Sunday, August 20, 2017

Greet More Than Just Your "Brothers"

I am knee deep in my most important job of parenting.  My children are little, but I am working diligently around the clock laying the foundation to help raise compassionate, kind, persevering, hard working, faith-filled, intelligent, moral global citizens of this world.

We currently live in a world where those adjectives above aren't always modeled by adults- even our country's leaders.  There are opposite examples of those words everywhere I turn and it feels like that makes parenting challenging at this time in our history.

I've been trying to wade through all the news, all the voices filled with hatred getting airtime lately, all the wrong examples my boys have in our world right now and I can't help but keep thinking and asking myself What Would Jesus Do?  In the 90s, those bracelets were everywhere!  I had a green and white one.  It was a visual reminder to me, throughout my day, to remember Him when I was making decisions, and sharing my voice.  I was not without making mistakes, but that bracelet did actually help me.  
I got a resurgence of that message while we were at church today...

The deacon was speaking the homily.  He talked about the definition of 'foreigner' and then asked anyone who wasn't born in the United States to please stand up.  A few people did.  Then, he asked for anyone who is a foreigner of Michigan to stand and the group got bigger.  Finally, he asked for those not born in the Lansing area to stand up.  Now our church was about 75% standing.  After everyone sat down he asked us to reflect on how it felt to be a foreigner- were people kind?  did people pass judgments? Did you feel welcomed? Loved? 

He then went on to discuss all the ways that people can be different from one another- their race, gender, religion, moral beliefs, political affiliations and how much war, despair, fear, and violence passing judgment on those differences causes us.  

He brought up Charlottesville and how much his heart was aching.

Then, he went back to scripture and went back to Jesus.

He asked us to go look, particularly, at Matthew Chapter 5 in the Bible.  That is the chapter where Jesus says the beatitudes blessing those who are meek or hungry or persecuted and how God will take care of them.  My mind was wandering to Syria, the millions of people in places like South Sudan suffering famine, or to Heather Heyer, the young woman killed in Charlottesville as she protested the disgusting white supremacy groups.  God shouldn't be the only one taking care- we ALL need to be taking care.  That is, after all, what Jesus would do.   

When I looked more at Matthew Chapter 5, another part of it stuck out to me-verse 47- "And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?"

As the deacon spoke,  he talked about every single human life being important.  That we should never feel like we have to look up to people because we are beneath them or look down on people because we think we are above them.

If I am only taking care of my own, if I am only sticking up for, supporting, complimenting, and encouraging people who look like me, live near me, act like me, believe what I believe- how does that actually make me a good person?  That is not unusual, not special, not extraordinary.

I heard the voice in my head- What Would Jesus Do? 

Regardless of your own individual beliefs, I'm not sure anyone can argue against the fact that Jesus made some pretty good decisions :) 

I walked out of church today feeling empowered and motivated once again to do much more like what Jesus would do.  To say much more of what Jesus would say.  To serve much more how Jesus would serve. And, most importantly, to love much more like how Jesus loves. 

This message is constantly with me, but not always at the front.  What a beautiful message to keep in mind, not only as I parent three little boys, but as a new school year starts up and I am helping to mold and educate a new group of sixth graders.  

We have an obligation, now more than ever, to do better for our current world and the world our children and grandchildren will inherit. 

I'm tired of the many "role models" and "examples" we see in our media that are anything but.
I'm tired of the hatred being spewed-by so many groups.
I'm tired of people hiding behind their religion making it seem like that gives them permission to judge, persecute, harm. IT.DOES.NOT.

I don't know if those bracelets need to make a comeback to help remind us or what, but stuff has GOT to change.

I will continue to ask myself what Jesus would do and teach my boys to do the same.

It is necessary my boys take care of each other, but it is equally necessary that they take care of others.

Here's hoping I can show, through my actions and words, what a compassionate, kind, persevering, hard working, faith-filled, intelligent, moral global citizen of this world looks like and here's hoping my boys will grow to be better people than I am, better people than they see on TV.  

Please, greet more than just your "brothers."  Please, take care of all in our world.  Please, use your voice for good, for love, for peace.