In this post today, I am speaking specifically to my fellow Christians, to those who call themselves children of God and followers of Jesus. Everyone’s included in this space. I exclude no one. Today, though, I’m just addressing a bit of family business. You are welcome to listen in.
Dear fellow believers and adoptees of Father God,
As a kid growing up on the vast and spreading prairie, it was a particular delight to gather with my wild band of cousins on Grandpa Yoder’s farm. At Christmastime, we would cram into the basement. You couldn’t spit without hittin’ one of us; there were children everywhere, and the uncles and aunts presided over the melee. It was the happiest kind of chaos.
Afterwards, we’d haul tail out into the starry night and resume our favorite, Kick the Can. Oh, how the night air would come alive with shrieks, hollers, the pounding of feet and (sigh) vociferous arguing. Sides would form up (usually boys against girls), and we’d hammer it out. By the next family gathering, we’d all be friends again, hauling tail out into the starry night. Hashtag good times.
We were different. We had different parents. We went to different churches (or none at all). We were different ages with different tastes, but, after all, we were related. We were family.
I speak to you today across the family table. We are different, we have different parents, and we go to different churches (or maybe none at all). We’re different ages. We have different tastes, but we are, after all, related. We are family.
It’s on the strength of our family ties that I tell you that I am troubled these days by the disrespect, the acrimony, and the vituperation I see and hear in the public square by family members. I heard it when President Bush was in office. I heard it when President Obama was in office. I am hearing it now that President Trump is in office.
Please know that as I speak to you, I am speaking, first, to myself. I’m thinking today on the words of James, friend of our Lord, who once wrote, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be! Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? (Jas. 3:9-11).”
When those in “the world” raise their voices in hatred and rebellion, they are simply acting like what they are, “the world,” those who live without the life and light of Christ. We ought not be surprised about this. We surely ought not sound like them if God truly is our Father.
“Go into all the world and make disciples.” That’s what Jesus said, and that is our high privilege and directive. We cannot make disciples if we are spouting hatred. We cannot make disciples if we are rough, harsh, not malleable, and unkind. Dark upon dark equals dark.
It is our love for God and for each other that will be the brightest light in this dying world. Such love does not equate to unthinking agreement and approval. Such love is the love that was extended to us via Calvary, through a tomb of stone, and a glorious resurrection in a garden. All, so that we could be gathered into His family.
Let’s live in this grateful, undying love. Our country and our world are waiting.
Warmly from your little sister,