Can you imagine?
I want to share a story with you. Imagine for moment you are a parent trying to raise your child in an inhospitable environment. There is violence and hate around every corner. You want to escape, but you are unable. The more you try to make things better, the more you feel like you are spinning your wheels. Your child begins to notice the world around them is not like the fairy tales they have read growing up. They are persecuted at school or while they walk down the street and it breaks your heart. What can you do for yourself, for your child?
Can you feel it? The pain, anger, heartbreak, loneliness, hopelessness that this parent feels? Can you imagine it?
If you can, then you know how the drug addict living on the streets of Philadelphia feels, the refugee who wants so desperately to start a new life, the Muslim who was born in America but is persecuted because of what someone on the other side of the world has done, the immigrant who wants to make a better life for their family. You know how they feel.
You know how the African-American who panics when pulled over for a broken tail light feels, the police officer who leaves the house every morning knowing they may not return, the homeless who happen to have an education but can't get a break, the soldier who is fighting abroad, the veteran who is fighting a war in their mind. You know how they feel.
You know how the missionary who is trying to bring hope to a foreign land feels, the person suffering from a mental illness that no one can see, the disabled person who always feels someone is staring, the LGBT person who was disowned from their family, the interracial couple who's family cannot be in the same room, the businessman or woman who works 60 hours a week and never sees their family, the single parent working several jobs just to put a roof over their head. You know how they feel.
You even know how the politician who is trying to make a difference, the reporter who is just trying to share what they see happening in the world around them, and the citizen who sees their country being ripped to shreds feel.
Go ahead and reread the story inserting any of these examples, the emotion does not change. Everyone is hurting right now. With so much hurt, someone please explain to me how hate will make it any better? You may not agree with one or more of the "people" listed above, but how does hating, insulting, or arguing with them improve your day? Now imagine how loving them could impact your day. Actually loving them. What about how it could impact their day? You can love someone and disagree with them. God loves us and often disagrees with our choices.
I'm not naive, I know that the world is not going to read this post and suddenly join hands while singing Kumbaya, but I know we have the opportunity to extend love to those we come in contact with both in the world and online. So, let me start by saying I love you. And more importantly God loves you. And if you're in need, please reach out. You're not alone. I know how you feel.
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.