I suck at being vulnerable. But I’m willing to practice speaking even when I feel uncertain; for my own growth, and for solidarity with others.
If you have been low, or anxious (or way too consumed) with the events leading up to the change in administration, you’re not alone. I’m still struggling to take it all in.
What you may or may not have done in a voting booth is irrelevant now. We’re all in this together.
However, from how we’ve been acting, that truth is far removed from the present reality. It is nothing short of a tragedy that we became so focused on ourselves. To the point that we don’t recognize our sister or brother. How are we to be one body, one nation, or survive at all if we are wriggling useless and dismembered?
We must reconnect our sinews. But… how?
Consistency. Service. Loving-kindness. And, one other thing we are starving for.
Matthew 18:23-35 contains a parable Jesus uses in response to Peter asking “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Seven times?”
Our Lord and Savior famously replies: “Nah… multiply that by seven, friend.” (artistic license taken) 😉 The parable goes like this:
Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.
When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.
Notice how the wronged servant’s witnesses go to their master and report the offenses he endured! They don’t walk away and pretend the attack didn’t happen. He is powerless to advocate for himself while jailed, so they selflessly act in his stead. They also don’t shout at his offender, assault him in return, or spread slander. They do the right thing by reporting the injustice and standing up for their friend without responding in vengeance. That takes so much self-control! That is mercy.
Donald Trump is about to be my president. I think we all need to own him. He is a product of our culture. Did we really think narcissism, crude language, racism and greed had no consequences?
Learning the hard way is a painful and accelerated course. The most important lesson these past two years have taught me is that it is fatal to act as if my beliefs are bulletproof, especially when my actions withhold the mercy that is available to me in excess. For the literal love of God, let’s all drop the superiority complexes and tone-deaf attitudes.
We must listen up and report to God first. We must advocate for our fellow citizens when we see them in danger. We must accept mercy for ourselves.
And then? Give it freely!
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
-Psalms 119:77 ESV