1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
So, I’m not going to pretend to know how I’m going to fit this into the series (note the missing number on this post)– but it is something I have to share.
And you need to read.
People are hurting.
So, put your political opinions on what is right or wrong, and who is worth listening to and whom should be shamed for their liberal beliefs, life choices, public or private sins away.
It’s not our job to determine who is worthy. It’s our job to see that people are hurting and to do something about it.
I’m someone who has experienced trollish conservative attacks…and in each time I tried to get the individual to slow down, to put their judgement in their back pocket and sit on it, and to realize the damage they may do if these same words fall upon someone else less capable of dealing with it than I (I just watched 13 reasons why….. so I think you can see where I’m coming from).
I would remind them, the trolls — you never know what is going on in someone else’s life. There is a quote that says to be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle that you know nothing of.
This is where I burst your bubble, and confirm that it is true. People are hurting. Start taking an interest and asking people how they are doing, catch the tendency to say “eh, ok” or an irritated “fine”… don’t burden them with a barrage of useless questions , that’s not what I’m saying… (thoughtful questions, thoughtfully timed is what you’re going for) invest in their lives. Show them that they are loved and appreciated and make yourself present in their lives. That way if they do need someone, they know that you’re willing to be there with them and to love them without judgement.
I saw pain three times today, once in a message scrawled on a chalkboard. Once hidden in a, “I’m ok”…once not hidden at all… and I want nothing more than to pour love into those lives.
One I know has different political and social beliefs than I do. One, I’m fairly certain they are different…and the other…I have no idea.
But I still want to love them. I don’t want them to feel isolated or shamed or judged.
I want them to feel love and to grasp onto love.
I want them to be able to live a good life full of loving supportive individuals — to get through unscathed by trolls and haters and people who think that you are only to love those in your in group.
And to those, sitting on the outside, bleeding from wounds or bearing the weight of judgement, I’d love to know the right words to speak to your situation.
I have these. I hope they are good enough.
You are enough.
You don’t have to be alone.
No storm lasts forever. None.
Life isn’t easy, but there is beauty to be found…and boy…. is there beauty out there to be found. I can show you some. Look at @beauty_in_the_bleak on instagram. I share some beauty I find there. While I can only show things that are beautiful that way, there is deeper beauty out there…..and within you.
This post isn’t done, but I’m publishing it now. Rough spots, errors, all.
Because there’s someone out there about to bully or shame someone, and there’s someone out there that needs to know that someone cares about them and their struggle…and I hope both of these people find this post.
I remember as a child, overhearing the adults reciting a saying that I’m sure you’re familiar with.
You catch more flies with honey (than vinegar).
I thought that this concept was universal… that people knew that if they wanted to minister to people they would know to go in with something sweet, comforting, and lovely if they wanted to minister to people and to respond to the gospel commission.
And when Jesus gave the ‘readers digest version’ of the laws he wants us to keep (focusing on the over-acrhing principals of all the other laws) he summed it up like this:
Matthew 22:36-40New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Our neighbor was never specified as the one who “believes like us” or “lives exactly the same lifestyle” or “is of the same race” — rather we were given vastly different definitions and examples of who it is we are to love.
Luke 10:29-42New International Version (NIV)
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
How does this relate to the topic? Well, my neighbors tend to be very varied. My neighbors are muslim and LGBTQ, black and yellow, red and white–ALL are precious in God’s sight. And I can love them, as they are. I don’t need to do the sorting only the fishing— only the loving and ministering.
So I go for policies that protect and support my neighbors–even if they are different. No, especially if they are different.
Being harsh, judgmental, or condescending will not win you any flies. Will not catch you any fish. We were called to fish. We’ve been called to love.
I woke up, and as per usual, I turned my computer on and began browsing facebook.
When I scrolled down and saw this version of Imagine by Pentatonix:
I realized I had never really listened to the words and thought about them, but this morning I listen…and I grew more and more sadden as the verses spilled out.
