That has not been the case much lately.
For, even in the times when I move slower and speak less, I'm still running circles in my head. In there, in that small sheltered space, is a rumpus of imagined debate and flourishing retorts, each with a pointed desire to shine brighter, stand taller, pierce deeper. You may think me a quieter soul but believe me when I tell you that there are places down deep that rage.
For you see, I want to be the one who is right.
And I don't mean the kind of right that wins a debate.
I want to be righteously right.
But, the other day, in the midst of this internal storm, this desire to wage war with words, I felt this alight upon my heart:
But the wisdom from above is
first of all
It is also peace loving,
gentle at all times,
and willing to yield to others.
It is full of mercy and good deeds.
It shows no favoritism
and it is always sincere.
And those who are peacemakers
will plant seeds of peace
and reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3: 17-18 NLT
And I heard the Lord speaking to my most fragile self, the one that had been the source of all this unspoken vitriol but also, the one that most wants to change the world. On the trails of holy whispers I caught hold of this:
The Lord God has told [you]
what is right
what he demands:
'See that justice is done,
let mercy be your first concern,
and humbly obey your God.'
Micah 6:8 CEV
And all I could do was fall into the truth.
I am not called to bring down kingdoms or exercise judgment upon the land.
I am called to lift up the brokenhearted.
I am not called to point out the faults of others.
I am called to look deep and love hard.
I am not called to find the highest virtuous point and stake the flag of faith upon its peak.
I am called to help others to the top.
"Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers,
hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul,
which are the causes of war.
If you love peace, then hate injustice,
hate tyranny, hate greed--
but hate these things
I am convinced, now more than ever, that we will never know a political landscape that represents the hearts of all people of faith. Because I've watched folks with deep belief and love and conviction tirelessly search their hearts and souls for answers and declarations but, in the end, still find themselves gazing at each other across fences denoting political affiliation. I have been such folk.
No, the answer lies not in the establishment of a holy land. The answer lies in the laboring for hallowed hearts. It's not about fashioning this world to fit our cracked mold. It's about looking for "the way he works so we can live the way we're made" (Isaiah 2:3 MSG).
I know it now.
I know it deep and long and far and wide.
I am called to be a peacemaker.
On the eve of one of the most decisive political contests in the history of our country, I choose peace.
Peace over paradigm, over pontification, over pretension.
(photo credit: Google images)
And to all of you with whom I have stood opposite, even as we both sank, knee-deep in grace, I give you this:
"I pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you,
and that he will show you mercy and kindness.
May the Lord be good to you
Numbers 6:24-26 CEV