look for signs of hope that encourage our hearts.
How about this? How about that peaceful assembly in Denver yesterday? Did y'all see that? We have to look for them.
Friends, I still believe in hope. I believe that we're better than this, America. And I believe that when we realized that we can't accomplish anything through violence, and through looting and bloodshed, but that we have to come together in a very peaceful assembly, which is our right, it opens the door to the possibilities of what Martin King called “living in the beloved community.”
I think my baby brother said it best and I'm so proud of him. Judge Robert Rigsby is a Superior Court judge in the District of Columbia. He’s a career army man, a retired colonel in the United States Army. And we talked this morning on the phone before he took the bench and he shared with me something that he wrote just this morning. [10:22.1]
Let me share a portion of what my brother wrote this morning. Judge Rigsby wrote this. Now, keep in mind, he's been all over the world in his career in the army. He said, “Scenes from various American cities remind me of my time in Iraq and in Kuwait, and in Afghanistan, Africa and Korea. I am optimistic that our country will fulfill its promise to all people. Be intentional today. Be that beacon of hope, with love in your heart with God's word in your mind, knowing that we will get through this together.” [11:00.4]
I like this next line. “We are America, not black America, not brown America, not white America. We are America. Let us use our intellect, our collective voices, our right to peacefully protest to educate and unite America.”
My brother concluded by saying, “I too feel anger, but we must control our rage and find a constructive way to make a difference and to hold folks accountable.”
What is he saying? What did the bishops say? What did Martin King say? What did Abraham Lincoln say? We have to make a choice, friends. Yes, we're outraged. You can't look at the pictures from Minneapolis and not be outraged. Yes, we're outraged. But our default cannot be destroying our cities. Our default cannot be destroying the very places where sick people go to get medicine. Our default cannot be the very places where folks go to get their supplies. [12:05.7]
We must make good decisions, decisions that lead to peaceful agreements. We have to be peacemakers. I am willing to work with anybody whose goal it is to restore the unity in America. I don't care what your denomination is. I don't care what your color is. I'm an American citizen and I want to do everything I can to restore America. That's what makes America great. It is when we come together despite our differences and work for one resolution, justice for all achieved in the most peaceful way, not devastation and despair and destruction.
And so, I have a choice. You see, friends, here's the good news. Y'all want to hear some good news? Here's the good news. As I've thought about the events of the last week, you know what I’m realizing? That hope can only truly flourish in a time of uncertainty. Come on, somebody. [13:05.1]
You see, you don't need hope you don't think when everything's going well, when the terrain is even, when folks like you, when everything seems easy to get, when the fruit is low for the picking. But let calamity come. Let despair come. Let devastation come. Let a pandemic come. Let nationwide turmoil and strife come. And that's when we activate our hope. That's when we grow our hope. That's not a bad thing. That's a good thing.
I really have this fundamental belief that greatness shines the brightest in times of uncertainty and fueling that greatness is our hope. You see, hope requires courage. Hope requires faith. Hope also requires an immediate decisive response. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. When I say that hope places a transformative demand upon our heart to believe for the absolute best outcome, I have to. [14:05.5]
I have to choose not to think like others. I have to believe in a better outcome. That's a demand that is placed upon my heart. And what is my immediate decisive response? Number one, I believe in Almighty God, and I believe that he seeks and desires to heal, not just America, but to heal the world.
I have the courage to believe, America, that we're better than this. I really do. And I have the faith to believe that while this may make us worse or better, that it's going to make us better. It's going to make us stronger. I'm already starting to see some of the evidence of that. You have to look for it, but I'm starting to see some of the evidence of that.
I just want to close. I'm just about out of time, but permit me to read something from my book, Afraid to Hope. I want you to listen to this. It’s on page 13. I wrote this three years ago. I said:
“It may sound almost impossible, but we've been so uneducated about what hope truly is that our muscles, our hope muscles have atrophied. And we're so distracted we've almost lost the ability to focus. We've replaced hope with fleeting emotion and passive wishing. [15:17.7]
“Do you want meaning and purpose today? Every day, intentionally pursue exercising the muscle of hope. Once this becomes your priority, your capacity for hope will grow.”
How do I exercise my muscle for hope? Several ways.
I look. I look for signs of hope. Second, I tell myself that this too shall pass. Third, I have the expected belief that things are going to get better. Fourth, I am going to assume personal responsibility to be an agent of hope, to be a beacon light on a hill. I'm not just going to sit here and complain about what I see on television. I'm going to do something about it. [16:04.1]
What can I do? That's up to you. For me? I'm speaking out. I'm saying, America, we're better than this. I'm telling my brothers and sisters of every color of every denomination, enough violence. Come, let us reason together, sayeth the Lord. That means that we may have to accept some different points of view. We don't have to think alike, but now is the time to think together. Now is the time to say enough violence. It's not accomplishing anything. It's counterproductive. What we need is to come together. We have to make a choice.
That's why hope requires courage and faith, and an immediate decisive response. I believe, friends, I believe that this is going to make us stronger. And because I believe that, I promise that I will be an advocate for love. I will. I will be an advocate for peace. I will be an advocate for understanding, believing in my heart that we're all God's children, whether we're police, whether we're protestors or whether we're bystanders. [17:10.9]
And let me say something about police. One of my dearest friends is a local policeman. He travels with me and he makes this statement every time there's an issue. He says, “I want to tell you something. Good police don't like bad police either.” Right? And so, don't just throw all the police in a bucket, friend. Be careful about that. Be careful about judging everybody. We're all God's children, police, protestors and bystanders.
Let's come together and let's reason together. Let's have the responsibility and the courage, and the faith to unite as one. You see, that's the United States of America I know. That's the United States of America that our forefathers and foremothers fought for. That's the United States of America that I pledge allegiance to the flag for. That's the United States of America that I believe in. [18:04.3]
Let me close with a quote I recently heard from an author and a pastor by the name of Paul Tripp. Listen to this. “No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.” Oh boy. Let's influence ourselves toward hope, toward believing for a better outcome, to believe that America's best days are ahead of her, to believe for the best outcome globally in light of this pandemic.
You see, friends, I still believe. In my heart, I still believe. I believe in Almighty God. I believe he wants to heal our land. I'm not just talking about America. I believe in the power of hope and the ability to transform this nation, one person at a time. Will you join me? I hope you do.
I can't wait to talk to you soon. May God bless you. May God bless the United States of America. May God bless this world and may His hand touch our land and heal it. I'll talk to you soon, friend. Be filled with hope. [19:14.5]
Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/freegift to get the print or audio book right now.
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