LOST is the one word I can use to describe where I feel we are as a society.
I’ve spent time reflecting on the events of the past weekend. The behaviors of our President. The reactions and the greater reactions from those watching. Confused? I am. This tweet of an image by Aaron Niequist summed it up for me:
Our current reality is that this weekend, our President called a protestor a ‘son of a bitch’ during a speech. I can not even fathom that this is our world, first and foremost, or how that name calling made those men feel.
My father is a United States Marine. So is my cousin. My cousin Craig fought in multiple wars and is a hero in his own right (with a Purple Heart to prove it). To think I wouldn’t stand for them? Would I? Of course. Would you? Most likely, yes!
What those men fought for was our freedom. Our freedom to live, love, share, care, speak, be AND protest – non-violently. Do I believe the NFL players are protesting in the right way, in the right forum, for the issues at hand?
Does it really matter what I think?
We all have the right. We don’t have to like how other people that have the same right, exercise it – as long as it is peaceful.
We do not know the hearts of men. We have no place to judge the decisions they make because we do not know their reality. We don’t know their pain. We don’t know their upbringing. We don’t know their experiences. We don’t know the depths of their beliefs. What it means to to them to stand for a flag, for an anthem. What it means to come together as a team and make a decision as one. WE DO NOT KNOW.
Do we know what we would do? Yes. Why can’t we stick to that? Why can’t we focus on our own hearts? Why do we choose to continue to tear down people, organizations & groups of people for the choices they make?
I know this truth – when you lead with love and grace and respect, you gain the love, grace and respect of your followers. When you lead with anger, hurtful words, finger pointing & blame, you lose your followers.
Today I spoke to a member of my team, an African American woman, whose husband proudly represents our US military at a high level. She is hurt & scared. Do we know her heart or her pain? Do we have the right to even think we know how she feels in this current society? We can not even imagine it. Her husband is a HERO. Yet she stands against the adversity of this divided nation, wanting to remain united under one GOD.
God has pulled on my heart to share this. I want to dive into what he’s placing there. I realize you may not like it. But it’s not your approval I’m after. To me, being a Christian means that I love as Jesus loved. He pulled up a chair with the lowest of the low. He searched their hearts. He asked hard questions. Maybe we would learn a little something if we tried the same.
I’m braving the wilderness by writing this. I DO #standfortheanthem, but I also #takeTWOknees (in prayer). Because there is middle ground. This is not an ‘all or nothing’ world we live in. That is a false dichotomy. I can stand for and believe in the American flag with my whole heart and believe in the freedom of peaceful protest. They can absolutely co-exist.
Let’s get out there and ask some hard questions and break down these walls, one person at a time.