Many years ago – many years ago, when I was in college in the great town of Nashville, TN, several of my roommates and team mates worked at the best donut shop in the world, The Donut Den. When we were tired of studying or needed a break we would ride over to the Donut Den and hang out in the kitchen talking with the guys making the donuts – and learning how to ourselves. (Eventually, I had a job there making the muffins several nights a week – Yes, I am the Muffin Man) There was another classmate of ours that worked there on some of the same nights. His name was Aaron, or ‘Aaron the Liberal’ as we called him. Aaron was always up for some good political debate – which I found fascinating as Aaron had vastly different views then the rest of us. However, those donut debates were fun, and free and although sometimes full of frustration, they were never full of hate. Just people discussing topics of importance to them. I think Aaron influenced several of us, and I am sure that we had a small impact of him. Last week, I mentioned that I have been turned off from politics, but posted on entry that teetered on the edge of political a little. The next day, another one of my college classmates tweeted about an article in Relevant Magazine entitled “Can’t We All Just Get Along?”
This article really hit the nail on the head as to why I am frustrated with the political machine. Its not as much Clintons’ sins, or Bush’s decisions, or Obama’s agenda. I have become tired of the right screaming and yelling, and the left name-calling and using condescending tones etc. Its all the way around. And that just doesn’t jive with the words I read in the collection of 66 books. This op-ed is a ringing indictment on followers of Christ and how we engage in political debate. I think its worth a read by all of us. Just to stop and make sure we are treating each other, even in disagreement, with the love and respect demanded of us by Christ.
Anyway, consider it, and as you approach others today, no matter what the conversation is, remember to do so with love. ( Not the sissy kind) But the real, I care about you, love that Jesus showed us and that he begs us to show to each other. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about ideas – you may grow yourself, and you don’t know the impact you will have on others.
1 John 3:11-24 (New International Version)
Love one another
11This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.