Saturday, March 12, 2016

One Nation

I watched a portion of Nancy Reagan's funeral on Friday.  I, myself, was getting ready to go to a funeral so I couldn't watch it all.  I did see the distinguished guests filing in.  The politicians, the media personalities, the Hollywood famous.  The front rows began to fill up with the Reagan family and members of first families, past and present.  There was Michelle Obama seated next to George and Laura Bush.  Then, there was Hillary Clinton and Rosalynn Carter and Caroline Kennedy, who was the only one left to represent the Kennedys.  I read, later, that Steven Ford and the daughters of Lyndon Johnson were there, too.  They all greeted each other and hugged as they took their seats there together. 

The soldiers brought Mrs. Reagan's casket into the service and, as the attendees stood to their feet to honor her, our country did, too, in a figurative way.  Out of respect for the contribution that she made to our nation, standing with her husband and serving us alongside him.       

The service recounted memories from another era.  A more productive time.  A gentler time than now.  It was a time when our differences of opinions didn't paralyze us and render us completely broken.  When we could disagree with someone without feeling the need to destroy them personally or financially.  When we were more civil.  Less vicious.  More merciful.  Less vindictive.  When people, who didn't hold the same opinions, could still respect each other.  When getting the last word took a back seat to getting things done.  When we knew we each had to give a little in order to work together.  When we could all speak without fear of being annihilated by people who didn't believe the way we believed.    

Throughout the service, the camera would periodically go back to that row of Washington's past.  I thought what a unique occasion it was to see them all seated together in one place......their differences and all.  I thought about how they seemed to be united on this occasion in honoring the former first lady and her contributions.  If only for that moment. 

I came home later that day and turned on the news to see the protestors outside one of the presidential candidate's rally and the scene that was causing.  The talking heads took turns placing blame for the situation.  I changed clothes and sat down for a minute, finding a thread concerning Dr. Ben Carson's candidate endorsement which was filled with the most disturbing and vile comments and indignant proclamations of disassociation.....and, sadly, many were from his fellow Christians.  And then, another thread where a Christian entertainer halfway hinted of her support for a candidate and her comment section lit up with people vowing to remove themselves from her fan base immediately.  These people, who identified themselves as Christians, were done with her.  Forever.  I thought, "So, this is how we treat each other now?  This is how God's people handle differences of opinions?" 

It seems like we all have our little fenced off areas where we stand guard, these days.  These little fenced areas contain the things we believe to be true and the things which we feel strongly about.   This is an emotional place where we take offense to any kind of attack or assault.  We methodically walk back and forth and back and forth on our patrols ready to pounce on anyone who would offend our area.  We watch and listen carefully for anything that would insult us.  And when it comes, we lash out and we look to embarrass the perpetrator and get in the last word to prove that we are right and they are wrong and sorely misguided.       

Since its beginning, the country has always had divisions but it just seems to be fragmented now more than ever.  Religious groups are suspicious of one another.  The social activist crowd is intolerant of the religious liberties crowd.  The" Black Lives Matter" group resents the "All Lives Matter" people.  The liberals are hostile toward conservatives.  The conservatives blame all problems on liberals.  The citizens are fearful of immigrants.  The legal immigrants are resentful of the illegals.  The police are hated by the people they serve.  The abortion rights crowd has little regard for religious convictions.  Christians have the same sex marriage supporters at the top of their "sin chart".  The Sanders people feel more progressive than the Clinton people.  The Clinton people are annoyed by the Sanders people.  The Cruz supporters feel morally superior to the Trump crowd.  The Trump crowd is fed up with the establishment.  The establishment resists anyone but their own kind taking the wheel.  The atheists feel more intellectual than the Christians.  Southerners and their heritage are villainized with a broad brush by the PC crowd.  The PC crowd has an entire nation terrified to speak for fear of personal ruin.  The gun owners resist the gun law people.  The gun law people blame the gun rights crowd for escalating violence.  The have-nots resent the haves. The working taxpayers are bitter toward the entitlement abusers.  The entitlement abusers feel they are owed things by the taxpayers.  And on and on and on and on it goes.    

I just wonder when we came to this place.  When did we begin to feel like we have the right to be offended by the beliefs of others?  When did we start to think that we cannot live together as Americans unless we all agree?  When did people who yell about intolerance become blind to their own intolerance?  When did we decide that if you don't agree with me, we can't associate or even co-exist?       

It's hard to be one nation under God or indivisible when we're all standing guard inside our fence rows, patrolling them like they're maximum security prisons.  Yes, there are things truly worth fighting for.  Things on which we should never compromise.  But, so much that we protest and scream about these days doesn't fall into that category. 

We can't really help what our nation does as a whole but, for Christians, it's hard to be the hands and feet of Christ through these fences we've erected.  Hands can't reach very far over barriers.  Hands can't work if they're always on our self-righteous hips.  If we always act as offended and indignant toward each other as the unbelievers, how are we any different from the rest of the world?   

Jesus walked around the fences and ate with people who didn't exactly mirror his thinking.  He spoke the truth, but He spoke the truth out of love. Never out of hate or exclusion or the desire to destroy.  He didn't write people off because He didn't agree with them.  He knew the sick needed a doctor more than His fence needed a guard and so you'd find Him outside his own yard eating with the likes of crooked tax collectors and talking to adulterous Samaritan women.....crossing all sorts of lines and barriers.   

I wish we could go back to the time of more unity in our country.  Back to the time when we were one, at least, in American spirit......instead of the millions of cordoned off areas that we are now where we dare each other to cross the lines or even step foot on it.  I don't know how we get back to that as a nation but, as God's people, I believe we are called to treat people with respect and resist engaging in condescension. 

Let's not limit our calling by sectioning off.  We can't gain much ground when we pen ourselves in with self-made fences. 

It's hard to show God's love through "barb-ed" wire. 



Hope you have a great Sunday!    

                    

        

                     

12 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. I hope you have given lots of people something to think about.

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  2. Yes! This post should be read on tv, in a newspaper! Even my husband is not sure who to vote for, very frustrated and not really talking about the serious issues.
    Have a Blessed Sunday Joni,
    Kathleen in Az

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    1. It's been the craziest election season! So much frustration and emotion. Praying for our country.

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  3. Thank you for so beautifully writing what I am thinking. God bless you!

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  4. Made me tear up- you are so correct and although it was not (and the world never has been) perfect in the 50's & 60's - my era of growing up- it was certainly overall easier, more forgiving and much more close to God in those days... and I miss all of those days. Lord, please help the United States of America...

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    1. Yes! Unfortunately, the days of Mayberry are over, I'm afraid. Like you, we all need to pray for our country and vote!

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