Imagine there’s no religion — for the sake of having peace and unity?
“False religion”, I growled under my breath, as I closed my laptop to get ready to head to work. While I fully intended on leaving these thoughts safely closed away with my laptop while I headed off to work, they followed me there.
Recently, I had a discussion with an individual about how christians never follow christian ideologies of love, charity, and the example of Christ. That there are so few actual christians that the name Christian is spoiled and that those who are truly Christ-like should find a new name to call themselves and do all they can to disassociate from the vast masses of those who call themselves Christians. Others have echoed this, saying they have never been more judged or hurt than by so-called Christians.
I apologized. I can’t undo what others have done or said, or failed to do or say. I said can offer them the chance to interact with a Christian (myself) whom I hope that they will find different than those who have caused them pain. I always offer the disclaimer– I am likely to hurt them too. I’m human afterall, but I am (and pray to remain) different than those who use religion as a means of control, of one-upping, and nothing short that bullying.
I felt that familiar crumbling-sinking within my chest– oh how many hurt people are there?
Taking a deep breath, now behind my work computer I catch a whiff of something my brain reads as artificial grape flavor. A memory flashes in my mind.
Grape bubble yum. The taste. The smell. The mouth too-full, tired. The memory came back to me, and danced in the spaces around my aching heart and searching mind that was carrying with weight the thoughts of false religion.
Fake grape. Fake religion.
Both may taste sweet to the partaker. Both come in a form as food, but offer no sustenance.
Don’t get me wrong. Bubble yum was delicious, as I remember it. It was soft and easy to chew……just….like…force fed false religion.
False religion often comes with a set of directions, easy enough to follow and understand. Don’t do this, or this, or this. Those who do this, or this, or that are sinners. They are bad. Save yourself by not being like them! It seems to promise, that by completing these directions you can earn your sustenance. Your salvation.
(no, most don’t cognitively recognize this — they will say they believe that only Christ saves through grace — but that’s not how they live, behave, or speak).
Still pondering the thoughts, one more begs for entertainment — “feed a starving man bubble yum, and he will still be a starving man.”
Christians, will you feed the starving man?
…if they are muslim?
…if they are LGBTQ?
….if they are black?
…if they are an addict?
…if they are a prostitute?
…if they are a felon?
…if they are a murder?
….if they are in some way different than you?
Will you love them? Do you believe and live by a love big enough to love them? Jesus went to eat with and talk with those that were different. His example to us is one of non-judgemental love. The love is what changed-and changes- people, not judgement and shunning.
So, if you have a mouth full of bubble yum (false religion), spit it out so you can speak love into the lives of these people. It isn’t feeding you anyway. You are the starving man, also.
(if that is too hard to read visit: http://www.teenvogue.com/story/muslim-lawyer-shuts-down-troll-christian-isis ).
Don’t be bubble yum.
…I have a feeling this is “part one” as I’d like to dive into what love means in different situations.
PS: Found this on the topic of being a scientific minded individual and believing in God– thought I’d share it with you:
Originally posted November 2015 on a former blog of mine.
Today was a hard day.
I heard so much about them.
Through history there have been a lot of them. Those them got treated poorly, because they weren’t like us.
Those them were marginalized, dehumanized, mistreated, and often killed. Many of those them grew up to be us, but we forgot that we were once them.
We forget, in the face of fear or ignorance, that when we make them them and us us, we draw a line between us, making it easier and easier to treat them like things rather than beings.
It’s easier to be mean to them than us.
It’s easier to be kind to us than them.
In experiments where a false division is made, so that there is an us vs. them, it is shown that each side tends to work to deny the other team positive rewards, even if it means that they suffer in some way to do so. They also will go to great lengths to promote one of their own—even if the group divisions are completely arbitrary with NO basis.
But while the groups are arbitrary, the results can be reliably predicted by simply creating the division.
So, yes… I agree the problem is with them.
