Love Covers {in which I breathe deep and get honest with my fellow Jesus-followers}

My dearly adored friends,

Please hear the quiet tremble of my voice and know how profoundly I treasure each of you, your presence here as you read these words today.

I’m sitting on the couch with my littlest love this afternoon when I glance at my Facebook newsfeed–

And I’m grieved.

This isn’t an entirely unusual experience for me, but what is abnormal is the clarity with which the grief hits my heart. And with it, this gut-level knowing:

I have to write this.

Really?  Really.

Oh, no.

::stomach flips::

Okay.

I’m not sure if the internal conversation is more with the Holy Spirit, or more between me and my own commitment to personal authenticity, to no longer allowing fear to make me shrink back from saying things I need to say.

Either way, I get my girl down for her nap, grab my laptop, take some deep breaths, and place fingers to keys.

Holy God…

Help.

What grieved me today was a joke of some kind and the crazy thing is that I can’t even remember which joke or who posted it because there are so many these days, but I’m pretty sure it was political in nature.

In fact, I just spent the last 20 minutes scrolling back through my feed in search of it, but it was nowhere to be found. What I did find, ironically, was this article, and I snagged a screenshot to share with you:

Full article here: http://www.christianpost.com/news/hillary-clinton-questions-christian-compassion-of-rivals-did-they-not-go-and-hear-the-same-lessons-i-did-in-sunday-school-140425/

Full article here:
http://www.christianpost.com/news/hillary-clinton-questions-christian-compassion-of-rivals-did-they-not-go-and-hear-the-same-lessons-i-did-in-sunday-school-140425/

While I only briefly skimmed the article, these timely-for-me words from Hillary Clinton from this past Sunday stuck out to me. Painfully.

“While Clinton did not specifically call out any candidate or person by name she bewailed the lack of compassion and “mean spiritedness” of others in politics.

“Did they not go and hear the same lessons I did in Sunday school,” asked Clinton. “Did they not sing the same hymns?” She continued questioning their morality and Christian theology by wondering, “Did they never hear, ‘there but for the grace of God go I?'”

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Did we never hear it?

If I could lay aside my fear of speaking bold truth-in-love for just a moment — if I were brave enough to be completely honest with you — this is what the burning in my bones would have me say:

My precious fellow lovers of Jesus:

It is so unfunny when we are unkind to those with whom we disagree and call it a joke.

It is not funny when we write and publish satire in order to make a humorous or outrageously overstated point about those whose life stories, experiences, and challenges are impossible for us to fully understand.

It is not funny when we write or perpetuate the sharing of sarcasm about white-on-black violence or black-on-black violence or Caitlyn Jenner or homosexuality, or even about Rachel whatever-her-last-name-is who has posed as a biracial woman for however many years but is, in actuality, white. {White, and most likely very mentally disturbed, which is kind of beside my point, but not really.}

It is not funny when we rejoice in or otherwise make light of the newly (or oldly) uncovered moral failure of celebrities or politicians with views to which we don’t subscribe.

It is not funny when we are flippant about Obama or Hillary or Huckabee or Miley or the Duggar family or whoever else unwittingly causes the next insanely-sensationalized social media failure-feeding frenzy.

I write all these things with a profound heaviness in my pounding heart and I keep catching myself with this accidentally-anguished expression on my face as I write, because Christians, my so-deeply-treasured friends, where is our love?

When will we stop all our looking around and our pointing and our jeering, close our gaping jaws, press our faces into our carpeted floors, and desperately ask Jesus to bathe our souls in His adoration of us, so that His affection for us can overcome our own broken, love-starved need to perpetuate the transformation of these desperate, aching, ashamed, socially-exposed ones into mere amusing one-liners or critiques so we feel better about ourselves?

Because they’re showing, y’allall these places where we’ve not yet been perfected in Love.

We can only love well those with whom we differ to the degree that our own undeserving roots have gone deep into His love.

To the degree that we’ve sat before Him and been remade inside by His scandalous acceptance of us in our utter depravity.

This is scary for me, y’all, but I can say this I think.

Because I know. I’ve been there. Not all that long ago. My own not-yet-perfected-in-love places — they were gaping and glaring, too. And I’m quite sure, actually, that they still are at times.

But I’m learning, you guys. I’m learning that from that position of face-pressed-into-carpet, out of that place of being undone by His love for me in all my own brokenness and failure and need —

From the place of but for the grace of God — 

I can sit with those whose experiences, values, and beliefs differ greatly from my own.

I can ask questions. I can choose to be curious, to deeply hear hearts and stories and hold them with compassion and care. To learn from them.

To love. them.

And if I’m not able to physically sit with them (a la Rachel or Hillary or Jenner or whatever other personality accidentally becomes infamous on any given day), then I can look at their situation through a lens of kind curiosity.

I can suspend my assumptions about scenarios and stories and sin.

