…And we’re back. How was your summer? Mine was largely uneventful, with one notable exception. Longtime readers will recall that I came perilously close to a big blowup with my uncle on Facebook awhile back. Well, it finally happened. The camel-breaking straw coincided with the ugliness in Charlottesville, and our President implying that both sides were equally at fault. My mother’s brother echoed this sentiment, stating that (and I’m paraphrasing here) nobody likes Nazis, but the other side was just as much, if not more to blame for the violence. The other side, you see, were part of a network of well-funded anarchists advancing the liberal agenda. Liberals, of course, are the enemy and scourge of our nation, and anything that hinders or angers them is to be embraced, regardless of objective circumstance. So I told him he was an ignorant old racist, pointed out several of his myriad hypocrisies, and severed all ties. I feel much better now.
That’s not what I came here to talk about, so much. I just thought I’d mention it. (Thank you Arlo Guthrie.)
The other day I saw a woman on the subway wearing a tiara. I thought this was silly. It reminded me that my sister likes to wear a tiara to Walt Disney World. (She’s a princess, you see.) I also think that is silly. I think that many things done by many people are silly. Often foolish. Upon contemplating these contentions, I have happened upon two ironclad truths:
ONE, I am the supreme arbiter of nothing. My opinion of what other people choose to do is largely irrelevant. If you aren’t hurting others or yourself, why shouldn’t you do what makes you happy?
TWO, we’re all broken. We all have hangups and idiosyncrasies and annoying peculiarities that are a part of who we are. You do, and so do I. The trap that I sometimes fall into is seeing the quirk and discounting the person. Bad Gary. I should know better. Did Christ act that way?
Who did Jesus associate Himself with? Sinners. Outcasts. Imperfect beings. (That was easy for Him, since everyone but Him was and is imperfect.) He didn’t cast people aside or judge them unworthy of His esteem because they screwed up. He healed lepers on the Sabbath because it was the right thing to do. (It was illegal, but He did it anyway.) He saved the adulterous woman. (“Let he who is without sin…”) He loved Matthew the tax collector. (And He didn’t make anyone take a pledge saying that taxes were un-Biblical. “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…”)
In fact, there were only a few people that our Lord and Savior truly detested. Samaritans? Betrayers? Gentiles? Nope. It was the money changers and the Pharisees. The people who claimed to be the most devout to His father. They talked a great game. Quoted scripture chapter and verse. Obeyed the Law to the letter.
And they ignored the spirit of the Law entirely.
They were God’s chosen, and looked down on everyone that they felt was beneath them. (So everyone, basically.) They were secure in their bubble of righteousness and woe be unto you if you dared to disagree with them. Be different from them. Threaten their world view. You can’t reason with someone who is always right. (And why does all of this sound so familiar?)
Jesus loves us, warts and all. He also told us to love each other. No qualifiers. No conditions. No wiggle room. Partly because God said so, but mostly because it’s the right thing to do. You know it. I know it. And I don’t know about you, but I would make a lousy Pharisee. My scripture knowledge is passable at best and my wardrobe is nowhere near resplendent. I guess I’ll have to throw in with the other side.
We’re all broken. All the more reason to treat each other with care.
I’ll catch you next time.