To keep an open mind and fully underscore my value system, I believe it is important to listen to both sides of an argument.
As a Christian, I look for the root of divinity – seeking God’s presence in the everydayness of life and watching for ways God shows up – usually in surprising places.
As a writer, I research and analyze characters, settings and the ever-changing plotlines of life.
Thus, the story we humans have been writing within the last months of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 intrigues, appalls and forces me to ask the question:
Haven’t we already erected enough walls?
We’ve tried to divide and conquer through ugly Facebook posts, malicious Tweets and the constant debates on every news channel – no matter what the political standard. Yes, Fox News can be just as ugly as CNN.
I believe Jesus would not waste his time watching either channel.
Instead of spending his precious waning hours typing hate on a Facebook page, Jesus would be mowing the lawn for an elderly woman.
Instead of using his energy to emasculate his fellow man, Jesus would fix a meal for a single mom and her kids – then tuck an extra fifty-dollar bill inside the napkin.
Instead of listening to commentators yell at each other on the idiot box – who can hear what they’re saying anyway? Jesus would be on his knees begging God’s mercy for our fractured land.
Instead of screaming in uppercase with red text, Jesus would use his hands to touch the weeping face of a homeless man, fix a broken fence on the other side of the tracks and make sure his neighbors knew they were welcome in his home if their electricity was shut off.
The one thing Jesus would NOT do…would be to use his pulpit to bully the other side with religious rhetoric. He was, you’ll remember, constantly reminding the zealots that he who is without sin should throw the first stone.
We erect walls because they keep us away from someone different from ourselves. And yet, these emotional and socio-economic walls actually reveal our greatest fear: that I am like you and you are like me – a human being in need of love, compassion and grace.
The abused woman and the happily-married woman are the same inside. They want their heart cries to be heard. They want to be honored, cherished and respected for who they are.
The homosexual and the heterosexual are the same inside. Each wants to be accepted and loved. They seek love in different ways, but their goal is the same. Love me. Care about me.
The Muslim and the Christian are the same inside – each bowing the knee and hoping the mystery of God will hear their prayer requests. Their belief systems are different – yes – but at the core, each seeker hopes God will somehow show up and save them.
But it is easier for us to type vitriol than it is to connect with someone we fear.
Can we not realize how much alike we are – a blob of needy and messy humanity whose lives constantly unravel – homo sapiens who want to be understood and need to know our lives have meaning.
Yet it is somehow more satisfying to scream than it is to hug.
It is more appealing to argue than to compromise.
Can we not use our energy to do good rather than trying to defeat each other? Can we join together and dig deeper to consider what our calling really involves?
To get our hands dirty helping others and let our hearts be bloodied with the capacity to meet needs.
To search for the humanity and the divinity in each other and respond with grace.
To not revel in the fight but rather join together in the process of rescue.
Scripture and history teach us it is not one side or the other, but rather both/and.
I wonder which side of the wall Jesus stands on, knocking as always and hoping some lonely soul will answer.
Because what we all need is hope, and we cannot find it when we refuse to scale the walls.
©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of “Sometimes They Forget” and the Reverend G Trilogy