The seventh time I invited Jesus to walk with me, I felt no need to pause but immediately asked him, “How would you have me be more like you in this world?” Then I rambled on with additional questions to clarify what I was seeking. “I know the stories of your life- what you taught, and how you healed, fed, and loved- but is there a specific quality or action I should take on and live out? Is there a unique way in which I am created that would help me to live and serve more like you?”
Karen, the answer you seek is not a big revelation. Quit trying so hard to know all the answers. Keep walking with me and doing the next right thing, one step at a time. With that in mind, here is the next right thing I want you to do.
I want you to stop calling the President bad names.
I laughed aloud at his answer because it seemed so random, so trivial- and so unexpected! Immediately I thought about how embarrassed and uncomfortable I would feel writing about this. But in the seeming absurdity of Jesus’s words, I realized the message was definitely coming from beyond me. Reluctantly, I continued to listen…
If you want to live as an example of my peace, you must stop being one who becomes angry and then reacts with name calling and blaming. Instead, you must pray for him out of concern and even love. You are to remember that he is beloved, too.
You will then take those particularly distressing words or actions, and use them as your mirror and your thorn- a mirror in which you see your own flaws more clearly, and a thorn that spurs you to work for change in the opposite direction. Modeling my life’s example will say so much more than any angry words. Modeling my life’s example will change so much more than any hateful reactions. Each time you witness divisiveness, scapegoating, greed, apathy, or injustice, look within yourself for these same tendencies. Examine yourself for your own hidden prejudices, your ignorance of these broken systems, and your contribution to the problems. Then, continue to passionately work for the betterment of the world.
You will model my life when your despair is transformed into determination, when your criticism is transformed into correction, and when your anger is transformed into action.
I interrupted. “Jesus I will have a tough time writing about this conversation. I’m embarrassed to admit my name-calling. I don’t want to write of political differences. I only want my blog to offer peace and hope for my readers. I really don’t want to write about this. Is there anything else you would have me know that will make this blog a source of peace and hope for all who read it?”
Today you are to do the next right thing- to admit your judgment against others, to discern your culpability in the brokenness, and consider how you as an individual may also contribute to the divisiveness of humanity and the abuse of creation. Then, strive to do everything you can to be a person of peace, kindness, love, compassion, care, and unity. Strive to do all you can to make your community, country and world a better place.
Your peace and hope will arise when you work for good, rather than festering in your anger or frustration. And your loving work will not only help to foster peace and hope for others, but also for yourself.
You will become more like me when you seek my peace and hope, and work for the peace and hope of others, while exemplifying my peace and hope in all you say and do.
And so I write this today.
(Photo by Karen)