My news feed and Facebook wall today has probably looked a lot like yours. Opinions, articles, celebrations and lamentations.
To be honest, it all made me feel wonky inside. Like Swiss cheese, but not as holy. Yes, that’s a pun. It was kind of like being drowned in my own life lemonade, the one I’ve been trying so hard to make while I watch our world (and yes, even my own life) change, flux, and shift.
It grieved me to see such a great divide amongst my family, friends, and even strangers. Those on both sides of the debate. I read a wide range of articles and blogs on the subject, and found the comments were littered with hate, fear-mongering, threatening slander, name calling, and more – from both sides. Sad.
I read rants admonishing others who didn’t share their viewpoint that they would be “un-friending” those whose ideas and opinions did not line up with their own. From both sides.
One camp hurt, disappointed, discouraged, angry, saddened, indignant. Another camp moved, happy, elated, relieved, triumphant, and yes, also angry and saddened at those who didn’t share in their joy.
You don’t need my opinion. But I’m giving it anyway. Maybe if I purge some of this urgency, I can stop feeling like Swiss and a little more like a strong sharp cheddar. I don't know. Whatever the heck. Stay with me...
Here’s the deal: I’m a woman who loves Jesus and is trying to live according to His call. Which, by the way, is not a loud shout-out to my own good deeds or perfectly clean living, but rather a humble admission to how broken and fallible I am, and how much His perfect grace has become my source of strength. That’s the truth right there. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…
But that’s not what I want to talk about anyhow.
What I want to say is this: whether you or I agree with the decision made today really has no relevance. That is to say, it doesn’t change the bottom line anyway. It's been decided. It is what is. There you have it.
To see all kinds of vitriol plastered over the web or even to stand on the side of hate and disdain for one another - what does that do but foster more anger, frustration, hatred and mistrust? Why does having a difference of opinion somehow equal drawing lines in the sand against each other. How is one version of hatred better than the other? We sometimes forget that our opinions and beliefs, though comfortable for us, are not the only ones out there. (Looking at you…everybody)
I was thinking about that line in the sand that Jesus drew. (John 8:1-11) Are we throwing stones?
The reality is, I believe there is a greater Truth – a universal Truth of right and wrong - and it doesn’t change just because any one of us will it to. It was and is and is to come. God is not on a lunch break. Ok? If you believe in biblical truth then you and I agree that this is actually a part of the greater story. So why are we wasting our time fighting and blaming and hating others when we should be doing exactly the opposite?
I know some of you are heartbroken today. Use that heartbreak for good. Love each other. Extend your love. Shine your light. Let others see Him. Care for others, love on them, even when you’re hurting.
We are called to love. Love ALWAYS has and ALWAYS will reign, because from His very core and being – God is love. It’s WHO He is, quite literally. It’s His concept. His plan. His entire motivation for sending Jesus. Love already won. Long ago.
Friends, we can believe differently and still love. We can completely disagree about theology and yet, still love one another. We can stand on opposite sides of many different fences – but we can choose love.
Jesus kept some pretty interesting company and it took many of them decades to understand what He came to do. He loved them anyway. I don’t think anyone missed His love. How could they? He lavished it on those he met, those he walked with, and even those who killed him. And, by the way, He lavished it on you and me. Just as we are, today, right now.
Who are we to judge? Stick to the story God is telling in your life. Get to work on you. Stop running around yelling that the sky is falling. It’s been falling for…well, forever. It’s actually old news. Let’s you and I get to work on us. Let’s remove that plank from our eye and try to restore some true sight. I’m personally riddled with sin. I’m not picking out any well-polished stones to hurl in any direction.
You cannot control others. You can control yourself, your responses, your choices, and your direction. And you can choose to love with respect. No matter what. That doesn’t mean you have to agree on whatever about whatever. That doesn’t mean you don’t feel angry or spent or tired or depleted. On either side.
To be clear, it also doesn’t mean you need to compromise your convictions in your own life or condone things which go against your faith. You can have your opinion and love at the same time. It simply means we choose love because He first loved us. And not one of us deserved it. Amen.
So when we find ourselves in dialogue about these and other sensitive issues in the coming weeks and months – do me a favor and lean heavily on love and the mountains of grace that have been so generously and graciously poured out for you.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear… 1 John 4:18
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love… 1 Corinthians 13:13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1
Grieving has a place here for some. I wish both sides understood that with kindness, gentleness, and respect. But we’re called to something much bigger and much better and so much more lasting…
Our job is to love, dear friends.
Just as we are, today, right now.