Where am I pointing? A question I ask myself as I write this post.
An easier question to answer at the moment is, “What am I feeling?”
Fear. It ‘s what I feel as I write and publish this post. Very rarely have I cowered down from writing. As a writer, I have learned that I have the responsibility to share my own thoughts because sometimes they may give a voice to what others may be feeling, but don’t know how to share. As a Christian, I am called to love everyone with my words and actions. This is the place where I can write, edit and publish in a way that enhances the process of reflection and allows for expression.
A few reflections (both mine and others I have observed) to consider, which you may be able to relate to, or which will broaden your own perspective.
- I’ve considered and reconsidered labels and taken a step back from any assumptions I had about them.
- I’ve literally seen the written word “homeless” to describe Christians on both sides of specific issues. I thought we as Christians already had unity in Jesus Christ? I don’t feel homeless, but I do feel like my voice doesn’t matter, (which was part of my fear in writing this post). Let’s be reminded that our conversations should be full of grace, especially with one another. In our country’s division, I am also seeing an unfortunate division in our Christian community. There is the opportunity to reverse this trend if we begin to really listen to one another.
- I’ve been in rooms where the conversation sounds something like, “Well those liberals/conservatives….(shared with a negative connotation)” as if there couldn’t possibly be someone with a differing opinion sitting there, with no pause to consider that. Assumptions are dangerous and off putting. Don’t make any assumptions in your conversations in public venues, with friends and even if with family. If you’ve never asked someone what they think, and genuinely cared about their response, you may not actually know. Christians sitting in the same pew likely have differing views. That person you have worked along side for years, but never asked them questions deeper than about family and what they did on the weekend, may not be on the same page as you. You may have neighbors who are fearful because their work visas run out soon, or they are refugees who desire to continue living in a sanctuary city.
- In recent months, family members being at odds and in disagreement has been amplified. While I have felt like I have been in the middle, I’ve also had my own opinion, which I’ve mostly kept to myself because it doesn’t seem to matter. The focus is on trying to be a peacemaker because they are relationships I care about. The reality is that pretending isn’t the best way around the tension and trying to get to the point of hard conversation (about bias, race, what we are really supporting, etc…) takes time and is only the start.
- Seeing women, men and children from all walks of life (varying ages, races, identities, disabilities, languages) uniting under a common desire to use their voices to be heard made me proud to be an American.
- Our country was founded on ideals, which provide freedom of speech, religion, and arms, among other things, yet those are the very issues for which we are arguing about and divided on today, the 26th day of January, 2017.
- There’s another major event happening this weekend, the March for Life. My prayer is that it is not a competition of crowds with the Women’s March that happened last weekend. Everyone has the freedom to protest and I am thankful that people have taken advantage of that opportunity, regardless of the content of their values/beliefs and whether or not I agree with them. March because of what you believe in, not to belittle the opposing side. People are watching you and how you respond.
As I continue to process and reflect, a question formulated in my mind: Am I pointing to Jesus in my words and actions? Am I pointing to what God says in Holy Scripture? Am I praying to God, asking for His peace and His hand to be upon this situation? When someone reads a post or comment I share, am I pointing to Jesus?
My go to source of information is not social media and the many news outlets we have to choose from. (However, these are helpful resources to stay informed, which is my duty as an American citizen). My number one source of life and truth is God’s Word. When I don’t know how to respond or what to say, I need to say a prayer and trust that despite my fear, God is in control.
This, I believe is the work of the Holy Spirit: This morning I shared a chapel message with preschoolers about praying to God when we are afraid. Yes, indeed! God is clearly here, with me, even when I am fearful.
“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
Let’s not forget where to point each day. Let’s point to the empty cross, the empty tomb and the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, who is in the midst of this messy world and these messy conversations: perfectly loving us through it all and showing us how to use our imperfect lives to love those around us.