I don’t know much. But I know that each time I see something heartbreaking on the news, each time I encounter a problem outside, the answer to the problem is inside. The problem is ALWAYS me and the solution is ALWAYS me. If I want my world to be less vicious, then I must become more gentle. If I want my children to embrace other children for who they are, to treat other children with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves, then I had better treat other adults the same way. And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless. Because the kids who bully are those who are afraid that a secret part of themselves is not okay.
And Alise said this:
So in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us to treat those under church discipline like tax collectors. And he shows us how to treat tax collectors by inviting them to be his disciples, by eating with them, by loving them just the same.
Not to mention that that verses directly following the church discipline verses are about the ones who refuse to forgive. Not the ones who refuse to ask for forgiveness, but those who refuse to GIVE forgiveness.
This will certainly be my challenge today – to extend forgiveness to those who hurt others in the name of the gospel.
It's too easy to blame everyone and feel so enraged at their shortcomings. Even after reading these two compassionate, grace-filled posts, last night I found myself angrily brandishing a spatula of judgement while making dinner. My friend had just told me some of the ridiculous, obtuse, hurtful comments other teachers had made about gay teens being bullied in their school and I had exclaimed (I paraphrase) "Just when I start thinking the world is an okay place and that we are making steps forward I hear this crap!" And I fumed to myself.
This morning, I was fuming some more as I reread Glennon's post, self-righteously thinking, "Close-minded jerks! Homophobic, hateful, terrible people!" (I know, my threats are childish but I'm not big on swearing) And then I was stopped dead in my tracks by her comment- "The problem is ALWAYS me and the solution is ALWAYS me." Where is my love? "This will certainly be my challenge today – to extend forgiveness to those who hurt others in the name of the gospel." I hadn't even dreamed of forgiving these people. I was way too busy calling them bigots.
I'm a generally calm person. I've spent a lot of my life being chided by my best friend for not showing enough emotion. But, oh buddy, say something to hurt my friends and I will go bat-shit crazy with anger. I will literally see red and just lose it. It's really not a good trait and it's extremely hypocritical. I write all these hippy-sounding posts, "hey man, all you need is love. Let's give peace a chance" and then 10 minutes later I am fuming.
So I'm confessing it here. I suck at loving my enemies. I am terrible at forgiving them. But I want to be better. I am going to get better. I really believe what Glennon wrote about needing to set an example for our kids of who we want them to be and I desperately want to be a good mom. I really want to raise my kids to be kind and loving; much better at it than their mom was. I want our family to be about loving people. Loving every person. Valuing every person. Even the ones we don't really think deserve it. Because every life is precious and every human has amazing, incredible, unknowable potential. I always want to be nudging people towards the best they can be.
All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all love, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal... it is immortals who we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.
- C.S. Lewis