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Open your eyes, your mind and your heart. You will be the richer for it. 

I rewatched the Hitchcock classic “Rope” last night. In it, two college friends kill an acquaintance just for jollies — or, more specifically, because they believe that intellectually superior people have the right to kill those who are inferior…that they are above morality and notions of right and wrong, which are conventions meant only for “common” people. James Stewart, as their former prep school headmaster, is aghast that they have made this decision: “Who made you God?” he asks them.

Who indeed? And yet, in smaller ways, we are all guilty of this type of judgmental thinking. Exhibit A: You are sitting in front of your computer reading about the latest political scandal. You are inwardly raging: How can this kind of malfeasance go unpunished? Or, alternately, why is this such a scandal when so-and-so (who I did not support) did the same/worse and went unpunished? Someone is getting away with something! Someone must be punished!

Who made us God? Before you demand perfect justice, examine yourself: Have you never broken the law, even in the tiniest way? Have you never jaywalked? Never ignored a traffic signal at three in the morning? Never taken something that wasn’t yours to take? Would you really want the full, scrupulous eye of the law to come down on you?

This is not to say that we should not seek justice, or that we should leave such things entirely to God. My caution is against fanaticism in all its forms. It is a reminder not to put ourselves above other people or allow ourselves to decide who is worthy and who is inferior. It is a call to humility and a reminder that we are all sinners, all of us steeped in sin. We must not point out the splinter in our brother’s eye while remaining indifferent to the plank in our own.

We’ve become so divided, culturally and politically speaking, that we actively call for violence against our “enemies” (I recently read a blog post comment that called for liberals to be “lined up and shot”) while seeking immunity for those we espouse, even going so far as gloating about our side being above the law somehow. No. This cannot be tolerated.

Instead, when you become angry at those you seek to judge, why not utter a prayer? “Heaven help us all,” has become my new mantra, and I mean it. Heaven help us not to succumb to the kind of overweening pride that allows us to pick and choose justice, that allows us to point fingers at others while hypocritically excusing the same sin in ourselves.

In an episode of “The Twilight Zone” a man obsessed with outing those he perceives as “guilty” keeps files on his neighbors, examining them for the slightest flaws. His mania becomes so great, he predicts that all of the guilty will suddenly shrink to three feet tall — and thus become instantly recognizable to the rest of humanity — at four o’clock that afternoon. What happens next? Not much, except that he himself shrinks to about three inches…and is instantly seized as prey by his own parrot.

Don’t be that guy. Because if we start sorting the populace into “them” and “us,” we are in for a world of hurt. In that case, heaven truly help us all.

Righting wrongs is never easy.  You have to change the old ways.  You have to establish new ways.  And you have to keep at it until the new ways become common place.

But social justice is so worth the effort.

Start with a small goal.  Take the love of God into the situation.  Rinse and repeat at needed.

–SueBE

 

 

Love your neighbor as yourself works best when your neighbor is defined rather broadly.  That’s the whole point in the tale of the Good Samaritan.  The Samaritan wasn’t of the same culture.  He didn’t live next door or, most likely, in the same neighborhood.  In fact, he could actually get in trouble for helping the man who was in distress.

Remember “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”?  If the Samaritan tried to help and the man died, his family would probably take revenge on the Samaritan.  After all, wasn’t he the last person seen with the victim?  The Samaritan could take shelter in a city of refuge, but his family would still be at risk, because the victim’s family could seek revenge against a son, brother or nephew.

Still, the Samaritan helped.  And he wasn’t just an anonymous helper on the side of the road.  He took the victim to an inn, spoke to the innkeeper and sacrificed his anonymity.

The Samaritan didn’t say, “He looks different.  He worships different.  I don’t even know him.”  He looked at a man in need and saw his neighbor.  Just a little something to think about.

–SueBE

I’d love to say that I embrace change.  In truth, sometimes I do okay with it.  Other times, it overwhelms me.  

Part of dealing with it is recognizing that reality.

How to avoid being overwhelmed?  I have to be a part of it.  I have to step up and make it mine.  

But I also have to realize that the past was not perfect or sacred.  It is just the way it was.

Fortunately, I have faith that God loves me.  Change happens but it is part of His plan.  I just have to find my place in it.

–SueBE

I wish I had something pithy to say about my path to success on this one but . . . not so much.  Try, try again?

–SueBE

We can accomplish great things working together. #InaugurateLight

Cuturally, we have an open door at our house.  I don’t care where you are from.  Your religion?  I’m happy you have faith.  You are welcome here.

Mention this in front of white Christians, and you get the most “delightful” questions. I’m using delightful here the same way my Texas grandma used it.  Well, aren’t you just a delight.

Would you feel that way if you met a head hunter?  What about a cannibal?

I’ve never actually met either a head hunter or a cannibal.  But I have met a very wide range of people.  I’ve worked pow wows alongside people from the Native American Church.  I helped proctor a class with a professor who was a Baptist minister but had been honored by the Thai king for his work among Theravada Buddhists of Thailand.  I’ve lived with Muslim students.  Honestly, they made excellent room mates.

Don’t let your fear take you to extremes in your imagination.  Definitely keep your eyes and ears open.  But see people with the love of God. Not through your fear of the dark.

–SueBE

Connect with those around you. Smile! 

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