As we consider Independence Day, is it possible to move our minds beyond ourselves and our personal right to life and liberty, and a few steps closer toward “justice for all”?
In true Kingdom Independence—where there are no captives—“we” is not so different from “them”, as if those are even helpful pronouns toward independence, unity, or Kingdom building.
When I refer to “we” and “them” I am not simply referring to “democracies” vs “dictators”, “citizens” vs terrorists”, “women” vs “men”, “Christians” vs “Muslims”, “Gays” vs “Straight”, “White” vs “Color”, “Republicans” vs “Democrats”, “Conservatives” vs “Liberals”, “Rapists” vs “Raped and Violated” or even “Dehumanizers” vs the “Dehumanized”.
I AM speaking of anything or anyone which we consider “other” than ourselves. Dr. Jane Goodall calls this “Othering”, and if we are all connected with, by, and of One Divine Source, then there IS simply NO “OTHER.”
The central and recurring message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is peace, unity, and reconciliation. How can then “we” as citizens of “one nation under God” ever espouse that “we” are superior and that it is our job to eradicate “them”? This goes far beyond a stance of “right” and “wrong”, “sin” and what? “Unsin”? Rather, it nails our very hearts deeply to the bed of the Cross, where Jesus proclaimed, “You [oh sinner] today will be with me in Paradise”. To live otherwise makes us the one who—if hanging on the cross—would at the same time be grasping for that first stone to cast.
Remember our old Sunday School song: Red, and Yellow, Black, and White, they are precious in His sight? When we actually muscle our lives up to walk this path, rather than a mere cognitive belief, no more American children will die of water poisoning as they did in Flint, MI, no more orphans will be left in the dessert as hyena food because of a man-made famine, no more women will be shackled to the floor of soldiers’ barracks in the name of a country’s independence, and no one—NO ONE—will be stoned, strung upon a fence or swung from a limb because “we” don’t like them.
What would it look like for you and me to celebrate Independence Day in a way that included some of my “them” “neighbors”?
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