So, this happened awhile back.
Not my proudest moment. In my defense, I could only hear about every third word, not enough to jump in and educate the room (aka, tell everyone they are, of course, wrong, and how in the world can you actually think such things you close-minded banana brains?!?) And, there was the dye in my hair. I didn’t know how long it was supposed to sit there but I was pretty sure if I got boo’d from the salon and had to drive home it would be way too long and I would end up with green hair.
But still. Bashing the poor? Expressing hatred for an entire people group? Calling it “an invasion”?
I pretended to read my book and shut them out. And prayed. I prayed for grace and mercy for the bigots in my vision. I prayed that I could see them as people and not “bigots.” I prayed that I would have opportunity to speak if I was supposed to do so.
The loudest of the mouths left before my dryer timer dinged. Another left soon after. During my rinse out, it came down to my stylist and me. I said nothing. She told me all about her exhausting weekend serving at her church. I prayed harder. As much as I love a good debate, being as opinionated as I am, I also really like this woman (plus, she does great hair!) I didn’t want to disagree with her.
She referenced their conversation and I told her I couldn’t hear because of the dryer. So, she filled me in. Sigh.
I won’t go into detail, but we went round and round, her wielding scissors about my head and me often silently chiding myself, “You could end up bald! Just stop TALKING, Tara!” But, of course, I didn’t. And, she showed great restraint, giving me an adorable cut with great color that I love.
But, I was enlightened, although really, I’ve heard it all before.
Some of us are willing to have compassion for those less fortunate as long as they are not eligible for government subsidies we are denied, or do not possess anything we may want.
It doesn’t seem to matter the trauma refugees experienced before they arrived. Serial rape, death of children, brutal murder of family in the dead of night are moot points in the face of free healthcare and tax-free small business, apparently.
It makes me tired and sad. When believers speak in platitudes and post Scripture memes and then focus only on their rights and and bemoan some false sense of “persecution”, I shake my head in disbelief.
In a land where we can worship where we wish, and are free to post those Scripture memes at will, and have easy access to quality healthcare, and food in so much abundance we actually worry over ingredient lists and local sourcing, how dare we, who claim to follow Jesus, begrudge any of the same to others simply because they had the bad sense to be born somewhere else?
Just the other day, I gave a lecture to my children. There is a new round-a-bout not far from our house. This is a new concept to many on this side of town and it’s taken some getting used to for many drivers. I explained to the kids that those entering it must yield to those already on. If I was entering, but was in a hurry and decided my need to get somewhere on time was more important than the driver already on and didn’t yield, I would cause an accident. Somebody has to yield or chaos would reign.
As believers, we are mandated to yield, to love others above ourselves, to lay aside our rights, to die to ourselves. I told my kids they are going to be world changers and that this, this family, these siblings are their training ground. If they can learn to yield to one another, to love each other, they can love anyone.
If you really want to watch Peppa Pig, but let your brother watch Teen Titans Go, it will be a lot easier to let the pregnant teen crash on your couch for awhile when you’re older. If you willingly give your little sister the last cookie, I know you’ll excel at parting with a chunk of your paycheck to build those wells in an African village.
One of my sweet daughters came to me later and summed up what we all worry about, “If I yield all the time, I won’t ever get anything.”
That’s the heart of it, isn’t it? If I’m not looking out for myself, who will?
It is so counter cultural to follow Jesus. To trust that He sees and will provide all our needs. To live with an eternal perspective. To accept there is joy in the cross.
When standing up for our rights as Americans clashes with our calling as Christ-followers, it’s time to step back and remember where our home truly is.
Hint: This is not it.
I wrote most of this post months ago. I needed the reminder today. Fear for our country is welling up in me. Just this morning, I watched, aghast, as a presidential contender advocated for building institutions for the mentally ill, or “sickos” as he called them.
I’m sure he has no idea that our country has just recently been enlightened enough to move away from that archaic notion. I shudder wondering which people he thinks should fill them. I’m sure at least one of my boys would make the list. (Would I? With my anxiety disorder and need for medication?)
It would be tempting to dismiss his ramblings if it weren’t for the sheer number of followers who claim that he speaks their minds, as well. Do they want to lock up my child, too? I’ve read the comments, seen the stares, watched the news. It’s not a leap to think so.
Yet, love, not fear, must win. Love has to be our motivator. We stand up to bigotry and ignorance and we call out injustice, but we do it so love can win. People are valuable – no matter their place of birth, their income, their IQ, their abilities, their color, their past, their perceived potential, or even their political leanings.
When I remember this is not my home, it’s easy to stop fighting for a bigger piece of the pie and instead, share the part I already have. When I remember it’s not my agenda but His Kingdom that matters, I can humble myself and seek His face and ask Him to heal our land. When I remember that Imago Dei is imprinted in all of us (If I pray a lot and squint real hard), I can even see Him in the Trump followers (I’m a work in progress.)
Love and yielding. I know there’s grace for that.