Two Words Preventing Peace

The other day I was wrestling (and by that I mean full body Hulk Hogan throw-down wrestling) with the tangled Christmas lights outside by the prickly pokey evergreens in front of our house.  My hands numb, my nose drippy.

And under my frosty breath I muttered “He never helps with this.  If any decorating is going to get done it has to be me.  Always me doing all the work to make us Christmas-ready.”

I know.  My problems are so real!

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Ok, maybe it’s more accurate to say that lights are not usually my husband’s thing (as delightful as he is).  Maybe it’s more accurate to say he does a ton of other things to serve me, and he has a boatload of non-light-putting-up-gifts.  And maybe he had some Christmas light trauma from his youth that I’m not aware of.

In addition to the light situation the other day, I got an email from a sincere, well-meaning friend in response to an article I sent that shared a positive view of the Palestinian narrative.

He wrote, “You would never see Israelites celebrating the harming of civilians (as the Arabs and Palestinians routinely do) and you would never see Israelies treating the accused or the dead as the Palestinians do.”

Always.  

Never.

Peace on Earth, good Will towards Men

Conflict at home.  Conflict in the world.

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Oh, my heart aches for friends in the Middle East who long for peace and have a tangled mess of absolutes that make my knotted Christmas lights look like child’s play.

Are there times when we speak black and white when God would speak pastel?

When we would write off one group of people who God loves in favor of another?

Where are we listening to one narrative, one experience of pain when there are so many to hear?

Always.  Never.  These guys, along with their sneaky cousins “all”, “none”, and “everyone” love certainty.

They transform us into toddlers with our eyes scrunched closed, fingers in our ears, saying “Lalalalaala” as loud as we can.

Confession:  I love certainty.  I love Absolutes.  I want to know what I know what I know. It makes me feel safe.  So sure.

But Always and Never are the very absolutes that can prevent peace.  So I’m trying to keep an eye out for them.

And then, just when I think God’s going to zig, He zags, and I realize that sometimes, God takes those absolutes that can divide us and uses them to unite us.

All (Jews, Christians, Palestinians, Muslims…what ever label you can think of) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

By this everyone will know you are my disciples.  If you love one another.  John 13:35

What are the good absolutes in your life?  How might some absolutes undermine your ability to love as Jesus loves?

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