Saturday, January 21, 2017

intentionality 2017: a church divided

Today there were marches all over the world.

Marches filled and led by people who are scared, who want to take action, who want to protect the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

I will say it again. There is nothing wrong with that.

Yesterday, many people rejoiced and were thrilled at the thought of Donald Trump being sworn in as President.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

I will say it again, there is nothing wrong with that.

For anyone who knows me well, they will know that I did not vote for President Trump.
I am not a fan.
I don't see myself being a fan.
And while I wasn't present at the march, I was there in spirit.

So then why, if I am not a fan of who now holds the highest elected office in the land, would I say it's okay for people to rejoice?

Because... Autonomy and Free Will. 

Two things not given to us by a governmental agency, but by God.

Because I am commanded in Mark 12:31 to love my neighbor as myself.

Because I am instructed in Romans 12:15 to rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with those that weep.

My friend Kyle said recently on a podcast, "How sad of a state are we in as a society that you have to apologize for experiencing what you are experiencing. If anything I can give you in this moment is that you don't ever have to apologize to me. This is a safe place for you just to be who you are and experience what you are experiencing and there is absolutely no judgement or expectations on this side of the table for me." - Kyle Reynolds

Think about that for a minute.

I have been on Facebook a lot today. Trying to wrap my head around the divisive nature of this election. How people who I deem to be the most kind and the most sincere, are the most hateful on social media.

People are scared and upset, and in response, there is either great support or great disdain.

There seems to be no middle ground. And I don't get it. I don't get how we can be so cruel.

But then I thought about the following quote from Ron Ruthruff, and it says, "the further you are away from another person's pain, the easier it is to dismiss it."

When someone's pain doesn't effect you, then you don't care, and it becomes easier to dismiss.

I have seen some people share articles on the election with the hashtags #dealwithit #getoverit

Sweet friends, if I sat in front of you and shared that I am legitimately fearful and sad, would your response be, "Deal with it?"

I certainly hope not.

If you came to me and said you were so excited and relieved by the results of this election, wouldn't it deeply damage our relationship if I said, "You are ignorant and don't know what you are talking about."

I think it would.

But that's the response I am seeing, have seen, and am worried I will continue to see for the next four years and beyond.

Can we sit back and reflect on what our response should be to each other?
Can we own why we feel the way we do and stop expecting other people to be on "our side"?

Maybe ask yourself these questions?

  • Is the possibility of cheaper healthcare more important than the feelings of my neighbor?
  • Is my fear of an unqualified leader a reason to belittle my friends?
  • Is mocking the tenure of a President I disagree make me a better person?
  • Is wishing ill will on the incoming Commander in Chief the spirit of one who seeks after God?

These questions stem only from what I have seen online. And what I've been seeing is starting to become hard to watch.

It's hard to watch because I'm sitting back, and I feel like I am watching the division of a church, not a nation.

Our nation has been divided and at constant disagreement for years.

But this, this animosity between people who say they love Jesus is heartbreaking.

We scream and shout about being "one nation under God," but we can't even be a church that is kind to each other.

People are weeping.
People are mourning.
People are rejoicing.
People are thankful.

What right do I have to determine whether or not that is acceptable?
Who made me the judge?

The Women's March is okay.
People being at the Inauguration is okay.

But you know what is more okay?

Standing up for your brothers and sisters.
Becoming champions of those who have no voice.
Showing kindness and humility towards all people.
Not making up stories about people to justify being unkind to them.

I don't claim at all to be perfect or even semi-good at any of these things. I listen to the radio and rail and scream about how I feel about how nation. I have strong, very strong opinions of our newly elected President, and I absolutely didn't want him in office.

But.... I love my friends. So very very much. I love you guys. And it absolutely breaks my heart that we are losing each other over something like this.

Guys, we can't.

We have to be better. We have to be kinder. We have to be willing to sit and have conversations.

The marches are great. Writing articles is fine. Rallies, bring them on. But it can't stop there.

We have to gather as community and sit around our tables and determine to love others as Christ loved the church.

We have to walk justly and live humbly. Romans 1:22 says, "thinking themselves wise, they become fools."

We cannot walk around like we have all the answers.

I mean....

Jesus probably disagrees with us all the time.
He doesn't like our decisions.
I suspect He thinks we are being foolish.
He might even feel attacked by how we treat His children.

But, I've never seen Him post about it on FB, tell me to #getoverit, or unfriend me.

He bids me to come to Him. He listens. He teaches. He loves.

And I want to be more like that....


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