We always had an opponent, someone to fight against. There was always an enemy threatening to dominate us. It wasn’t hard to recognize them. We knew who they were by the colors they wore.
And if they got close we’d stomp and yell with our fists in the air till our voice was shot. We tried not to embarrass our sons with our loud allegiance. But “our team” -at least in our mind- was the best and everyone should know it.
The other side had parents yelling just as vehemently,
just as convinced that their side was the best.
Secretly, we were all begging God for a victory. But whose side was God on? Was God listening to prayers in both locker rooms trying to decide which way to throw the game?
And where does God side on Election Day?
You might say, taking sides has been in our DNA. For thousands of years, people gathered in clans for protection against their enemies. It’s wired in us to circle the wagons for safety. There was us and there was them. And that was life.
Until Jesus had another idea.
Holy Father protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one—I in them and You in Me-that they may be perfectly united so that the world will know You have sent Me and loved them just as You have loved Me. – Jesus. (John 17)
Jesus seems to be saying now that we’re all “protected in God’s name” we can lose our fear of “the other” and come together as one unified people. A radical concept the Church has yet to master.
Christians- the ones who follow their True Leader are supposed to be ridiculous people … they go against the flow of their own human nature that wants to judge, hate, and slander. They do the opposite of what the majority believes should be done. They defend the condemned, give compassion to the guilty, love their enemies, and entertain outcasts.
What if it’s really true that we are all created in the image of God? Everyone.
You will never look into the eyes of a person God does not love. But what does that even mean for a Christ-follower in today’s environment?
- It means we learn to see the hearts of people and not be hijacked by their politics.
- It means we have the grace to fully accept a person we might not completely agree with.
- It means love over labels.
- It means we look to our Leader on the cross and know we don’t have to win to triumph.
We’ve heard that in God’s kingdom everyone enters on the same level. Yet, we play favorites, take sides, and make enemies of our own families. We’re seduced by the draw of our “old nature” that was programmed only to see in black and white.
Something we like to say from time to time, to remind us what it’s really about is this:
Let your Kingdom come and my kingdom go.
Most Christians want to be part of helping God change the world. But this world is never going to change by rancor and rhetoric. That’s been tried. But it might be changed by the gathering up of all God’s people into one Great Family- a family known by the way they cheer for instead of against each other, a giant team recognized everywhere by their stand out jerseys stamped in the color of love.
- What will you do this week to enlarge the circle of God’s kingdom in your life to include “the others?”