Sunday, September 18, 2016
“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” ― G.K. Chesterton
The saddest thing about this election, or any election for that matter, is that many, many relationships will be broken, and many people will stop talking to and loving good friends and family members. Christ knew we would be like this and urged us to learn to forgive and love each other. We don’t have to like each other to get along, but we do have to at least respect and care for each other. You’d think we could at least be courteous and polite to those with whom we disagree, but even that tends to disappear amongst all the political invective and lies told by both sides. Yes, both sides lie a bit, both sides shade the truth a bit, both sides think that they and they alone have the answers, but we all know that that is wrong, yet we act like it isn’t. That is just sad, so very sad. Christ would not be pleased with how we treat each other because loving each other as He loved us just doesn’t seem possible during an election—but it should be. Here’s a non-political example of the kind of rift that occurs all the time between people who loved each other.
Former Beatle, George Harrison died in December 2001. During his final days his wife and child, and his sister, Louise were at his bedside. It was Louise’s presence that was especially poignant. You see, she and George had been feuding with each other for almost forty years and not speaking. Their feud began when Louise opened a bed and breakfast named “A Hard Day’s Night” without even asking George, and he was hurt and insulted. The rift was healed only when George realized he would probably die from his cancer. Louise reports that their reconciliation was difficult but satisfying. “We sort of held hands like we used to do” she said. “We used to talk for hours about life and God and the universe. We were able to look into each other’s eyes again with love. It was a very, very positive and loving meeting.” This episode tells us exactly what reconciliation is – two people who have been at odds with one another, coming together in a renewed and restored relationship, one where they are able to “look into each other’s eyes again with love.” This is what it means to reconcile with God, and with our fellow human beings. The tragedy of course, is that George and Louise took so long to reconcile, that they missed out on so much. Similarly, it is a tragedy when we wait so long to be reconciled to those we love and/or to God. Please, please try to respect, love, and forgive those with whom you disagree. And to really get personal, that includes fans, coaches, and members of teams that play your favorite team. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I grew up in a home in Texas where all the men (except me) went to the University of Texas, and I married into a family that was exactly the same. I hated Aggies for way too many years. It didn’t really end until I was a pastor and some of my congregation were Aggies—and they were fine, Christian, loving people. Who knew? But if I could change and even reconcile with my own father over our political differences, so can you. Please don’t let this election (or football season) drive a wedge between you and those who should be receiving your love and respect. Please.