We live in a time of one-sided debates. There’s no “we“ only “me“ in these debates-as if we are an island to ourselves. I truly believe many people are hurting and find themselves acting out their frustrations as a form of release and I have grace for that to some degree; after all these last two years have been difficult on everyone. Nevertheless I feel we must do better. It seems as if most don’t care about having real conversations about issues anymore, so much as just sharing their individual talking points. Obviously these are my observations and by no means are the truth concerning everyone. But what I hope to say in this post is this:
In a time of great uncertainty and change, how are we to respond as Christians? My Observations
I have observed a real change in the way we as humans treat one another as a whole. Many have felt empowered and emboldened to share their very certain beliefs and opinions with others in very rude and in thoughtful ways.
Now I obviously believe in the freedom to share our opinions but in a manner that’s kind and thoughtful.
I remember being so boldly confronted at a pharmacy in the midst of Covid by a woman because I wasn’t standing on the proper line. As if me moving my feet up six more inches was going to keep her safer. I was shocked at her boldness with me that day. I won’t go into the whole story.
And all we have to do is pull up social media to see the same boldness in people we know there. The digital age has brought to our lives an ability to connect and communicate with people in a way that can be wonderful and beneficial but also very unhealthy. As a result I am processing this in light of change. In light of love and in light of compassion as Christians; but I really started processing it as I re-read the story of Hannah today.
In this biblical story in 1 Samuel 1, Hannah is pouring her heart out to God with great weeping because she has no children. She has a wonderful husband who loves her but no children with him. In this time of despair Eli the priest makes an assumption about Hannah as she’s sobbing.
He assumes she’s drunk.
Hannah is not wailing out words but tears. She is saying things to God silently with her lips moving but without a sound; in that moment Eli the priest makes a split second judgment against her.
So Here’s My Pondering
Wouldn’t it be nice if people took the time to hear our stories? Wouldn’t it be nice if we embraced compassion and not judgment towards our neighbors? Wouldn’t it be nice if people took the time to sit with us whether they had words of wisdom or not?
I write this blog to challenge us all today- especially myself, to take more time to sit with people and listen. We need more compassion in this world right now and less judgment. What this world needs right now is more beauty and more love. It’s the heart of the gospel story. LOVE AND COMPASSION
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever would believe on him would not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn it-but save it.”
We need to hear more stories of beauty and love; stories that inspire us to do the same. I fear we are losing our salt and light in this dark and mean world. Beauty is what is missing right now in our world.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 NIV
This passage came from the sermon on the mount. The very scripture that should shape our worldview as Christians.
I too am working on embracing beauty as central to my life as a disciple of Jesus; more than the apologetics and ethics of ministry. The preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary but many times we preach a gospel that we are not ourselves living out.
May we all be challenged to embrace compassion and beauty in the world around us; so as to remember that everyone is our neighbor and we are to love them as we love ourselves. I will leave you with the passage from 1 Samuel 1. I pray it speaks to you like it did me. ❤️
“There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” “Not so, my Lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”” 1 Samuel 1:1-17 NIV
Sunday I shared a similar message on beauty with my members in light of the Easter story; one of the members echoed the lyrics of a song that continues to resonate with me.
What the world needs now is love Sweet love.
May we all find ways to embrace the beauty in others and leave the judgment to God.