Laurie and I always talk about our families first. We met when Lindsay was not yet born and Ana was 4. Since then, we’ve both moved around and changed jobs. A lot has happened, but when we catch up, it’s always family first. Ana and Lindsay and Kyle, the grands, Tim and Rick.
And then we get to some harder stuff. Same topic: families. But it’s not just current events. It’s about rocky conversations or misunderstandings. We share how we navigate tricky relationships. But this time, it was more about us than them. More me than him or her. We were trying to figure out what to own, how to forgive, what to forget, what really mattered.
And then our conversation slid into a more global context. Laurie and I don’t talk politics, but we do talk people and faith and love.
The world is witnessing the effects of a belief system devoid of love, hungry for power and merciless. And I wonder what God thinks and how heartbroken He must be.
But, as Laurie and I talked about this tragedy with a shared feeling of dismay, I was overcome with a feeling of shame.
We know that He dearly loves those enduring persecution and hates the hate of those who persecute. But what about the petty arguments of those who have so much?
I read that persecuted Christians in North Korea pray for us. “They pray for us because they feel we are persecuted by our prosperity and it distances us from God.”
They pray for us.
Good golly, Miss Molly.
They pray because we have so much. We have been blessed with liberties and luxuries and everyday peace unparalleled in the rest of the world.
And yet, we bemoan even the suggestion that we may lose a little of what we enjoy and expect. We raise our voices and cry “foul” when something we cherish is threatened.
We puff out our chests and shout down those who disagree with our faith and our right to protect it.
And this, my dear loves, is the shame. We are unsettled and annoyed by these worldly conflicts as if they were unexpected. And, in our zeal to fend of these aggressors, fiercely protecting that to which we believe we are promised or entitled, we miss opportunities to show love and grace.
Why don’t we remember? Trouble will come. Yes, yes it will.
Why don’t we remember? We have been commanded to love – many times.
So, here is the question:
Is protecting my right to worship when, where, and as I please…
or limiting my shoulder-rubbing to us four and no more…
or holding so tight to what I have that my hands are always fists…
Is all of it worth more of my limited energy than showing the love of Jesus?