Friday, June 18, 2004
Love Your Enemies
I've been reading and thinking, thinking and reading alot lately on the state of the union, where we are as a nation in the world today. USAmerica is divided within its borders, and it's at least as divided in public opinion around the world. It seems that there's not a whole lot of love to go around, probably starting with Christians who should know what it looks like and should know how to display it in a real and transforming way. I'm afraid to discuss political views, to raise real questions and question real perceptions around people who are ... well, just not asking the same things. Those discussions typically turn into a debate, where I try to explain myself, and the other party/parties try to explain where I'm wrong, misguided, and not thinking straight. It's humbling, I guess - maybe humiliating is the better word. I think deeply, and it's troubling that more people don't question the status quo or look for change beyond what's on the surface.
I see a dissonance between our spiritual lives and our cultural lives. Spiritually, we're focused on our own relationship with God, and culturally, we're focused on everyone else's relationship to God, instead of spending some time and energy focused on our relationships with others. I see that it's easier to condemn others and ask mercy for ourselves, than calling for mercy for others and dropping our own sin and shortsightedness. I see that it's easier to adopt a Republican agenda that's at least giving lip-service to the hot-button litmus-test "Christian" issues of pro-life and pro-family ideals, than to question its morality on the economic and military choices of the past few years. I see that it's easier for me to point a finger, than for me to just love someone who's worth loving and worth being thought highly of. I'm so quick to stand up for truth, but I don't often stand up for love and mercy. And while we're pointing the finger, we don't usually realize that we (1) don't know everything in any given situation like God does, and that we're (2) probably partaking of something similar in our own lives. Our vehemence against something might be subconsciously exploding from our own inability to deal with that same issue in our own lives that's been rationalized or justified away... or that's just me.
In "loving my enemies", and in seeking not to "judge lest I be judged", is it okay to just give everyone the benefit of the doubt and not let their sins, real or perceived, have an influence over the way I relate with them? In other words, can mercy and forgiveness be my first response, not my second response that would come only after I've said my piece and made my judgment?
I am so quick to judge the motives and thought processes, or lack thereof, of others. And it bothers me to see that as others do it to me, it ticks me off. Their specks are aggravating my log.