Five Minute Friday: Create

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

At least 75 people died during a Bastille Day celebration in southern France after someone drove a truck into a crowd.

What was the freaking point of that?!

My heart is heavy. People assume that pacifism means passivity. It doesn’t. The violence presses on me. The cries of the bereft ring in my ears. I want to do something. Yet I have struggled with how or if to write about the events of recent weeks. I’m a white Christian woman living in an essentially ethnically homogeneous area. Two of my uncles are on the police force in a large West Coast city. I haven’t experienced the injustice that others have.

What can I do? What can I say? What should my response be to those who kill in the name of race or religion?

I want to scream. STOP IT!

Hate doesn’t make any sense. Skin is just skin. Nobody has control over what shade God paints them. I’m a little darker than an albino and guess what? I’m not superior to anyone. I’m not #blessed because I’m pasty. Let us all collectively pull our heads out of our behinds and get over it. Additionally, other people’s choices in the way they live their lives – religion, sexuality, whatever – are theirs to make. By all means, have convictions. Disagree with ideas. But if your religion or philosophy or political bent moves you to name-call, belittle or even kill others who are not like you, then you either need to renew your understanding of said religion, philosophy or political bent or get a new one entirely.

God is not supportive of hate, so let’s not try and drag Him into this. (If you throw Romans 9:13 at me I will throw both a systematic theology textbook [not Wayne Grudem’s] and a book on basic interpretation at you). The load is all on us. God can and will release us from that load, but we’d best be owning it first. Hate is sin. It is evil.

We need to repent of it.

Go.

Kate says: create. A word loaded with meaning. There are so many ways to take this pompt. But my mind is on one track. What is my role in creating a church (both general and specific) environment where hate cannot thrive?

We started talking about all of this the other day in a Voxer group I’ve been part of for a year-and-a-half. One of the ladies told us about how her employment situation has forced her to work with someone different. Someone “other.” They’ve had conversations. Shared experiences and viewpoints. Listened to each other.

That’s the second step, after repentance. When we choose to lay down our assumptions and prejudices and actually engage with someone, we’re doing the work.

Problem is, we’re lazy. We want the beauty of peace, but we don’t want to labor for it. We want God to swoop in and *poof!* it all away. Make it bright and shiny and clean. Come on, now. Don’t we know our Bibles better than that? (I know the answer, and it is sad). When, aside from the moment of justification, does God do that before the culmination of history?

He doesn’t.

Repentance makes us right with Him so we can turn around and get right with others and then model that vertical and horizontal rightness for the rest of the world. There’ll be no human-created utopia this side of Eternity. We’d be great fools to expect that. We’d be perhaps even greater fools to think that we are given leave to sit idly by as darkness rolls on. That’s the tension we live in, knowing that our efforts will not bring about world peace but knowing we are not allowed to quit. We are people of light, children of day (1 Thessalonians 5:5). As God patiently molds us into new people (2 Corinthians 5:17), He pours into us everything that is required to obey His commands (Hebrews 13:21).

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

– Matthew 22:36-40 (HCSB)

No days off. No “but I don’t like him!” No “but she annoys me!”

No “I hate…”

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Rodion Kutsaev
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16 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Create

  1. Marie, I love where you took this post. Creating a church where hate cannot thrive. Before that can happen, we have to be able to view people through Jesus’ eyes of love, don’t we? Because only when we can set ourselves aside and choose to love those who are different can we squelch hate. You’ve got me thinking on this. On looking to see who in my sphere might be considered “different” that I can choose to reach out to.

    Great post, my friend.

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  2. Preach it, sister! I love the way you took this prompt. I love this: “Problem is, we’re lazy. We want the beauty of peace, but we don’t want to labor for it.” Yep. We’re so guilty of this (me included in that we). We want change, but do we want TO change? Do we want to MAKE change? Nope. We just think if we say it over and over and over something will happen. It requires action. Actually doing something. Love is a verb. It’s not something we can just say passively and to who we want to say it to– it is an action.

    So many people keep asking why God hasn’t swooped in and fixed the mess we’ve made in this world. I’m pretty sure He’d ask us that same question: we are the answer. we are the solution. we just can’t sit here and expect things to get better if we don’t put the work in. I listened to a conversation hosted by IF: Gathering last week by Latasha Morrison, and she said this: “you can’t just pray and sit on it!” She quoted the message version of James 3: “we must do the hard work of getting along.”

    We must do the work. We must treat love like it’s the verb that it is and actually DO it instead of being all dreamy about it.

    Sorry I got all sermon-comment on ya, friend… this topic has been weighing hard on me (and others, obviously) the last week. Eyes are finally starting to open, I think– now I hope they will act on what they see.

    Love ya, lady. Hope you’re feeling okay.

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  3. Excellent. Seriously. And I agree. I feel like I should be writing something profound – but, well, you just did! 🙂

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  4. My mom always says and sometimes I roll my eyes, “Seek peace and pursue it.” But she’s right. Perhaps not in some of the contexts she seeks to apply it.
    But in general like you said peace with others is a pursuit. it isn’t natural here. Isn’t it wonderful thought that it is the nature of Heaven?
    I read recently that we cultivate peace.
    Meaning its intentional. It’s an effort.
    Great post!

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  5. Don’t ever stop saying what rises up in your belly. It helps us all. It makes us see clearly and gives voice to what we don’t even know we want to say yet. This: “We’d be perhaps even greater fools to think that we are given leave to sit idly by as darkness rolls on.” Ty and Amen.

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  6. “Problem is, we’re lazy. We want the beauty of peace, but we don’t want to labor for it.” Yes, so true. And I too have been in the “we”. Pursuing in love is hard, hard work. But you’re right, we can’t give up. And we need to keep seeking God’s face to give us the wisdom to pursue others in His way and not our own.

    Love what you share about the tension. Pursuing and letting go in one … a hard, hard task, but one God uses to refine and mould us for eternity.

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  7. So much yes. “When we choose to lay down our assumptions and prejudices and actually engage with someone, we’re doing the work.” Thank you for sharing your bold words with a world that needs them. Each and every one of us!

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  8. Marie,
    I already commented on your Facebook, but I really appreciated your post. Thank you. I didn’t “create” a post this week, as I was creating the illusion of ancient Egypt as “Tammypatra” for the kids at our Vacation Bible School. But, I’m enjoying the celebration of all the other creative posts.
    Love,
    Tammy

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  9. Great post, Marie. Sorry it took me awhile to get here. Helluva weekend. Not the good kind.

    Guess I see it this way – no better friend, no worse enemy. I’ll meet anyone with an open hand, but cross my line, threaten my family and friends, and that person will wish he’d never been born.

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