So throw the word out of your vocabulary and mentality. See every problem and offense as an attack against humankind. See their pain as pain of someone in your group, since we are all one. Value cooperation above competition. Sharing of resources over storing up. Understanding over ignorance. Empathy instead of distain. Love instead of hate or complacency.
Us vs. them is the mentality that leads people to become extremist and terrorist, prejudice and racist, or simply complacent.
Keep the goal before you, what will a better world look like?
Now, how do we get there? Do we get there by separate but equal? (Been there, done that).
Can love be true if it is captive to fear? If love is rated and handed out along geographic, philosophical, religious, or personal difference lines, is it truly love?
Why do we rob love of its power?
I don’t say this from a place of getting it all right, I say this from a place of wanting to get it right. And wanting other people to struggle to get it right with me, so that love’s power can be restored. So that individual cases of hate being poured out can quit finding each other, and building their own little ponds of hateful people, when there are so many others who have love to share but aren’t sharing it, thinking it too little or too dangerous to do so.
We, those who have love to give, are those who must unite.
And yes…. Doing so will be scary, and yes it can be dangerous, and YES it can change the world.
Let’s change the world.
I was once told that just as we do not measure the presence of cold, because cold is merely the absence of heat. So too hate is not a thing, it is merely the absence of love. Do you think this be true?
And remember, whatever positive thing you do, it does matter and I can make a difference, so don’t give up. You may want to look for people with similar passions and get together to do some good.
remember to #loveoneanother #createacultureofkindness #bekind
PS. Isn’t the girl in the feature image absolutely lovely?
Pictures like this can be found for free use on pexels.com (just thought I’d pass that along to any fellow bloggers out there that need free images).
It is hard for me to just pick one reason to write about, but today encountered me an opportunity for reflection on what is behind my liberal ideologies.
Love. A desire to live a selfless life. This core value– of valuing others, has shaped my political beliefs.
You may be a conservative and saying “but that’s what shaped mine!” and if that is so, then I know that the value behind your motivations is a sound one. I have no problem with anyone who is selfless and loving and conservative. Who does not seek to “win” a debate by name calling and derogatory comments.
And please don’t say that a liberal cannot be a dedicated Christian, because my faith and understanding of Christ as an example of loving and respecting EVERYONE is what brought me to my beliefs.
The Liberal vs. Conservative debate is a non-salvific issue (that’s my word that I use for an issue that does not determine salvation or your ability to love and serve Christ with your life).
Honestly, think about it for a minute. Would the arguments we’re having about policy mean a thing to the average person in China? Africa? South America? No, it would seem foolish to most. Does that mean that salvation is not available to them because they do not belong to one side of the argument or the other? It doesn’t mean a thing in that regard!
They may not understand our political debates — but I’ll tell you something they will understand. Love. Respect. Self-sacrifice.
I know this post doesn’t give a lot of examples, but we’re just getting to know each other here! haha. What I mean is I need to find my voice. The tone. The topics. The direction.
I know that I never want the tone to be derogatory. So, to the trolls — I will not engage them specifically. I may address some of the topics in future posts.
Instead, I will respond to trolls with #loveoneanother or #LoveRespectandKindness (I may think of something that sounds or works better– but you get the idea).
So, this is day one, and this is why I’m liberal.
PS. If you want to join in and exercise your core value of love, one of my favorite things to do is to write encouraging letters to strangers. I’ve been doing this since I was 15 or 16. I then leave them in public locations so that they can be found.
Today I experienced some hate against me because I’m liberal. I was unsettled by experiencing hate that came at me with no knowledge of who I am or what I stand for — just because I have a different political orientation than them. I needed to make room for love, and to focus on love.
So I wrote two encouraging letters today. One written to a random guy who may find it, and one to a random woman. Letting them know that they are enough, and that there is beauty to be found in the world (and whatever situations they may find themselves in). I challenge myself to find beauty on a regular basis…and when I look with the intention of finding beauty– I always find it. I just have to remember to look! Did you find anything beautiful today?