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Monday, March 6, 2017

Equalizing Forces

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2 NLT)

"I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other human beings." (Maya Angelou) We human beings sure make a lot of differences, don't we? We set apart this from that, making a new category of this or that just by doing so, and wonder in the end why there are so many differences in this world. We only need to look back upon our own actions (and sometimes our inaction) to see how it all came about, but most of us don't like being that "introspective", so we just make excuses for the differences we have created rather than working to break down the walls.
"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope." (Maya Angelou) We don't fully know what destination we set out toward when we enter relationship with one another, but it is likely unexplored territory! In the journey of a relationship, the hurdles are many, fences higher than we imagined, and walls strongly erected - but if we are going to be examples of God's grace and love in a terribly confused world, we must scale those fences and break down those walls. Grace and love know no other action than that of humbly acknowledging the differences we have and then finding a way to live in peace with each other in spite of those differences.


Some think the only way to really be at peace with one another is to all be "the same". While there are clearly paths in this life I don't believe God ever intended for any man or woman to walk down - paths that lead to their rejection of his grace and truth - I do believe there are ways to love each other in spite of the path we each choose to take. Kindness goes a long, long way toward establishing and maintaining peace - as does overlooking an offense. While it may be hard to overlook some violent offenses such as murder, rape, or trafficking of human life, it is possible to respond in truth to these horrible offenses. Truth doesn't have to be violent in response - it needs to reflect grace and love - the two equalizing forces to all acts of violence. These two responses "weigh" more on the scales of justice than any retaliatory action on our part. Don't believe me - just look at the actions of Christ as he was hung upon the cross. 

He did not retaliate, although the violence of the crowds was growing by the minute. In fact, he chastised Peter when he took up the sword to respond to threats of violence with violence himself. Instead, God's own Son took upon himself the actions of grace, love, and forgiveness. Three traits we'd do well to embrace if we desire to see healing in our relationships and strength in our world today. Just sayin!