Discovering Our Connection Again
In times of great affliction and in times of political angst, it seems the first thing we sacrifice is our humanity.
As a culture and a media-driven society, we get caught up lines that divide rather than bring people together. Those lines are snares we were never created to get tangled up in.
We have lost so much of our connectivity on the altar of opinion and disagreement. The polarization of people groups begins with the dehumanization of the individual, usually the most oppressed and weak in our society.
I am not going to sit here at my computer and pretend to have the low down on politics, not my field of expertise by any stretch of the most creative imagination.
However, I do want to share some of my observations with you today. I believe we have some underlying things resident in our operating systems that are contributing to the problems instead of solving them. There are mindsets that are forming our attitudes and responses to people and systems we do not understand.
It seems some are pointing the finger at particular issues, racism, terrorism, political systems and leaders, immigrants and immigration policy, religion and the church, abortion, human trafficking, financial systems and banks, guns and gun control... The list goes on.
I am not here to expose my political stances on all these subjects.
I am writing today because my concern is that as a society at large, we are losing something much more important than our politics.
We are forgetting that we are all human.
How many of you know that the problems we have with the things I listed above are only the SYMPTOMS of what is going wrong in our world?
Yes, I said symptoms. I believe that we are trying to treat our symptoms and make them go away rather than heal what is causing the problems in the first place.
Take into consideration the Syrian refugee crisis. (I am restating that I am no expert). Many Americans are concerned that we are hosting terrorism and enabling terrorists should we agree to take them in. They are concerned for our country's safety, with good reason. Bottom line is, AMERICANS ARE SCARED.
Have you ever talked to a Syrian? I have, just recently. Guess what? SHE IS SCARED TOO. Syria today is not how she remembers Syria. She remembers Syria as a beautiful country with beautiful and hospitable people. My friend is a flesh and blood, daughter, wife, mother, sister, and a friend. She is afraid of what is happening to her people. She is afraid of being targeted and sent somewhere or killed even though she is a citizen of the USA. She has feelings, she has passions, she has loves and likes and hates just like we all do. Syrian is her nationality, not her identity and not a reason to hate her.
Fear and Its Influence
Fear screams loud.
Fear is deceptive.
Fear can't win.
We can't afford to let fear lead.
Fear will cause us to spiritualize, marginalize and dehumanize people. Those are the first steps of the destruction of any person or people group; to minimize their existence.
I am not just talking about Syrian refugees now. I am talking about every level of our society seems to be far more fear-driven that we think. Our ways, our prejudices, our policies are ruled by fear instead of faith.
I hesitate to throw the Scriptures in here as many of my readers are not necessarily bible believing, I don't intend to bible thump anyone. I don't think thumping works. I also don't think you have to believe in the authority of the bible for The Word (Who is a Person) not to believe in you and your worthiness as a human being or in the worth of another human being.
James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
Deuteronomy 10:18 "He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing."
Have not most people encountered a widow and felt compassion?
Have not most heard of someone who has been orphaned or experienced abandonment?
Have not many been labeled the foreigner?
We are a country build by immigrants. Or have we been far too polluted and hardened to the plights of humanity? Have we distanced ourselves so much that the "us verses them mentality" rules our hearts and minds and makes our decisions for us?
I think we can reconnect on a human-to-human level again. We can kick that slippery snake of fear to the curb when we can begin to open our hearts to other humans.
Healing the Heart Towards Humanity
We can begin by letting go. Let go of the past and the people who've harmed us.
We can drop the preconceptions and misconceptions we hold by asking God to reveal them.
We can choose to remove categories and systems we view people through by their associations.
We can look past politics, religion, race, financial status and any other thing that creates and us and them.
We can refuse to see people as projects.
Slow Down, Think and Ask
Does this person or people have a heart that beats, a soul that feels and a mind that thinks?
Do they experience physical pain, as well as ecstasy? Do they feel hot and cold like you?
Do they have a family, children, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles?
Do they have a love for their land, their friends, and food?
Do they have sympathy, empathy, experience loss and joy?
If they do, I'll bet they are human. I would also venture to say, you are more alike than you are different.
I'll leave you with this for today.
1 Corinthians 13 NIV "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
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