It is easy to get distracted. It’s easy to get pulled away. Oh so often have I fallen away, being drug back to a way of politics and partisanship – a way that doesn’t lead to life. Rather it leads to competition, compliance, demand, division, separation, anger, fear, and so much more. All of these things pull at me time and time again. Oh so often have I succumbed to them. They are a hard task master – a way that demands things from its followers. A way that is heavy. A way that beats down all who are not strong.
But this is not the way of Christ. Love is the only way.
As I have struggled through this week over everything surrounding immigration, the separation of children from parents, the comments in response, the rhetoric, the stories, and more, I have wandered in what feels like a haze. I have felt the grasp of fear and anger all around. Anxiety has made its home in the pit of my stomach.
My heart has broken over and over again. I have gone through a range of emotions – not all of them healthy. I have been angry at those who seem blinded to the plight of the refugee seeking asylum. I have wondered why people can’t see their plight.
Why do Christians, those who claim to follow Christ and all he taught, seem blind to the plight of other human beings? To turn our backs on those who suffer? To block out the humanity of the most vulnerable? To turn our backs on the least of these – our brothers and sisters.
My anger is gone now. My sorrow flows freely though. I am sad for the refugees. But my heart breaks even more for this nation and the people who are gripped by fear and anger. My heart rips open for those who live by fear and anger. Fear and anger consume so many and consume our nation. And when words fail to settle our differences, when words fail to bring calm, then fear and anger will lead to violence. And my heart breaks more.
My heart breaks over and over. And I am reminded that love is the only way. Fear leads to death. Anger leads to death. Love is the only way to life.
We are called to love. Not cheap love – very costly love. Love isn’t about being right and convincing others to follow along. Love sees no enemies – only fellow children of God. We are called to love our neighbors. We are called to love our enemies. We are called to love refugees and strangers. We are called to love the most vulnerable. We are called to love those that we fear the most.
Love is vulnerable. Love is risky. Love is uncontrollable. Love is costly.
Jesus asks the disciples in Mark 4 “Why are you afraid?” He asks us this same question at this moment in history. He asks us why we are afraid of refugees. Jesus asks us, not to gain political points. Not to get voters in a political party. Jesus asks us why we are afraid because we have lost sight of him and his way – love. Love is the only way. Nothing else matters. Nothing else will survive. Nothing else will change the world.
Do we believe Jesus? Do we believe Jesus’ way? Or do think that it is just a bunch of nice ideas that can never really work? Now is the time to show what we truly believe. The old hymn tells us that “they will know we are Christians by our love.” Now is the time Christian. Now is the time to live by love. Because love is the only way.
Force, strength, control, walls, violence, separation, rhetoric – none of these can ever conquer the world. None of these can change the world. None of these are the way of Christ. None of these will last. Love is the only way.
And so I love the refugees and my heart breaks for them. I love the border guards who are doing their duty and my heart breaks for them. I love the vocal defenders and those who willingly dehumanize children sent to cages and my heart breaks for them. I love Jeff Sessions and my heart breaks for him. I love Donald Trump and my heart breaks for him. This is a painful love. But it is the only way that I know to go forward. It is the only way that has not been tried. It is the only way to really follow Christ.
Love is the only way.