I am going to be sixty-nine in a few months, one of the Baby Boomers of our country who has lived through several wars, the turbulent 60's, the assassination of a president and his brother, the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.. Hate crime. I am not too old to feel the effects of Hitler and Nazi Germany, the Berlin wall, the Cold War, and countless other historic events that shook our world and changed us for better and for worse.
Joel and I have been through a lot of tough things together in our 48 1/2 years of marriage. The death of a son, of our moms, threats on Joel's life and on our family, hatred and racism thrown at us and our children because we are a family of many races. We have battled Lyme Disease and I have battled cancer twice. We have lived in 6 states and one third world country, had 18 major moves, 22 over all. Like all of you, we have experienced life at it's best and at its worst.
Today we are mourning. We are weary and grieving the division of America, our country. We are grieving what we have seen and heard over the past 19 months of this debacle we have called a campaign for President. We grieve over the hatred and discord. The degrading of people because of their individual beliefs, "party" beliefs, color, ethnicity, and religion. The killing of innocent people, the ambushing of police. It has all sickened us. This election process peeled back layers of skin to reveal the fear, anger, and hatred of "we the people".
This is not a political statement. This is a statement of how divided and hate-filled our country has become again and how we have let fear of each other and of our differences come in the way of
"loving one another" as God has commanded us to do. Not asked us, commanded us.
I have watched those on Facebook say horrible, hateful things "in the name of their God". I have read awful things, like calling our current president a monkey, racial slurs, and more. One man actually told his relative he was looking forward to the White House being white again. This is to a woman who stood before him holding two of her bi-racial children on her hips. I have observed online author Christie Purifoy speak from her heart about her Mexican American husband and seen people react in hateful ways. I have read posts by people putting down anyone who does not think or vote like them. Honestly, I have "unfollowed" many people on Facebook over the past few months because their words had such a negative affect on me. "Lets love one another as long as they look, think, feel, live and vote like us.....and lets do it in the name of Jesus."
I think Joel and I are shocked at how angry and afraid people are on both sides of this red and blue divisonary war we have created in government and country. We are shocked at the hateful things being said, and the hateful things being done. Ugly has come out of us as a nation and it is scary.
We vote in all elections, but we do not voice our votes in public because we believe as a pastor and family it is not fair to use the pulpit to influence others. We know Republicans and Democrats alike who are believers, who love the Lord. We believe we as citizens of the US have a right and duty to vote. We, as Christians, love our Lord and our country.
We just don't know where to go with what this election process has uncovered not only in the candidates but in so many of the voters. It may be something you expected..........I think we expected things had changed for the better in how we see each other, treat each other. I guess we expected to see "the fruits of the Spirit" come out in people. This is a revelation we are stunned by and paying attention to.
What now? Our country, our cities, our communities are in turmoil, so what now? Joel and I feel so strongly that in this season of our lives we want to leave a legacy of not only faith in Jesus to our grands and great grands to come, but we want to leave a legacy of integrity, goodness, kindness, tolerance, acceptance, love and more love. We want to speak life and not death into our small corner of the world. We fail sometimes at this, but we get back up, repent, and try and try again to let Christ shine through us.
What now? It begins with how we treat each other. How we treat the person who shares our bed, our dining table, who lives across the street, who shops in our grocery store, who looks and believes different than us. It begins when we get down on our knees, repent for our part in this mess we call living, and love on those easy to love and especially those hard to love. It begins when we ask ourselves why we are afraid and angry and what would God want us to do about it?
We can change ourselves........others we can only love. So we love the unlovable, we forgive the unforgivable, we reach out and do what God has commanded us to do............love our neighbors of which the whole world is...........we forgive, we repent, we pray. Oh how we pray..........we ask God to heal us. It begins with us. We ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His. We praise God for this country we live in, broken as it is. We look around and see how unbelievably blessed we are to live in a democracy and not a dictatorship. We give thanks..........we give thanks.......We open our gratitude journals and start remembering the thousands of gifts we have to be thankful for, starting with this country. We pray for UNITY IN OUR DIVERSITY. We pray. We grieve with hope and we pray.