Monday, July 13, 2015


As a parent, I have many opportunities to witness miniature people not getting along.  This takes many forms at our house, and sometimes I am amazed at the ways my children look for ways to irk one another.

Here's one scenario:  While driving, one girl will be singing boisterously to her heart's content.  She will be making a joyful, sort of melodic noise, and she will be quite happy about it.
Now, instead of joining her, the other girl will decide that she needs complete and utter silence.  "NO SINGING.  STOP THE SINGING.  IT'S GIVING ME A HEADACHE!"
The singing child protests, "BUT I LOVE SINGING!  I NEED TO SING!"
Silence wanter yells, "MY HEAD HURTS!"

Now, I want to scream that my head actually does hurt, but I *usually* refrain.  We've reached an impasse.  There is no way possible that a compromise can happen when they stand on the opposite sides of the singing cliff.  One cannot sing without annoying the other.  The other cannot have silence without costing her sister the song.  No one is happy, least of all me.  I plea for kindness and middle ground, and I get grumps and whines in return.

Why is it so in our nature to fight for our own rights?  We are so often so focused on ourselves and things we think we need.  As I was reflecting on living in America and all of the rights and freedoms we have, I was thankful.  I'm so glad to live in a place where I can worship my God freely and can live a life in pursuit of what I believe he has for us.  We live incredibly comfortably.  We can say what we want to say.  We can think what we want to think.  It's a free country.  It's not perfect, but in comparison to so many places around the globe, our basic rights are in tact and so much more.

And then I think about the freedom that I have in Christ.  I find my identity in him, and I want my life to be a reflection of what he has for me.  I want it to point to him.  Christ calls us to some upside down thinking, like the "last shall be first" and "deny yourself and follow me."  It says nothing about defending my own rights and standing up for myself.

As the culture wars have raged around me in the last several weeks and months, I've been disappointed with some of my fellow believers.  I feel like they have been screaming, "MY HEAD HURTS!" in the face of someone singing, when at the end of the day, we are called to love one another and lay down our lives for each other.  I don't have to take offense.  I am free in Christ.

John and I had a long talk about this is regards to some of my comments about Harrison from my last post on race.  He felt like I went too far in saying that I never wanted to stop there and was blaming an entire community for an outspoken minority's billboard.  We spent most of lunch a while back spinning this around while also making sure everyone had enough white cheese dip, because our children take chip dipping very seriously.

It feels like we will always be walking a fine line.  I feel a strong need to defend my children and use our brains when it comes to what situations we allow them to be in.  I also want to model loving sacrificially to them, because I do believe that is what God has called us to.  We are to love those who persecute us.  I don't think this means that we need to put our children in harm's way intentionally, but I want to be careful not to further stereotypes of large populations of people.  I simultaneously want to teach my children to look for the good in those around them and to not judge a person by what they look like or where they live AND ALSO teach them that there are certain things that often come in certain cultures and to stay attentive.

And at the end of the day, I need more of the Lord's guidance.  I am still working through the details of what this looks like.  I'm thinking that I don't need to fight for my rights - I have all I need in Christ, and I live in a country that guarantees me so much in the way of civil rights.  But - I need to speak up more for those who do not have a voice or whose voices go unheard or discarded in the loud discourse.  That's where I need to spend my energy.

I can certainly let someone sing, even if it is not what I like.  I can only hope we are working towards a place where they also might be willing to stop singing and enjoy a little quiet.  I want to carry some optimism with me, because I think defaulting to cynical sarcasm and painting a gloomy picture is far easier than hoping and praying that anything could ever get better.  And though I obviously can't and don't influence the whole world, I can certainly do my best to influence my own little portion of it, starting with my children.


kristin said...