In our family, we (repeatedly!) say things like:
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
We don’t (insert random offense) in this family.
And, of course, the one that I say to the squabbles and anger, misunderstandings and frustrations, the lashing out:
It’s funny, isn’t it, that the lessons we learn from our mothers, from our fathers, from our families or other role models are the ones we most need as adults? We complicate things so much. Really, it’s pretty simple. Eat good food, get plenty of sleep, play outside lots and use your words to love each other.
Even beyond politics, religion and parenting, beyond the bigness of our world and its problems, to the smallest, most intimate of relationships, it is always powerful and life-giving to use your words to love each other.
Maybe it’s simple but maybe it starts that small. Maybe it starts with using our words – spoken, written, blogged, tweeted, facebooked, pamphlet-ed, sermon noted – to love each other, even The Other whether that is the theological or political or parental or philosophical other.
Maybe it’s true.
We weren’t called to a ministry of exposing false teachers.
We weren’t called to a ministry of pointing out where everyone else is wrong.
We weren’t called to a ministry of critical thinking or criticism.
We weren’t called to a ministry of I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong.
We weren’t called to a ministry of correct doctrine even.
No, we are called to be a People of Love.
It means that we speak the words of the Kingdom, our voices and lives singing the song of reconciliation. Reconciled to God, reconciled to each other, reconciled to all humanity, the earth and its fullness, reconciled even to our true selves.
We are the people that speak out and live and move and breathe in the words of Paul:
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle… Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody … Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” (excerpted from Romans 12:9-12)
Maybe you do think I’m a heretic (you wouldn’t be alone).
Maybe I think you’re wrong about predestination (I wouldn’t be alone).
Let us, my brother, my sister, my other, use our words to love each other.