When the local country inn brought in exotic dancers, they said they were praying it would close down and then they went on their merry way. Because, it’s easier to maintain a safe distance from what makes us uncomfortable and wish it away. When classmates were found self-harming in the bathroom, the parents pulled their kids out of school. No one seems to get that what cuts most is rejection-and shunning. That was when the radio show host said his hurting of women was consensual, and every woman who’s been harmed shuddered. And then the petitions started -to cancel a show and then to save it- when really, the only thing at risk of being cancelled was human empathy and godly love. And the reality of the colour of your skin dictating the level of justice you receive, there are a lot of people mourning that right now.
It all sounds ludicrous to me. How nothing has changed and we still constantly push people out on the fringe. How we can’t serve a cup of coffee, share a classroom, deliver justice.
I’m so done with it. I’m done with wanting to give water to those who need it, and instead keeping to myself because, we send cheques to the fringe, but we don’t ever go there. And I’m not talking about my short-term missions trip where I snapped a picture of me with a young, pregnant girl living in poverty. I’m talking about how our prejudices, judgements, attitudes create barriers that keep us away from people on the fringe, all around us, all the time. Turns out I’m the one who is thirsty. Thirsty for God’s extravagant, authentic love that doesn’t ever pass anyone by.
There was a time when I only ever wore skirts and I thought that being a white, North American stay-at-home mom with a house full of kids was the only true picture of being a godly woman and a good mom. Other mothers would ask me why I decided to have so many children and I’d say that I was trusting God with it all. Because when another woman said she felt full with 2 or 3 kids, I’d whisper a prayer and think if only she trusted God more and be more like me. I don’t think I realized then how believing that your choices are the only right choices only pushes people away. I know it now. A godly woman isn’t defined by her appearance, the number of children in her home or even her (privileged) choice to stay home. I’ve seen hearts fall apart under the weight of all that. Mine did. No, I’m learning that a godly woman is defined by love.
So, I’ve decided that I’m done with ideals that push others down to puff ourselves up. I’m done with trying to look good and keep up with the Joneses. We should never, ever try to be so alike that we can’t ever connect to anyone who is different. Because the face of love isn’t a big, rich American family with all their children (or even ducks) lined in a row, no, the face of love is walking out of your comfort zone and into the fringe. It’s reaching out instead of pulling away. It’s in every human connection that crosses over gender lines, financial status, skin colour, life choices…every-single-line-crossed for love. And godly women (and men) do this.
I’ve decided not to sign the petition or hide behind my poetic writing. Because Lord knows I’ve spent a lot of time hiding and trying to stay away from the fringe.
Loves, will you join me? Let’s come out from under our bowls and let’s salt the earth, all the way up to the edges, the fringes, the borders. As far out as God’s love leads us. Let’s stop complaining about all the ways people are different from us, let’s stop praying for other people to become just like us and start letting God’s love draw us to people who are altogether different, maybe even polar opposites. Because, at the local strip club, in your child’s class, in the cross-fire of petitions, underneath skin, behind lifestyle choices and in your church nursery are people, made in God’s image, in need of one thing (and it’s not your opinions or signature). It’s love.
Do you have any ideas on how to love outside your comfort zone? What comes to mind? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Stick and Stones: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/2450534945/”>ashley rose,</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
Balloon Friends: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/brandoncwarren/4164759025/”>Brandon Christopher Warren</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href
Hands holding:<a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotorita/1482317508/”>FotoRita [Allstar maniac]</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>