When certain political issues rise, judgment and confusion roar. Particularly in my little slice of the world, because I’m blessed to love and be loved by a lot of powerfully vocal and passionate folks. So when presidential campaigns loom, or media focuses on abortion, capital punishment, poverty, civil rights, same-sex marriage, or religious freedoms… Like this past week, between DOMA, Prop 8 and the rest of the political uproar…
Folks very extreme beliefs get sounded loud and clear. That’s a microcosm for the rest of the world.
And I love clarity. And truth. Loud, meh… Not one for drama.
But I hate when people turn into spokespersons for evil, knowingly or not. Evil is a super-dramatic word. Hear me out.
It is evil to nonchalantly say, or share things that war against someone’s identity- who a person believes they are… Irresponsibly, without showing you give a hoot what happens next because you’ve made it clear you’re not trying to engage.
I’ve been writing a lot about mind-renewal.
And here’s the thing.
Our minds are the most powerful and most important part of our life: We choose freely, and think freely. No one can change that. We have to choose to change the way we think.
Until someone has made that choice, railroading your way into their life with your own thinking and trampling all over theirs as you pass through, tossing judgment over your shoulder as you leave is just what it looks like: Violent and hate-filled.
I know what it feels like to be so amped-up about what you believe, you feel empowered by your passion, free to create change with the strength of your words and spirit. Until a very wise woman pointed out to me how misguided I was for believing that.
The world, this life and all the people in it we know and love is not some courtroom filled with hostile witnesses. We’re not power attorneys out to debate and badger the outcome we’re hired to deliver from a jury deciding someone’s fate.
The world is a lot more like a really amazing, never-ending event filled with the most awesome people, thinkers, and spirits of all time, where we change the world forever just by demonstrating how powerful true love is. Really. More on that another time maybe.
When you’re tempted to show how you feel about a really incendiary political issue, if it isn’t demonstrating how powerful true love is… That doesn’t just go by unnoticed, or offer a chance for a lot of mirror-image thinkers to cosign with you.
If you’ve ever had the profound honor of hearing someone say you lifted their spirits, you know how beautiful it is for them and you. People usually never say you bruised their spirit. They just try desperately to unbruise it and distance themselves from you.
Why would you want to fuel the idea that another living person is anything other than a miracle full of potential?
You really do matter.
Airing out a view that maybe, means someone feels afraid to go to church, or afraid to profess their love for their spouse, or afraid to say what their real ethnicity is, or afraid to say I’m not ready to have a child…
It fuels a world that tells some of us we’re not fit to be in it.
You are so powerful.
We gain nothing by making people feel unloved, unsafe: When we’re not investing love, we all collectively lose.
This isn’t about honesty or moral responsibility. The truth is perceived as a lie and a lie, truth to a warped mind. When we communicate we are absolutely responsible for being aware not only of what we’re saying and how it will be understood, but what impact we have.
We’re not more powerful when we set rules and judge people. We’re most powerful when we live as examples of a crazy love never seen before that transforms folks just because it’s so awesome.
As for the law… Our country was founded on some… Flawed principles. Among them, black people aren’t fully human and women aren’t fit to vote.
It falls to us to make sure those flaws don’t morph into ever-expanding bondage.
Bondage is the real or perceived absence of freedom, por ejemplo:
- Telling a woman what she can or can’t do with her body.
- Telling someone who they can or can’t marry.
- Telling a person what they can or can’t worship.
- Telling a person they whether they deserve to live.
- Barring help for those who need it.
- Living in confusion.
- Being stubbornly blind.
The constitution is not scripture-based. The law isn’t either. Both are heroic attempts to make the world a better place by people, setting boundaries within the landscape of known reality.
Where the spirit of the person or the law is broken, everything else will follow. We have to know when and how we are called to help… Or not. God gave us free will. He honors that by allowing us to choose Him. He aches and suffers when we don’t but He never forces us. That is what honor, trust and faith looks like. We show honor, trust and faith by allowing people to choose as well.
Forcing someone, or manipulating someone to any degree for any reason is not Godly. If there’s something in you that feels compelled to convince someone of something, or to do anything other than love on someone in a given situation, the first step should be to ask why you feel that unloving, un-Godly urge.
There’s a passage that used to drive me crazy until I realized, with some help from my best friend, that it’s about honoring choice, discernment:
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.
How you engaging with another is your choice, and theirs.
Be discerning. Be gentle. Be understanding. Be educated. Before taking a loud impassioned stance on a political issue, whether it’s war, poverty, abortion, capital punishment, same-sex marriage or anything else… Remember that like game rules made up by little kids, human law has always been tragically flawed.
More law can’t magically fix that.
People have to change.
Policy-makers must be driven by an understanding of humanity, of true unconditional love for those affected by it.
Laws don’t change people.
God’s love does.
When is it okay for law to make it easier for a group of people to be harmed, and harder for them to make their own decisions? Is that okay if the people in harms way, with limited freedom are kids? Or Christians? How about if the group is homosexual? Maybe it’s okay if they’re murderers, or black. Or prideful. Maybe if they’re women, or mothers-to-be? Or adulterers. Or Muslims. Or devil-worshipers.
When you try to figure out exactly who among us deserves to be persecuted by law, it’s hard to avoid the truth: We can’t make that call. That’s the true slippery slope. God makes all things new. Especially the extra-crazy stuff. God isn’t looking for an easy deal, and choosing to make only the holy, perfect, pious, self-righteous things new. Or saying if we write and follow man-made laws perfectly, He’ll draw more people to Him, and be closer to us.
The scripture doesn’t say, worship the Bible and put it before God’s love for His children. Love never fails.
When it hurts to love someone it’s easier to find an excuse to justify distance than to heal your own brokenness.
We’re fortunate to live in a nation that in spite of its broken, charred roots, at least hasn’t said I deserve to be put on trial for writing this blog, or you for reading it. No one sent me to the electric chair for having an abortion. No one stands outside of my church to arrest me when I go to worship.
Who should have gotten to make that call? Who’s really fit to say certain human rights are more or less important than others, more or less worthy of defense?
A long, long time ago we humans determined man’s government was preferable to spiritual leadership.
Trying to force political solutions on spiritual issues or spiritual solutions on political issues is destructive, and wasteful. We have to know where our power sits, and be aware of how the heck to use it.
If you believe in equal rights, in freedom, in choice, in love, in God, in Democracy, or in America you can’t possibly believe you really have the power to say who deserves to be treated like a human, and who doesn’t.
And if you think you do have that power… Wouldn’t you also have to accept, that belief enables your neighbor to define your rights for you?
This is bigger than us. So look higher than yourself, your emotion, your neighbor for the source of the message you spread.