Live As Children Of Light And Love
The cable news channels I occasionally watch, and my social media feeds have had a busy week with the inauguration of a new President, and all of the protests and brouhaha that followed.
As I discovered this weekend, I have friends from all over the country who marched in protest on Saturday, but I also have plenty of friends who were not shy about expressing their opposition to the marches.
Some days it's just too much to process--all of the anger, the outrage, the demonization of the "other." It can wear you down, and bring out the worst in you.
Try as I might, I often find myself falling into the trap of over-generalizing my view of people who disagree with me. I also have to admit that I'm not all that loving and grace-filled toward them either.
But those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus are called to a different kind of life. This new life doesn't mean that we can't disagree, or protest when we feel that justice demands it. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't vote our conscience, either. We should.
However, we are unequivocally called to a higher standard in the way we treat others.
When you read through the Gospels, you find that Jesus spoke truth to power on more than one occasion. But Jesus also ate dinner with people who opposed him, and was not above showing God's love to a Roman centurion, a Samaritan woman and at least two tax-collecting, good-for-nothing Imperial collaborators.
The Apostle Paul offered this exhortation to the Early Church. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8)
We need this as a constant reminder to demonstrate the love of Christ to all, regardless of whether they stand in agreement with us or not.
I think that we are transformed when we live as children of light, and learn to love people where they are. Author Ann Voskamp in a spot-on reflection on this very idea, wrote: "What matters most is not if our love makes other people change, but that in loving, we change."
May you discover new ways to show love to all people--even those who disagree with you. Even in moments when you are tempted not to be your best self, may you find hidden resources of grace and forgiveness, mercy and peace.
And may you be transformed forever as you learn to you love others, even as Jesus loved and gave himself for you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.