Very rarely am I left without something to say.
I am always the first to speak. My thoughts whirl and sit on the tip of my tongue for mere seconds before I thrust them into the conversation — hoping to elevate it (a goal at which I almost always fail).
I’m not great at restraining my passion. It takes a lot to suppress the anger that often boils up upon reading headline after headline of tragedy and heartbreak.
At least, that’s how it used to be.
These things — things like the Duggars, or the incident in McKinney (where I went to high school) — used to anger me.
Now, I’m just weary.
I’m weary from seeing countless friends and loved ones defend parents that would force their daughters to live with their abuser — and deny their son the help he so desperately needed, and asked for — as if it somehow represents a gospel of abundant grace and freedom from oppression.
I’m weary from seeing those same friends disrespect and belittle Caitlyn Jenner — as if calling her “an insult to women” or using male pronouns to mock her on the Internet will somehow show her the love of Jesus.
I’m weary from seeing them use the assault of a teenage girl as nothing more than a teaching moment in respecting authority — and ignoring the teaching moment to be had about why it’s never OK to touch or treat someone that way — as if her pain and blatant violation are somehow justified because a pool party got out of hand, and, well, you know, that video is just propaganda from the “liberal media,” anyway.
But what can I say?
I see it every day. The hate. The vitriol. The dehumanization of children and brothers and sisters — of souls.
And I don’t know what to say because I am that person, too.
I cringe when I read my old Facebook statuses and tweets because I was so small-minded. I grieve over the hateful, judgmental things I said daily.
You see, I only thought like me. I couldn’t think like that girl at the pool party, or like someone who is forced to keep their abuse hidden in the dark corners of their home.
And then Jesus got ahold of my heart.
He showed me that he was less concerned with my theological affiliations or spiritual resumes than he was with how I treated and stood up for “the least of these” — that Sodom and Gomorrah was less about sexuality and more about how they treated the oppressed:
“Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” —Ezekiel 16:49
He showed me that the gospel is less about judgment and more about grace.
He showed me that following his example is less about yelling “truth” for all to hear and more about loving those I think deserve it least.
Which means, sometimes, I have to swallow my pride and learn to love the people who broadcast such hateful and saddening things in His name.
Because, after all, what can I say that will change their heart?
Only Jesus can soften hearts, and it took him 20 years to even begin to fix mine.
So, if you’re reading this, know that I’m not trying to change your mind, your beliefs or your political affiliations. I’ve given up on the idea that my words on the Internet can change someone’s life.
But maybe, next time you open your Bible, pay attention to the person of Jesus. Look at his demeanor, his actions, the way he treated those often viewed as lesser.
It may surprise you.
It sure surprised me.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35