My friend Cat posted a prayer today for preservation and repentance in our nation and our world . Though we have different religions, we see the same things, and we believe in the same way to get there: spirit and morality over the whole earth.
I was just reading an Advent devotional by John Pavlovitz and he talked about it being a awful lot to put on one kid born in a manger. And yet, here we are, thousands of years later, expecting the same thing because we believe in him, even if it doesn’t look like it. I say that it doesn’t look like it because we don’t act like we believe in anything like he talked about — not love, not neighbor, not forgiveness, or peace.
So here’s a reminder: you can’t do the same things and expect different results. You can’t hate and expect love. You can’t kill and expect life to be important. You can’t talk of God as Creator and think half of the population needs to be subject to the whims of the other half. You can’t love your neighbor and not let them into your country. You can’t claim the Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and worship a man, or a nation, or an AK-47 because you want to be master of someone else’s destiny. Don’t even try to tell me otherwise.
Enough is enough. People engaging in hate, and lies, and violence to the spirit, mind, body or soul need to just stop. In English, we say “repent!”, but the Hebrew is more instructive: Shoov means to turn around, go back, go the other way! That is what we need to happen if we want the Kingdom of Heaven to come near.
Yes, I believe that Jesus will come back and fix things, but I don’t believe we want to be on the wrong side of the line when He returns. That “line”is the timeline of history and our lives on it. If people tell you that you’re on the wrong side of history, maybe you should ask them why they say that. Then think about it. Then change, if change is warranted.
Alternately, I would prefer people repent not out of fear, but because love, and life, and sharing, and truth ultimately win. You can remind me of this when life looks hopeless for me, but look around you. After 4 years of hating, we woke up worrying if nuclear war wasn’t about to start. How is Biden fighting that? By not fighting at all. Building Back Better isn’t a threat anyone . Building Back Better is building. It’s not destroying. It’s giving people jobs. It’s repairing roads. It’s fixing things.
Forget the politics, it’s just a metaphor. What kind of a project can be described as building, giving, repairing , and fixing things and ultimately be wrong? It can’t. The actions work because they come from a place of love and the desire for better for more people. If you want to talk about “loving our enemies”, this is what it looks like. The plan doesn’t withhold from Texas, Florida, Arizona, or any of the states whose leaders want to make trouble for Biden. If this had been under a hateful administration, you can be sure that revenge would be part of the deal.
So, here’s what I think should happen.
If you want to destroy someone else, try to build them up.
If you think hate makes you powerful, try to feel the power of love.
If some has less than you, share with them until everyone has enough.
If you tell lies, tell the truth — to yourself and others.
If you want to curtail someone’s rights because they are “less than you”, be the bigger person and give them their rights.
“Love your neighbor” is as simple and directs as it sounds. Just do that. Fix what you have broken, everywhere you have broken it. That’ll keep all of us busy for as long as we live. Help people stop crying instead of making them cry. Help them to have long, happy lives rather than long, miserable or short miserable, ones.
First, though, stop and think. Feel all the feels. Listen to yourself. Are you treating others as you’d want to be treated? If not, try to do better.
That’s “repentance” — it stops you from hating yourself. “Justice”? It’s when you love everyone. If you can imagine a world where everyone loved each other, you can imagine what Justice looks like.
Resisting with Peace,