This is not a suggestion to gather at a physical church while in the midst of a pandemic. Please stay safe everyone.
I had planned on going out and taking pictures this morning, but thought I’d read a book in the Bible that was suggested by my pastor on Sunday first. After just a few verses, I realized what it was saying was exactly the way I was feeling prior to a week ago. It finally dawned on me after being pulled in this direction and that direction, with this thought and that, not wanting to hurt, or offend, or de-value anyone during this precious time in our country’s history, that as long as my thoughts and actions are based on Jesus’ teachings about love, I cannot go wrong.
James 1 (NLT) starting with verse 5 says: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world and they are unstable in everything they do”. James 1: 5-8.
I don’t know about you, but I was feeling this so much! A little background on me for those that do not know me, I love! I really do. I love people so much and my heart just aches for the pain so many people are in right now. My heart was feeling so heavy for weeks, but much of the heaviness has lifted since I realized that I don’t need to stand at one worldly podium forever, as long as I continue to stand before God’s podium, I can visit all the other podiums long enough to gather information and learn how to love the people gathered around each individual worldly podium. As long as I visit God’s podium most often to gather insight and direction, I can visit other podiums, without getting consumed with just one point of view.
I used to say I was wishy-washy, because I could walk from podium to podium and be all in with what the speakers were saying….I don’t call it wishy-washy anymore….I call it being a caring human and wanting to understand what others are going through so I can know best how to support them, how to hear them, how to love them. It in no way means I have to agree with them.
I’m not here to condone any of the violent actions taking place across our lands, these acts are appalling and have no place in our society. Hate and violence have the ability to destroy us all. And just because you might not be involved in punching someone, does not mean you are not a part of the hate and violent crowd if you are spewing hatred and violence out of your mouth. Physically violent and hateful acts are going to hurt and even kill some people there is no doubt about that; violent and hateful talk has the power to destroy friendships, communities, families, and nations. Please choose not to add fuel to the fire that is raging from coast to coast. You want to be angry, be angry. Anger can move mountains, hate is toxic. It not only has the power to destroy all of those things I already mentioned, but it will also destroy you. Your insides will be become stressed, you will physically be able to feel it. I hate this person, or I hate these people, or I hate this or that….can’t you feel the effects just reading that line has on your heart and your stress level? Now feel this: I love my mom, I love my dad, I love my dog…totally different involuntary physical reaction.
During this time of struggle that so many of us are facing in our daily lives with the onset of the Coronavirus, along with the recent unrest, I encourage you to focus on our creator. When you feel unsure of how to fix the state of our world because you grew up in a rural area of our country and have never had the opportunity to even talk to a black person about the weather, or you are feeling guilty because you love the man you went to school with who became a police officer, or you feel unsure if it’s okay to be completely frustrated with the looting and destruction of so many small business at the hands of rioters, because you are afraid you are being insensitive to the plight of our black and brown brothers and sisters, and when you wonder if all the confusion and chaos is part of God’s plan, know that it is not! God is not a God of confusion; God is a God of confirmation. I say all of these things, because I was feeling confused, and unsure of what podium I should stand at, until I finally realized I didn’t have to stay at one podium too long and as long as I spent the most of my time in front of God’s podium then I was not in danger of losing myself to one point of view. Because right now there are a lot of voices, (one reason I’ve put off writing for so long) and a lot of these voices need to be heard. It’s okay to listen, it really really is, and just because you listen, does not mean you fully support that person or that groups stance, but it does mean you care enough to be part of the solution to our country’s problems. Seriously, I am saying this in this in the most pleading voice you can imagine….spewing hatred is not the answer.
Yes, racism is prevalent in our society. You want to hate something, hate that!
The fabric of America is created with so many colors, so many beautiful colors, and I for one, am richer because of our tapestry, I would not trade it for anything. I am proud to be an American, not because I love all aspects of our government, because I assure you that is not the case. If I were to say I was a democrat, I would not be proud. If I were to say I was a republican, I would not be proud. But I am an American, and I am proud. I am proud of my siblings, my black ones, my brown ones, my white ones, my blue ones, my yellow ones and all the other colors in between and I am most proud when they peacefully, angrily, quietly and loudly stand up for what they believe in; the violent and hateful part I can do without.
So I implore you, please stand up for what you believe in, but don’t stand so strong that you can’t at least visit another podium or two, you might be surprised at what you learn.
Right now, it is so true that people need to understand why there are so many people saying black lives matter, it is because black lives matter, as simple as that. Knowing in your soul that blacks lives matter, does not mean that you have to believe in or support the organization that is Black Lives Matter, but as a human, especially if you are a Christian, please understand what is going on. Read between the headlines, but most of all read your Bibles. There is definitely a battle raging and it is not between flesh and blood. Good and evil are at odds like never before it seems…good will win I assure you, good will win….for all shades of humans, not just yours.
This is not about choosing between who to love more, you are not being called to do that, you are just being asked to listen and understand what some people are feeling. But know also that not everyone is sitting at that podium, not all black people believe in the Black Lives Matter organization, nor do all white people, but that is okay. In America, we all get to have our own opinion, we all have our own barometer of what is right and what is wrong. Search yourself for where it is you truly stand, I would like to encourage you to stand in the space that brings you the most peace deep down inside
So if you are feeling torn, like I was, know that it is okay if you support the Black Lives Matter organization, it is also okay and completely encouraged and at this time in our society should absolutely go without saying that it is okay to support the fact that black lives matter, and it is also okay to love Latinos and honor them for the colorful threads they have added to the American tapestry and it is also okay to look up to officers that put on their uniform each day with the mindset of protecting the innocent….it is also okay to hate the fact that police brutality exists and needs to be eradicated.
Love is the answer. When you love people where they are at and for who they are, that will move mountains. I understand (well I actually don’t and really never will, but I do honor their stance) the anguish that some people are waging this battle with, and I know that many are doing it with love in their heart for their fellow man, their fellow American. I am excited that so many of my American siblings have joined the cause in support of equality for all.
I am proud to have my own thread in America’s tapestry, it’s no thicker, no brighter, no better than any other thread and I’m fine with that, I would not want it any other way. I look forward to tomorrow, because suffering builds endurance and endurance builds character, and character leads to hope…and hope does not disappoint. There are people in our country that have suffered, be it yesterday, or yesteryear, and I see the endurance on which they have fought…I see the character in their faces and I have such hope for an amazing future for our country.
Our nation is becoming a nation to be proud of in ways like never before and I am so excited for the changes taking place, changes that will make this world a better place for not only my children, but for my grandchildren and their grandchildren and so on and so forth. If only we could all look at our descendants, descendants that will carry our DNA, our individual tapestry and maybe even our similar thoughts and outlooks. Are you curious what color your great great great great granddaughter will be? Will she be proud to call you grandma or grandpa? Can you imagine not loving her because of the color of her skin? Love conquers all….all the time, and today, like all days, I choose to love my American siblings, I would like to encourage you to do the same. I understand that is not as easy for some as it is for me, but lean into it a little more than you did yesterday, and tomorrow, lean into it that much more. Love truly is the answer, can you say it? Can you believe it? Can you feel it?