Political Rules of Engagement

It is very easy to diagnose. All it takes is half a brain to look around and see a world full of people deluding and distracting ourselves from our own truths with food, entertainment, drugs, money, sex, politics, religion, sports, social media, entertainment, power, hobbies, information, anger and lots of opinions. It is obvious that fear, pain, guilt, shame, hopelessness, boredom, insecurity and vulnerability are dictating our lives and determining our lifestyles, and producing epidemics of sickness and disease.

Don’t believe me, then look at the results. The number one killer in this country is food and we keep eating crap. We are lonelier than ever and we keep living hidden, fragmented, online and out of our false-selves. We have the highest levels of debt and we keep spending. We are addicts and we cannot quit consuming and trying to fill ourselves up with things that will make us “feel” something?

Why do we fall victim to identity politics? Is it because we don’t know who we are? Why do we love so poorly? Is it because that’s how we love ourselves? Why do we get so angry when someone looks different, acts different and believes different from us? Is it because it exposes us and our deep fears, guilt and shame? Why can’t we create space to listen to others? Is it because we have not made that space to listen to ourselves?

I am like you. I am like every other human being. I am vulnerable, sensitive, fragile, weak, insecure, transparent, needy, desperate and dependent on love. I am a gift of love. You are a gift of love. Yet, when I forget who I am and when you forget who you are, then we will run to cover ourselves with temporary things (fig leaves) to quiet the voice of fear that says, “We are unloved and we are alone.”

Most of our hate and anger is produced from feeling unloved and alone, like we don’t matter.

Hate and anger may be a real and righteous feeling but they are also two of our biggest and most self-righteous fig leaves. Hate and anger do not naturally live inside of us. They are a reaction to what is going on inside of us. It’s so much easier to direct our hate and anger at our neighbor than deal with our own hypocrisy, jealousy, fear, pain, guilt and shame. I had much rather scream at the driver who accidentally got in my way, then to ponder why am I so entitled to the road or why driving exposes me in such a way that anger is the only emotion that comes out.

Why am I so angry? Why are we so angry?

Why does someone kneeling make us murder them in our hearts? Why is there so much rage against our neighbor who is standing up for injustice, abuse, corruption and racism? Would it have bothered us as much or would we have even noticed if every single person in the projects took a knee or burned those buildings down to the ground? I doubt it.

The truth is that…

People and circumstances expose us and when they do, we should ask, “What is coming out of our hearts? Perhaps, we never knew that we are racist. Perhaps, we don’t know who we are? Perhaps, we have lots of unanswered fears. Perhaps, we do not know our neighbors and have not cared to listen to their fears, pain and truth.

Is patriotism more important than love? Is religion more important than love? Have we forgotten how to love ourselves because we are so busy consuming to fill our own emptiness and we cannot remember what it actually feels like to be human and to be vulnerable, weak, needy and desperate? We are not designed to connect through loyalty, opinions, patriotism, power, money or pain. We are designed to connect through love and there’s no way that we can connect the way we are designed, if we don’t know who we are and we do not know how very much God loves us and our neighbor…all our neighbors.

If you call yourself a Christian, then this is your time to show the world how Jesus didn’t just take a knee. Instead he gave everything. He emptied himself completely so that we would all be entitled to receive God’s love, grace, mercy and truth. Jesus did not demand that we show God respect and punish us for not changing our most disrespectful lives. Rather, he died for us and he gave us new hearts to receive God’s love and then he sent the Holy Spirit to transform us, so we would be full, whole and holy human beings, and in fullness we would move out into our world to love our neighbor, to make things new, to heal, and to help.

I want you to remember that you are loved more than you could ever want or imagine. This divine love flows over and through us with power to wash away the tears of injustice, the fears of racism, the pain of a nation, the guilt of sin and the shame that affects us all today. This love gives us the desire and courage to love our neighbor. Maybe we have forgotten that what love is. Great news, we have been given the greatest witness of what love looks like, sounds like and feels like…
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
“ The Bible

I was thinking about writing a piece on political rules of engagement but I realized that we don’t need more rules but what we desperately need now, more than ever, is to look at ourselves and tell the truth. Do we know who we are and how we are naturally designed to be healthy, whole and holy human beings? Does what we say and do reflect a heart that’s full of love, a spirit that’s full of grace, a mind that’s full of holy truth, a body that’s full of nourishment, and relationships that are full of compassion and empathy? 

The Bible says to “Love your neighbor.” It also says to “Love your enemies.” If you have forgotten what love looks like and sounds like, then read that passage again. “Love is patient, Love is kind.” I hope and pray in the coming weeks that we will remember our faith, remember who we are by remembering who God is and then will want and desire to imitate The Way, The Truth , And The Life Of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps, The Word should be our only guide in this political season and whatever season we are going through, “Let all bitterness and animosity and indignation and clamoring and defamation be removed from you, together with every evil. And become helpfully kind to one another, inwardly compassionate, forgiving among yourselves, just as God also graciously forgave you in the Anointed.” – The Bible

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