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Love Your Enemies

My seven (now eight)-year-old daughter ran to me from the ocean, tears streaming down her face.  Her Native American skin is always more pronounced in the summer, and her raven black hair blew wildly in the wind.  My first concern was that she had been stung by a jellyfish, a very common occurrence on our Atlantic coast.  But when she reached me, my heart sank to hear her words.

“That boy told me he didn’t like the color of my skin,” my very image-conscious beauty sobbed.  “Why did he say that, Mom?”

I gave her some lame answer – something about how beautiful she is and how that boy had not been taught good manners.  I told her that the next time someone said something about how she looked that she should tell them to take it up with God because she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14).

That moment on the beach made my mommy heart ache.  My children are destined to hear hate spewed at them throughout their lives simply because of their beautiful, dark skin.  There have even been jokes made about them by people who love them and, therefore, think it’s okay to make fun of their ethnicity.  As a Christian white woman living in the southeastern United States, I haven’t grown up in the racism war – until now.

We are a multicultural household.  We are white, Native American, African American, Hispanic, and Asian.  We are Irish, German, English.  And we are American.  We are not color-blind in our house because we have, in my biased opinion, the most beautifully-colored home in the world.  But not everyone agrees that my family is beautiful.

So as a mom of a multicolored household, I believe I have to stand up and say something.  Because when you generalize any group of people, you are probably talking about someone in my family, and we have done nothing to deserve that.  Your prejudiced ideas about a “certain group of people” and how they “deserve” to be treated does nothing to breed peace and unity or to promote the Gospel.

You say that all lives matter, and I believe they do.  But do you?  Did you consider the approximately 42 million babies who are killed annually through abortion?  Do they matter?  What about the 140-150 million orphans that are waiting for forever families around the world, many of them dying from AIDS, starvation, or simply neglect?  Do their lives matter?

And here’s the hardest one of all for any of us to consider – do the lives of our enemies matter?  Jesus tells us in Matt. 5:44 that they do – “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  He doesn’t say to only love the enemies who are kind of annoying or who disagree with you.  He doesn’t even give us the choice to just love the enemies who look like us!  He says to love your enemies!

We are in the middle of a cultural war right now.  There are people on all sides of the equation who are loudly declaring they represent all of “their people,” and they are wrong. They represent themselves and maybe a few other people, but they don’t represent the majority.

My mommy heart cannot stand the violence.  When I hear of another shooting, my heart doesn’t shut down because they are a different color, a different sexuality, or a different religion than me.  I don’t run in fear from the police officers who I believe are serving us well.  My first thought is to the mother of the person who was shot – the woman who held them in their arms and sang them to sleep, the one who carried them for nine months and went through the physical pangs of labor or the emotional roller coaster of adoption, the one who may have given all she could just to find that it wasn’t enough.  I think of their children or their spouse or their friends.  Do their lives matter?  They must matter to someone!  And I KNOW they matter to God.

I am proud to be an American.  I love this country and the freedoms that we enjoy.  But my fellow Americans, we are perpetuating a state of fear, and we cannot possibly live in this state permanently!

 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

We have the POWER to make change happen – with LOVE and a SOUND MIND.  We don’t need a cultural war.  What we need is to see everyone as a person.  We need to look in each other’s eyes and see another person’s soul.  We need to stop classifying everyone in uniform or everyone of a different race or religion or sexual orientation as “the enemy,” and we need to sit down together as all part of the human race.

We need to, but we won’t.  Because sin is in the world, pride, selfishness, greed, hatred, and war will continue.  It’s simply a fact.  I can’t change everyone.  But I can change me.  And you can change you.

If all lives matter, then that means we have to face some tough issues and say that even those causing the pain and evil in our world matter, too.  We can’t be like Jonah, who decided God couldn’t possibly want to save the people of Ninevah, whose lives were so deplorable and antagonistic towards God that no good person was found in their city.  We can’t choose to share the Gospel with only the people we deem worthy.

You want to rally together?  Then rally for Christ!  Love the people He created.  Do good to those who persecute you.  Speak peace when anger is shouted.  And let’s treat each other with respect.  God has the same desire and love for us all –

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – John 3:16.

I know that there are people of all colors, nationalities, religions, sexual orientation, and world views that want to do evil and not good.  My children are growing up in a world where there are people who will tell them they are not good enough.  Are you going to be one of them?

It’s time to change the conversation.  We need to stop screaming like bratty toddlers when someone disagrees with us.  We need to stop looking at ourselves and what hurts us and start looking to serve others.  We need to start acting like adults.

Today is the day for change, but what will the change be?  Good or bad?  Are you going to help or hurt?  The choice is yours.  Your nation is counting on you.

 

 

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