So unless you’ve been living under a rock as the expression goes, there is a lot of heavy stuff going on in the world. Donald Trump is calling for an immediate ban on all Muslims entering the country, there was a shooting in California, natural disasters, shootings, bomb threats, both domestic and abroad. So much chaos in the world and Donald Trump isn’t the only voice calling on fear and violence as our biggest allies. Yet this time of year is in anticipation of Emmanuel. God with us. He came into the world as a baby, wrapped in innocence, yet he shook our world to it’s very core. Throughout his life he flipped people’s worlds upside down. He said that the last would be first, that it was most honorable to be a slave to all, and that blessed are: the meek, the mourners, the poor in spirit, the hungry.
I have been really reflecting on who Jesus was and is. Our Savior, God in the flesh. And you know how he changed the world, by two very simple things: conversation and friendship. I am convinced more than anything right now, that is what our world needs.
We often desire bold answers and overwhelming miracles, but what if the miracle we need is simply to look at our neighbor the way Jesus does? To see a full human being. To look on them with great love and companionship. To see them with eyes filled with grace and forgiveness. Love like this is revolutionary.
When we can look at our neighbor not as a potential threat, but with a heart of compassion we have a better chance at healing this world’s brokenness.
Jesus over and over again chose love and expected us to do the same. Our response to those who hate and persecute us who call us their enemies: pray for them. When they attack us and call us names: offer them our other cheek. When they demand from us: we walk another mile and offer them even more than they asked for. Jesus offered us the greatest example of sacrificial love, he died for us overcoming both sin and death.
So while we may not all be able to first hand support the Syrian refugees seeking shelter here in America, we can help to create a more loving and understanding world. We can befriend our Muslim neighbors, we can talk to the new kid at school, instead of demonizing gay people we can listen to their stories, we can get to know someone who sees the world differently from us whether it’s politically, religiously, or something else.
“Listening is a very active awareness of the coming together of at least two lives. Listening as far as I’m concerned, is certainly a prerequisite of love. One of the most essential ways of saying ‘I love you’ is by being a receptive listener.” Mister Rogers
From the Woman at the Well and Zacchaeus to Mary and Martha, not to mention the 12 disciples. These people weren’t extraordinary, and some were considered to be the very dregs of society. Jesus took his time, talking with them, investing, and developing friendship. Something all of us are capable of doing. This world will be better as we love better.
Be a revolutionary: instead of creating fear and barriers between you and the stranger, call them your neighbor and love them.