I have long neglected my blog and planned to treat you with a post entitled, “Grab Life by the Hobby Lobby Coupons and Hang On,” sharing the newfound wisdom of a 40-year-old, hoping to make you laugh.
Today is not a day for that.
I hate writing about controversial topics because it attracts people other than my 5 best friends to my blog and they are not always in lock-step agreement with me. Even when I write about current events (see Love Wins and Canada or Bust), I tend to be prudent in my word choice, avoiding hard lines in the sand. In part, that is because I don’t enjoy criticism, but also it’s because I don’t think it progresses difficult conversations.
It’s not that I don’t have strong opinions. I frequently say, “It’s not worth having an opinion if it’s not a strong one,” but I believe in the Emily Post-ism that polite company does not discuss religion, politics, or money with casual acquaintances. Those conversations should be nestled in the warmth of real friendship, where the barbed edges of sharp differences are blunted by affection. I typically think people who rage about controversy on Facebook are stirring the pot, stoking the fires of divisiveness with little regard for the 50% of their “friends” they are publicly insulting, while propping themselves up on the side of righteousness (how’s that for an opinion?).
But in the wake of Alton Sterling and the Dallas Police shootings, I must bend my own rules for a moment: We are doing this terribly wrong. We are stirring up dissention, we are picking at scabs, we are looking at the world as if our point of view is the only one that exists. In our calls for justice, we are being unjust, lumping blame on one another.
There are a lot of people hurting today. This world is a terribly broken place, and the “People of Light” need to start acting like people of light. Jesus commands us to love our enemies and I think that’s because it’s almost as if He knew that might be a “difference-maker” in this world.
I realize that many people feel like social media is a platform to speak boldly, but if you’re a “hot button poster,” I beg you to reread your posts. If you sound like you hate someone, even “the bad guy”, you’re doing harm. Say it like you’d tell someone about whom you actually believe the best, or don’t say it.
C.S. Lewis, because he’s almost always right, knew how to move past the pain we humans inflict upon one another:
“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”