One More Choice

I’ve had Facebook for the last 3 elections, and I have never seen things get as personal as this one. Discussions were not being had; people were being talked at. If someone voiced a different opinion, they were not welcomed into the discussion, but belittled and attacked.

And this happened among friends.

The damage has been done, the words have been said, and the wounds have been inflicted. We are tired. We are all tired of hearing one thing or another, and being made to fit into one box or another. We are numb and weak from fighting back.

But I’m asking that we all make one more choice.

Decide if it’s more important for you to be right, or if it’s more important for you to be in right relationship with those in your community and your circle of friends.

These are the people who will go to your kids’ soccer games, run the booster club with you, or sit with you for coffee or a meal. The politicians will continue to be faces in the crowd and our TVs, and they will be perched on a mountaintop we cannot scale. They will never love us back, nor will they feed and clothe us when we are broken.

But we, the people, will be in each other’s lives, day in and day out. We, the people, must be each other’s community, and we must hope for a successful term, whether we voted him in or not.

Because what he does in these next 4 years does not affect only those who voted for him, but it affects all of us and even the world, and the generations that follow. If the captain doesn’t know what he is doing, the ship will sink with all aboard.

So pray for our neighbors, pray for our leaders—both locally and federally. Decide if a relationship is worth it, and say what you need to say in order to mend it or move on from it. Think before you speak and act. Listen before you pass judgment. Learn what it means to truly love, sacrificially and unconditionally, to the point where it is uncomfortable and asks us to give everything we have.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is not a nice sentiment. It is a command. Love your neighbor. Love your African American neighbor. Love your Mexican neighbor. Love your Asian neighbor. Love your gay neighbor. Love your hypocritical neighbor. Love your white neighbor. Love your Muslim neighbor. Love your racist neighbor.

Love like Christ loved the church and gave all for her.

Looking Glass

How does a goat become a sheep?

The girl sat alone, peering at the woman who stared out toward her seated on her own seat. Eyes locked, the two held each other’s gaze as the girl struggled for recognition of the face gazing back at her with mournful eyes that have seen far too much.

The woman looked quite familiar. Straight, natural black hair – disheveled in some places but all-around healthy-looking. Pink lips were cracked and healing. Her cheeks were hollow, as though she had been starved for quite some time. Dark shadows clung to her eyes, haunting her with every blink, aging her significantly.

And those root beer-brown eyes. They gazed at the girl with a life that was fading, one that had near given up. There was no spark, no flash, no vibrancy. There was only guilt, hurt, and trauma. These eyes had long ago subjected themselves to things they desired, lusted after. They sought those things out and ravished themselves in the arms of what they so desperately believed they needed.

Guilt crashed against pleasure until it became nearly impossible to tell the two apart. These eyes had taken the fruit, and now they saw too much. Now their innocence was shattered. Now their desires had poisoned her heart.

There was something hauntingly beautiful about this woman, the girl thought. While it was plain to see that she had done much that she was ashamed of and indulged far too much on her addictions, somewhere buried deep within her heartaches and guilt was a small twinkle of light that fought to survive and sowed the seeds of hope. Watered by grace, the seed died and then began to sprout, and its roots plunged deep into her core, cutting through the pain, the terror, the shame.

Grace cultivated hope until it brought forth leaves and soon after blossoms and finally fruit. As hope grew, the woman’s face seemed to come to life. Her cheeks filled in, her hair cascaded around her face like silk adorning a princess. The shadows that once hugged her eyes now gripped on for dear life, but soon even they had been replaced by a fullness that gave even more life to those eyes. Hope bloomed and soon consumed the entire fields, requiring the weeds to be pulled one by one quickly.

The woman seemed alive and much more like her age. A smile grew and slowly stretched outward toward the woman’s ears, kissed by the sparkle in her eyes. As the girl continued to look at the woman, recognition finally came as she touched her face, finding a smile that had bloomed to her ears, kissed by the sparkle in her eyes.

The girl and the young woman took one last look at each other wearing smiles fed by hope, placed their hands on their tables and pushed away from each other and toward a new day.

How does a goat become a sheep? Give me grace, give me healing. Let my fleece glow like freshly fallen snow. Cut off my horns, and make me beautiful. And let me graze in Your fields and with Your fold forever.