Yesterday, I could not bring myself to write a reflection. Every attempt was interrupted by the residue of anger still lingering in my head from the previous day. The source of my anger was the great flood of Facebook posts criticizing people. It left my spirit as dry as a desert. How will any of us be able to endure this constant electronic bickering? This is not a new Facebook phenomena. It has been taking place for the past 16 years.
The right attacks the left with the same tactics it criticizes the left for using. The left wages the same war against the right they criticized the right for waging against them. The insanity of it all is maddening. How can we work together for justice when we cannot get beyond our own pettiness? More importantly, how can we sustain a sense of community when we seem bent on hurting each other?
I abandoned my daily reflection and turned my thoughts to Psalm 15 and the Bible study I needed to lead that morning.
O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
Well, if a blameless walk is required, I guess no one is visiting the sacred tent on the holy hill today.
To me, abiding with the Lord is not a place, but an experience of true peace. It is the peace which flows from reconciliation. Like the joy two fighting children discover when they solve the conflict and go back to playing. Every human being knows the frustration of conflict and the exhausting toll it takes on the soul. I like to think we all have experienced the joy of having a conflict solved, as well.
The posts which angered me the most were intended by the author to speak the truth. However, they forgot to speak this truth in love. In the absence of love, what appeared to be truth to the agreeing mind, felt like slander to the opposing one. No one was blameless.
Getting off of Facebook, or avoiding the problem will not bring peace. Simply focusing on love and not wrestling with the dirtiness of conflict will not build an enduring community. We need to start walking the difficult path of reconciliation. However, this path runs through the heart of our neighbor. It cannot walked be without speaking a truth grounded in grace and love. A truth whose ultimate goal is forgiveness and reconciliation. Because no one walks alone with the Lord.
- How can we speak in love to our neighbor about the evil we see and want ended?
- Where have we failed to be fully truthful, choosing only to see our side of the argument?
- When has listening to an opposing voice brought deeper understanding to you?
- When was a time you experienced reconciliation? And, what did it take to get there?
Photo Courtesy of unsplash.com and Alexander Ronsdorf