There’s a lot of fear pushing us around lately.
It’s the enemy’s way of controlling us. Keeping our focus off God and his greatness. Making us believe that God doesn’t mean what he says when he tells us he loves us and has good plans for our future. God doesn’t intend to harm us.
I believe that.
But what about people meaning harm? Vigilantes ravage cities stoking the fires of fear. News media headlines scream that this virus is out of control and coming for us next unless we stop singing in church and wear oxygen depriving masks everywhere while they neglect news about the decreasing death count. And everyone has opinions. A lot of them are political.
But that’s not what this post is about.
This is about unity. Forgiveness. Love one another.
You see, recently someone asked if people are afraid to talk about race. And that made me think.
I’m not afraid of Covid or the brain sucking amoeba in Florida’s warm waters. (Sorry if you haven’t heard and now that’s given you one more thing to worry about–don’t worry. They say it’s not really a threat. At least not the same threat as the not-yet-a-threat of the new swine flu in China.)
But I AM afraid of not loving one another.
I’m afraid of talking about race because maybe I’ll offend without meaning to.
I’m afraid I’ll be unknowingly insensitive because I don’t have the same experiences.
I’m afraid that because I grew up in a wealthy, “white” neighborhood (I don’t even get why we call neighborhoods “white” or “black”), I’ll be seen as racist even though that is not my heart.
I honestly want to know what my black friends have experienced and how they feel about it, but I’m afraid to ask because I don’t know if they will feel like I”m prying or overstepping into a sacred world of their pain.
I see us all as people loved by God, so if I ask about race am I not now making a point of someone being black or some other ethnicity or culture rather than a person with uniquely good or painful experiences?
I want us all to live in unity, listening, understanding, having compassion for each other’s hurts without discriminating or judging.
And while I believe that through Jesus, that is possible, I’m afraid people are more interested in being offended or proving their point than they are about loving their neighbor.
God says that perfect love casts out fear. His love is the only love that’s perfect. I don’t fear him. I’m grateful for his love. If I let him love me, can I love others enough to make them not afraid? Can I stop being afraid and instead be quick to listen and slow to share my opinion? Can I speak truth in love with grace and patience, willing to put myself in someone else’s shoes so I can show compassion?
Can we look for the why behind someone’s opinions, thoughts, feelings, and fears?
Maybe we can stop being afraid long enough to love one another.