I’m not good at making space for stillness or rest (in body and soul). It’s difficult, for example, for me to sit down and have a cup of hot tea when I know there are dishes to be washed and a floor to be swept.
On another level, it’s also difficult to for me to bite my tongue and refrain from pointing my finger when I see Christians hurting others instead of loving them. I have to make a conscious effort to allow my own judgmental, critical self be washed and made new before I jump in and point out the splinters in others’ eyes.
There must be space to realize our own shortcomings, beg God to have mercy on us, and then walk – without fear – in wholeness and in prayer.
All week, the Chick-fil-A debacle has ignited deep anger and bitter disappointment inside. How is it that certain pockets of the American church continue to alienate the people they are supposed to love? Anger and disappointment in and of themselves are not sin; but the harsh, unforgiving way I think of the thousands and thousands of people who lined up at Chick-fil-A on August 1st gives me away.
I, too, have imperfect love – nay, hate – in my own heart. How then can I be a prophet, calling out to the church its true role in the world?
I cannot, without space to see my own sin and limitations. None of us can.
When I originally began this post, I wanted to focus on the absolute lack of empathy and understanding demonstrated by so many yesterday – an inequality of love reaching astounding proportions. Many who participated said they were standing up for “free speech” and “traditional marriage,” but in so doing they were actually slapping the LGBT community in the face. How is this in any way loving our neighbors as we love ourselves?
What if the tables were turned and supporters of traditional marriage were overwhelmed by thousands and thousands of the LGBT condemning their life choices…at a popular fast food joint? What if the overwhelming majority of Americans could in no way understand your deepest struggle, deepest core identity, or deepest joy – so they responded by flooding facebook with images representing your enemy and by lining up to support (monetarily!) those who would oppose you?
No, we cannot love every person in the same way. But are called to love them with the same love– Jesus’ love–no matter what it takes.
Then, as I began giving myself margin to form these thoughts, I realized: in my haste to point out the inequality of love I witnessed yesterday, I was, in my deepest self, giving up on my love for the American church. I, too, am called to love the American church with the same love–Jesus’ love–I have for the LGBT community, no matter what it takes.
Then, and only then, can I–can we–lean into our prophetic role, showing in life and speaking in word that adding divisions and creating enemies has no place in making straight the way of the LORD.