I sit across from three women I admire. Over fried mushrooms and green beans with a side of ranch (help us all) we talk about the word world. The shifts in publishing and social media. The swords have come out, we all say in one way or another, and we don’t know if they will ever be put back.
By this we mean the cutting statements in Facebook rants, the attack-dog tweets, the opinions launched like grenades at the other side. It’s tempting, so tempting, to run from it all and hide. Or to enter the battle with even bigger bombs. Go nuclear.
But we want neither and I think about this a long time after the waitress has cleared the plates and wiped off the crumbs. I think of it in the car on the way home. As I go to sleep at night. At the breakfast table the next morning.
Over and over one sentence comes to mind. A friend, as she described someone in her life, once said, “She is not a problem to be solved; she is a person to be loved.”
I think it is this we have forgotten. We see the problems — the issues and the differing opinions, the my-way and their-way, the divides like ditches between us. And we think what will make it all better is to fix it all. So we argue about politics and slam the door on our way out. We type in all caps and put exclamation points at the end. We holler until our throats are sore and we can’t even whisper anymore.
And Jesus still says, “Love one another” (John 13:34).
What if we “fixed” all the problems and we turned to see a war field scattered with the wounded and the dying? What if I fight so hard and I win but I am the only one to survive? Is that really a victory?
If the swords are unsheathed then let’s use them to fight the real enemy (which is not each other or any human). Let’s remember we are on the same side. We are part of the same family. We are stronger and better together.
Yes, we will and sometimes must disagree. But we can do it civilly.
We can “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). Think this is weakness? Don’t be fooled; “A gentle tongue can break a bone” (Proverbs 25:15).
You know what I think the enemy is after in this battle? Mass casualties in the Kingdom, that we would turn on each other and do his work for him. Let’s not allow this to happen. Let’s agree we will only raise our swords on each other’s behalf, never against.
Our words are not dull butter knives or plastic light sabers swung in the backyard. They are real weapons. We can use them to wound. Or we can fight the darkness together. I choose the latter.
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