They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love, Hopefully

About this time every summer, my children are tired of hanging out with each other, fighting and calling names, and I have had it about up to here!  No matter how many times we talk about treating each other with kindness and love, daily there are angry words that are yelled, hurtful comments made and tears that are shed.  I just can’t understand why my children can’t get it.  And then I turn on the news and wow, I hear more angry words being yelled, more hurtful comments being made, and more tears that are shed.   When I was attending our Rocky Mountain Annual Conference, one of the most inspiring and challenging speakers was one of our young clergy by the name of Jasper Peters.  He stood up and called us to engage in critical conversations, especially regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.  While he knew that many would disagree with his words, he made the statement, “I may believe that you are wrong, but I love you enough to not ignore you.”  And with that, he brought us back to our baptismal vows: “Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?”  So what does it look like if we take those vows seriously?  What does it look like if we renounce the spiritual forces of division, reject anger and hatred, and repent of the times when we have stood by or joined in when anger and hatred are spoken?God calls us to guard our hearts and our words.  But we know that often speaking words of love and kindness can be harder than we think.  We get passionate about an issue, hear words that make us angry, and before we know it, we are in the midst of yelling angry, hurtful words, even though we have been taught that we need to be different.  With the example that is before our children, no wonder they can’t get it right!   My friends, let us strive to be different, especially in this time and in this place!  Let us strive to be a people who are known by the love that we live and show to others!  Let us be kind in the way that we treat people, even if they don’t agree with us.  Let us engage in discussion, not yelling matches.  Let us be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).  And let us live into our baptismal vows and be the people that God has called us to be!

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