When my oldest son was about three-months-old, we decided to go on a three hour trip to my brother’s house. We were only about thirty minutes into the trip when I heard my son throwing up. I am going to be graphic here for a reason. By throwing up, I mean literal projectile vomit spewing from his mouth hard enough to hit the seat he was facing. Needless to say, it was horrifying to watch my little baby throw up in such a way. I knew something had to be drastically wrong. (It turns out that he experienced motion sickness, which explained why I never could rock him to sleep without him crying harder!)
Today I experienced something just as horrifying as watching my little boy spewing vomit. I opened up my Twitter. As I read I was appalled at all of the hate and vitriol literally spewing out of the mouths of most of the people on there. The right wing, the left wing, the LGBTQ, the anti-LGBTQ, the politics, the hate for Trump, the hate for Biden. I was sick to my stomach and closed my phone after 10 minutes of reading. All I really wanted to do was look up the people I follow, and yet I was caught up in reading comments I never should have started reading.
I understand that in America we have some significant divides and ideologies. I worry for the state of America and my heart is saddened for the people who continue to propagate all the hatred. I fear for where America is headed.
However, as a Christian, I need to realize that no matter what happens here on earth, God is ultimately the one we will answer to for our behavior. What he has asked of me is that I love the Lord, my God, with all of my heart. Then he has asked that I love my neighbor. He did not say, “Love your neighbor if he thinks the same way you think.” He did not say, “Love your neighbor unless he is a sinner.” (We all are.) He did not say, “Love your neighbor only under certain circumstances.”
He said, “Love. Your. Neighbor.” I know it is easier said than done. Loving someone does not mean condoning their lifestyle and choices. It does mean showing them kindness, goodness, and the light that Christ brings in your life. It means trying to develop a relationship of respect so that you open the doors to have candid conversations. It means listening to them and understanding what has shaped their lives. It sometimes means inconvenience and messiness and hurt.
Frankly, there will be times you will need to walk away. But walk away with dignity instead of hurtful words, slurs, and hatred in your heart. Those things will never lead someone to the Lord. But your gracious words, your humble heart, and your prayers for someone will yield far more positive results than vindictive and hateful words and actions.
Spewing. It is distasteful, no matter where it is coming from. It is time to start loving God and then loving your neighbor in such a way that you are a light to the world around you–no matter how dark it seems.