As the leaders of our country launched another war in the Middle East, we can learn from the wars we fought right here at home, on our own streets against our own brothers and sisters. The race war. The gender war. The war on poverty. The war on drugs. We've gotten too good at starting wars. And have failed at nearly all of them since the end of the second great World War. Yet the little battle that King fought was not won in the courts as much as it was won in the hearts of the people.
In some hearts there is love. In others there is hatred. But to "build a nation in which neither punishment nor privilege is attached to one's race, skin color, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other human difference" requires one thing, writes Adam Russel Taylor. "It starts with an understanding that we are beloved by God." We are all made in God's image. We are all tagged and marked by God's finger print. We are all made equally valued and respected by God, no matter our vices, shortcomings, or political affiliations and contradictions.
If we believe this to be true, that we are beloved children of God, then we ought to treat all people as if we are going to wake up tomorrow and they are going to be our roommate, our in-laws our neighbors, our spouses, our doctors, our teachers, our fellow human traversing the same creation albeit different paths. We ought to care for each other and look out for one another's best interest.
War is not the answer. Love is.
It all begins with God's love for us. It is God who first reconciled with us. It was God who redeemed us. And in the end, it is God who created a community of beloved people. It all starts with having love for each other, and a willingness to be committed to finding a common ground to begin building a beloved community of empathetic and supportive grace. "It's a community in which we are constantly seeking to build and restore right relationships," writes Taylor.
What might restoration and reconciliation look like if our hearts look like God's? Given our success rate with warfare, I'd say it's worth a try.
Taylor, Adam Russell. Sojourners: Vol. 49, No. 1. January 2020, p. 10.
An ex-copywriter turned punk rock pastor and peacemaker who dedicates his life to making the world a better place for all humanity.
"that they all might be one" ~John 17:21
“Prius vita quam doctrina.”
~ St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
* “Life is more important than doctrine.”