I posted this picture yesterday on Instagram. It was taken right before I was mugged.
I was violently grabbed in broad daylight and things were ripped from me. I’m totally fine, just shaken up and feeling a little vulnerable. I only share this because I think we are all feeling vulnerable these days.
We may all feel like something has been ripped from us – a dream, a sense of understanding, a relationship…
Great divisions have been revealed where we were living with some illusions of unity. We thought things had gotten better.
Many feel fragile instead of safe.
Some fear being attacked for their beliefs or their politics, or the color of their skin.
Here’s the thing…our inclination may be to expect the worst, to retreat or hide, or just huddle with “our people”. Instead we need to link arms as my friends did with me and venture out again, looking for the Imago Dei in others.
In the afternoon we went out (with a chivalrous protector), found a street dance, and jumped in.
But jumping back in doesn’t just mean getting out there with “our people”.
It means choosing humility and vulnerability, laying aside a certainty that ours is the only right perception.
It means finding the “other” and listening and loving them well.
It seems we have a lot of “others” these days, but it’s different for each person. For you the “other” may be
a minority or immigrant you feel is taking jobs away…
or a gay person or a straight person you feel uncomfortable with…
or a Muslim you don’t understand…
or a conservative Christian who quotes the Bible in a judgey way and seems confidently self-righteous…
or someone who voted for Trump…
or someone who voted for Clinton.
Who are your “others”?
Think of the person who, when you think of them upsets you or distresses you the most. Got it?
Now call them up and invite them to have coffee with you. You can do this!
I’ve invited one of my “others”, and although I want to say “WHAT THE HOLY HECK WERE YOU THINKING???”, here’s what I’ll say, “You are my friend. I respect you. I know you have a kind compassionate heart. I want to know you better. Help me understand the way you think about ___________________________________.
Your situation or relationship may be different, but the last sentence is the important one, right?
And then I’ll listen.
And to Jesus who says “No matter what, they’ll know Me by the way you love – not just with words, but by your actions.”
Paul joins him, writing…
In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. Ephesians 4:1-3