There are no words for the deplorable way that our current United States President allegedly spoke of other countries and people groups during a White House meeting last week. It is quite honestly one of the most excruciating things I have read about in a long time. I have friends, family and brothers and sisters all over the world residing and serving in some of the hardest, yet most beautiful countries of the world. Lately, loving my people and the people God places in front of me has been at the forefront of my mind. I have written before that knowing what to say is hard (Cause I Don’t Know What to Say)…I still don’t know exactly what to say.
I know that I have thoughts, emotions, feelings about all of it. So much of what is happening is not the way it ought to be or was to intended to be. And lately it’s been sickening to think that people’s words are less and less considered before leaving their mouths or being written in whatever place. We certainly know more of people’s hearts, and we are all being held accountable for what we put out there. While often my silence comes from basic life happening (kids, home, work, etc), it is important as people with a voice that we listen to the Holy Spirit and ask Him what our place in this mess is ~ what words would He have us speak and share. I humbly come to you with the words He has shown me…
Jesus was clear that He created all. He was clear that He came for the freedom of ALL. He was clear that there are no lines, and that least will be the greatest. His Gospel is overwhelmingly clear that the last will be first and that putting others before yourself will always be His way.
I read through I Have a Dream again last night. I am always overwhelmed at the presence of God in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words. When you read them, it is clear that his dream came from a deep yearning and profound faith that things CAN change, and that there is hope. It is evident that his faith was in a God that created all. The words that struck me at this reading were this:
“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in I Have A Dream
Our destiny is tied up in each other’s destinies. Our freedom is bound up in one another’s freedom. Yes, my freedom is bound up in EVERY other person’s freedom that has EVER been created. It was never just about one person, one people group, one class, race, or religion. It was always and forever about a God that created us ALL in love, for love, to establish love with one another and Himself.
We have all been called to this same dream, same faith, same hope. This is not for a time back then. This is for now. This has to be real, though, not only on Facebook and Twitter. It has to be real in my life and through my life. So much of that is wrapped up in what I teach my children, how I shape the next generation.
I teach my children not to ignore people. We acknowledge people and look at them.
I teach my children that ALL people matter. We care about the man that surprised us as we exited our car at CVS the other day. We care about his story (true or not). He belongs to God. God is with us in our moment of surprise, and He is with this man asking for anything I may have to help him.
I teach my children that even though we DO NOT tolerate the bullying that my eldest experienced earlier this school year, we LOVE the little girl that bullied her. We want to know her and her heart as far as we safely can.
I teach my children that we embrace and experience different people’s cultures and ways. We honor people and their stories and places of origin. We celebrate with them and grieve with them. We stand up for them.
I teach my children that America is NOT the only country, best country, etc. We live here and experience this freedom because of NOTHING we have done. We are grateful to have freedom and we are grateful to the men and women that fight for our freedom, but living here and knowing freedom should celebrated only to set others free.
I teach my children that it is okay to be uncomfortable. Comfort is not the Gospel. We put ourselves in places that make us uncomfortable so that we can love others and know them better.
I teach my children that ALL people have a place in this world. We all have a story that God is working out. We don’t believe that our story is better or greater; it is part of much bigger story that is unfolding in God’s great mercy.
I teach my children that this is not it. This is not the end. Eternity is coming and people and their souls will be there. (I loved when Dr. King wrote “soul force!”) People matter.
So as God is working this out in me, may He meet you in your spaces and places. May He give you the bravery to swim upstream against the status quo of what you have always known. May each day that you encounter people, may you remember that their story matters in your story. Your freedom is indeed tied to other’s freedom. Let’s usher freedom into each other’s lives!