A Lament in Haiku

8d142a41

They will know us by
our love, he said. But we are
known by who we hate.

Go and do likewise,
he said. But we have gone and
done the opposite.

You are the light of
the world, he said. But we spread
darkness and judgment.

Love your neighbor, he
said, and your enemies too.
But we say, Not them!

And Jesus weeps for
what we have done and not done.
May his kingdom come.

Just Wondering: Some Questions for My Christian Brothers and Sisters

I’m having such a hard time these days with social media and the news. Hatred, anger, and fear underlie almost every post and report. I have been especially surprised by the reactions and comments of Christians.

I haven’t been a follower of Jesus for that long—just since 2008—and I admit I follow him quite imperfectly. So perhaps I’ve missed something. But to my understanding it is love by which he said his followers would be known. (Jn 13:35) He didn’t say go out and be right. He said go out and be love. And he didn’t just say to band together and love each other. He said to love our enemies, to bless them, do good to them, and pray for them. (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27–28) He said to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. (Mk 12:31) He said to welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner. (Mt 25:34–40) And he said “do not judge others.” (Mt 7:1)

These days, it seems that what we Christians are looking to do is correct behavior instead of love. Before we love you, we want to know whether you are a practicing Muslim or if you are just a Muslim by culture and in name. We want to know whether you are practicing homosexuality or if you’re just attracted to someone of the same sex. We want to know what crime you committed and whether you’ve actually repented. We want to know whether you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs before we buy you a meal. We would rather talk with you about your behavior than lavish you with love. We would rather pass judgment than extend mercy.

I guess I’m just wondering why we do this. What are we afraid of—that Christians will get a bad name? That we will be known as lovers of Muslims, homosexuals, criminals, or addicts? I thought that’s what we were supposed to be known for. No? Or are we worried that being right on certain issues is the thing that ultimately saves us? I thought we were saved by our faith and trust in Jesus. No? And, by the way, why are we afraid anyway? I thought we believed that Jesus has overcome the world and that our hope is in him, not our country, political leaders, or the Second Amendment. No?

Just wondering.

Life This Week

IMG_0431

I always forget. That I am loved. Even though my hands sweat when I’m nervous, and I’m not sure I have the most stylish shoes as fall begins, I am loved. But I forget.  Even though I stop being able to pay attention after about an hour, and I can’t throw a great meal together at the last minute, I am loved.  But I forget.  I don’t really get why I forget so often and so easily. I’m always comparing myself and making these silent judgments about myself and others. How do I rate, rank, hold up? All the while forgetting that I’m loved already, even though, in spite of, because of.

Not too long ago, I was in a work meeting about something I have now forgotten. One of my friends and members of our team was talking about something I have now forgotten. And, then, suddenly, something happened that I will never forget. I saw her as Jesus sees her. It came and went in a millisecond. But I am sure of it. I looked at her and tears formed in my eyes. The words that came to mind were “If she only knew.” Oh, if she only knew. All of her fears, her insecurities, her measurements of success would vanish. If she only knew how loved, how deeply, enduringly, unendingly loved she is. If she only knew.

I’m praying that I would know. I am praying that I “may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that [I] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:17-19)

I’m reminding myself. This weekend, I heard a talk by Jeff Manion from Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids. He said that when he journals his prayers, he ends by writing, “This is your beloved son, Jeff.” And he signs that way not to remind God, but to remind himself. Today, at the end of my prayer that I wrote in my journal, I signed at the bottom, “This is your beloved daughter, Kellye.”

I’m reminding someone else. I know I’m not the only one who forgets. So, I’m reminding someone else that she is loved. That he is loved.

What does your week look like?

Have you forgotten that you are loved?