We are a strange people and that is the truth. We say variety is the spice of life, but we don’t often like people who are different than us. They make us uncomfortable. They make us squirm. They make us wonder if we’re doing something wrong. And so we judge. We say your way is wrong. Your way is stupid. Your way is going to hurt me. Your way is going to ruin this country. Maybe this comes out in glaring judgment, “You are wrong and what you are doing is bad.” Or maybe it comes out as criticism, “Why would he get that tattoo? That is not going to look good in forty years!” Or “Why does she let her kids run wild like that? She must be a bad parent.” Maybe this originates in the fear we let make a home inside us, or maybe this stems from jealousy. Still, it’s all judgment and it’s really, really sad.
We have become a people who think because I disagree with you, I must hate you. This is horrible. Perhaps you and I disagree about politics, about our view of God, about which movies are the best, which music is best, about skinny jeans or wearing stocking hats all summer. But does that mean we must hate each other? Why? Why can’t your views of politics enrich mine and push me to dig deeper into why I carry my set of beliefs. Why can’t your different views of God push me get to know my God better. Why can’t I disagree with your view of gay marriage and yet still love you? Why can’t I disagree with your view of caring for the planet and yet still love you? Who made these rules that say I must hate you because. . .
Hate is birthed out of fear and why have we chosen to live with fear as our favorite child, when Christ has told us there is no fear in love? From a purely selfish way of looking at it, wouldn’t we be happier, if we weren’t always afraid?
What if we all tried to out love each other? I want to live in that world, in a world where we set aside our pride, our fear, our need to be right and get our own way, and just love each other first.
If we choose to live in fear, afraid of the world around us, afraid of the differences between us, then we don’t believe God. We’re calling him a liar and walking away from his truth.
“There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18
I am deeply loved by God. You are deeply loved by God. God’s love is bigger then our differences.
Who you are I do not know, and yet perhaps I know something. I know that like me you wake up each morning to a day that you must somehow live, to a self that you must somehow be, and to a mystery that you cannot fathom if only the mystery of your own life. Thus, strangers though we are, at a certain level there is nothing about either of us that can be entirely irrelevant to each other. Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace