People are at war with each other. They wouldn't call it a war, because it's subtly quiet. Just clicking keys, rolling eyes and rage in their hearts. They're using their words with pinpoint accuracy, shooting straight and quick into the hearts of entire people groups. People are demolishing each other, rubbing up against shrapnel from old wars, digging sharp pieces of fear, neglect, and utter rejection into each others veins. Distaste and disdain are pumping through the air now and yet they just.keep.shooting.
Every side keeps crying out that THEY didn't start the war (and they probably didn't - this war started long before the quiet hum of a computer ever roared into existence). They're pointing fingers and hurling words like rocks over lines drawn in the sand. They're quoting and reposting and tearing apart the integrity and character of human beings they have never actually sat in the same room as. People are bulldozing one another. They go to sleep at night thinking of what they'll say next. They wake up in the morning, justified in their own minds. They write anthems for protests, and speak words that settle like a thick cloud of choking dust on EVERYone.
People are blaming each other. They're hearing the words of one, or of ten, and listening as if it were a billion voices shouting in unison. There aren't just two sides, but every side. Each person crying out from their own deep spaces, wanting to be heard. Human beings congregate together, labeling themselves as this or that, but really - they're fighting for a kingdom of one. They're fighting to take the throne, to uproot the injustice and rule the land. But the injustice is never where you think it is. That kind of power, dark and desperate, digs into the most fertile soil it can and feeds on one thing: war.
Human beings are alienating each other because they forget that they belong to one another. They build platforms and write blog posts and make speeches and claim pulpits, but all of those things are dust.
Every time we open Facebook we see people assaulted, on every side. One side is throwing ammo and crushing souls. So we sit and we think about how we want to right the wrong, reclaim what has been distorted. But then another side is shoving back. Neither side can hear anyone else over the shouting. And that's sad, because God is in the whisper, humanity. If you want to hear him speak - if you want truth and justice and understanding - you have to stop yelling. You have to climb down off your platform, relinquish your certainty of being right and listen. If you can't listen for truth, then you are only another side, still fighting a war. Aren't you tired of fighting? Aren't you tired of destroying? Aren't you tired of the shrapnel, and the explosions, and the brokenness? Isn't it time to rest, to listen and to heal?
I don't take platforms anymore, friends. I used to and it was painful. I only hurt other people and I was laid low in the process. Actually, I do take a platform. I take it every time I see a social media argument unfolding on a status update, or read an article that makes me cringe. I choose to do the only thing I know for CERTAIN that I am called to do. I love those people. I ask my heart to love the people it wants to react to. It's harder to love than to war, friends. It's harder to hold ground than to gain it unrighteously. Sometimes I love well and sometimes I fail. But if I don't keep showing up to try to love first, whose Kingdom am I building?
I've learned something that has changed everything about my opinionated, absolutely-certain-that-i-am-always-right self. There is one Kingdom that I am called to, and it's not my own. There is one thing that has healed my wounds, drawn out my shrapnel and made me never want to throw my words around with judgement again.
It's that Love, friends. The Love that found me drenched in darkness and sat down with me. The Love that whispered as the screaming ceased. The Love that soothed away my fear, my rejection, my desperation and healed me - body, mind and spirit. You can try to tell me that Love can't be everything; that it has to be balanced by rules, and law, and standing our ground. You can claim that Love needs a balance, but of this ONE thing I am absolutely, without a doubt, unshakingly certain: Love is the only thing in all of creation that will never need a balance. Because He IS Love and He needs no balance.
When we try to build our platforms, claiming that we are doing what we're called to - standing our ground for what is right and righteous - we end up building our own sand castle. Love doesn't need our help to build His Kingdom. His Kingdom is built, has always been built, and will never be destroyed. We only get to participate in what He has made. That's the calling and that's what ends war.
Don't be fooled into thinking that more mean, offensive words from every side, will end the debate. Those words, like gunpowder will only fuel the raging fire. But something happens when we choose to pull away from the words that SOUND right to listen to the Word that needs no interpretation (including our's) to BE right. From the beginning Love has been the first thing and it will be the last thing. It was Love that formed us, Love that separated Adam and Eve from what would ruin them, Love that made hard decision that were ONLY Love's to make, Love that listened to the whisper that defied justification in the garden, Love that embraced a Roman cross, and Love that came sweeping back to call us into Freedom.
If you can't believe that THAT Love can, and will, change everything for everyone, then you've forgotten what Love has done for you. The platforms don't matter. They're only distractions. The forceful comments and judgemental criticisms only disqualify people from the conversation.
So, pull away from the war, humanity. Step back and breathe for a while. Listen for the whisper and don't be surprised if the whisper changes everything.
And, if you must have words, seek out words that convict YOU. Be the soil that Love takes root in. Be the fountain that Love overflows from. Be the lighthouse that Love streams from. Be different by being courageous. Love will cost you, but it will also transform you.
"God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we're free of worry on Judgement Day - our standing in the world is identical with Christ's. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed loved banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life - fear of death, fear of judgement - is one not yet fully formed in love."
1 John 4:17-18