I can allow Jesus to break my heart with the brokenness that shatters His.

And I can avoid the temptation to sensationalize and dehumanize and make light of their horrifically exposed lives or choices in cahoots with the media that I think often wants us to do just that.

Y’all? This is true even if my goal is to prove a valid point, not simply to be cruel. Points proven with a lack of love only add to the problem.

Truth without love brings death.

To be clear, I am certainly not advocating a need to shift our beliefs, our perspectives, or our interpretation of scripture. I am not even necessarily advocating that we keep our views quiet, though occasionally I find there’s wisdom in doing so, for a season.

am advocating that we listen, that we’re present, that we’re curious about differing stories and perspectives, that we love well.

And dear ones? Love covers.

It covers.

And it is kind.

{I love you guys so much. Thank you for grace in your receiving of these words.}

This entry was posted in Community, Compassion, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Presence, risk, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Love Covers {in which I breathe deep and get honest with my fellow Jesus-followers}

  1. Tara says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! It is about loving each other well. And no we don’t have to have the same beliefs but we can learn from each other. I want to show love and not hatred. I want to love all Gods people even when I may not understand. Gods grace is indeed sufficient for us all. “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful. Love is not arrogant or rude.” Loved your words froend. They are scary to stay or even write down but the truth is I feel that way too.
    Tara recently posted…Blessed To Be A BlessingMy Profile

  2. Deb Wolf says:

    Dana, I have written about this several times. I had to take a break from Facebook and still look at it much less often than I used to. We can disagree and be kind. It’s my constant prayer. To love well. Thanks for adding your heart to this discussion.

  3. Kelli Moore says:

    “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” It is a command – not a suggestion. Your post is important, timely, and full of truth. Thank you for being brave.

  4. Sharon O says:

    Your courageous effort is beautiful, your willingness to be vulnerable and open, genuine and honest. Your questions are real. Truthful and what we all should be asking ourselves a time or two. Facebook can be wonderful, blogs are great but not to the detriment of our ‘spiritual’ walk that others see, read and wonder about. I often ask, what would Jesus do in this situation. Remember HE came down on the religious rulers not the seekers, but the ones who stopped seeking. There is a difference.
    Thank you for your brave writing. It is ‘something for us all to think about.’
    Sharon O recently posted…AnniversaryMy Profile

  5. Dana, I will say a hearty ‘amen.’ I’m noticing more and more Jesus’ words about sitting with the sinners. How will they hear unless we are with them where they are, building bridges instead of walls?
    Excellent post. Thank you.
    Jody Lee Collins recently posted…Ten Things about My Mother (for Father’s Day)My Profile

  6. Esther says:

    I love this. Thank you, Dana.

  7. Jolene says:

    “Truth without love brings death.” Thank you so much for this reminder. The song that is on repeat on my MP3 player right now is “The Proof of Your Love” by King and Country. Your post reminded me of this song. I hope that you have a lovely day!

  8. Daniel says:

    Hey Dana, I appreciate the point you are making here. Like others have said, the general tone of most posts (that aren’t related to what one is eating) is one of the main reasons I avoid social media.

    I think this phenomenon is driven in large part by the inner desire to know and share the truth, but as you say here, it is misplaced and ineffective. Speaking from personal experience, it feeds the ego and mostly drives others away.

    This is unfortunate because first, it creates the illusion that people on either side of an issue can’t get along, which generally isn’t true (see the story of evangelical leader Kevin Palau and gay mayor of Portland Sam Adams). Then, because we internalize this illusion, we are hindered by the fear it creates from speaking the truth in love where we actually need to, in our own personal spheres of influence. I think if we would shift our focus here, we would find ourselves loving more and perhaps speaking the truth less, but finding it much more effective when we do.

    Thanks for the post!

  9. Admin says:

    Compassion (to truly suffer with another) is a beautiful gift. Treasure and nurture this gift, Dana.

  10. Thank you for your honesty and courage here, friend. This is so important. And true. I love you to pieces!
    Ashley Larkin @ Draw Near recently posted…All limpingMy Profile

  11. Amy Tilson says:

    Exactly!! This was my tweet after the GOP debate after reading through threads and comments, especially of some largely followed Christians:

    “Man… the snark, attitudes, bias, resentfulness, and word-changing in the #GOPDebate tweets, especially from Christians, was discouraging.”

    There was no listening, weighing, considering… only jabs and barbs and criticisms. There is a place for rebuke, correction, and teaching, but it has to come out of love first. On all sides.
    Amy Tilson recently posted…Back in the HollerMy Profile

  12. Barbie says:

    Oh YES! I haven’t been able to stay on Facebook as long as in the past, and I find myself cringing at the lack of love shown between my fellow brothers and sisters. Thank you for sharing your brave heart.
    Barbie recently posted…Who Am I? I Am… // Tuesday At TenMy Profile

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