So last night didn't turn out how I expected. I imagine most of us didn't believe the outcome. I went to bed because I frankly didn't feel that a loss of sleep would change anything or make much of a difference and I just love my sleep too much. Anyhow, I woke up this morning to the announcement and continued despair, gloating, name calling, hate, disappointment - you name it.
One of my favorite history teachers used to ask us at the end of a lecture for the: So What? After everything you have just read, what is the: So What? Why did all of this happen? What resulted? How does if affect you and the course of history?
I sat here, read a little Scripture for some comfort and to hear what God might have for me this morning and what is the "So What?". And I arrived at this: We are all losers. I don't say this because I think America is down the toilet or the winner is so horrible; I arrive at this statement because I believe we all place our hope, joy, contentment, feelings of safety and security in the wrong places.
Who are the losers? Here's a short list:
Anyone who believes a president and his Supreme Court appointments are going to save, raise up, redeem or restore a nation.
Anyone who believes the first female president would have elevated the status of women once and for all.
Anyone who gloats and believes their vote finally pierces the heart of their neighbor whose yard sign angered them so much over the past month.
Those of us who feel all hope is lost and life isn't worth living.
Anyone who chooses to place their trust in social media, the national media and anything but the actual truth.
Anyone who chooses to clamor over their bank accounts, stock prices and the economy as what will safely carry them to their grave.
Look, my blog is called "Another Blog About Jesus" because that's who I place ultimate hope and trust in for eternal life. If you don't, I don't hate you, think you're an idiot or look down on you. That's where I place my hope. And Jesus convicted me this morning that I have been a loser. I looked away from Him and the Heavenly Father over the last weeks and allowed the hate and the fear that does not come from Him consume me. I allowed the statements of some to put me in a pit of despair for my daughters and how they would be treated in this world. I allowed the threats of others to cause me to fear my freedom to worship. I worried and fretted for friends who live in fear for their safety because of their color. I have shed tears over my own church and the disunity and division caused by an election. And all of that makes me, you, and all of us losers.
We lose out on hope. We lose out on the the opportunity to love the neighbor and to extend a hand to the one we are supposed to oppose. Most everyone knows the story of the Good Samaritan. It's not just about doing a good deed. Here's the short story:
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
The point of this story isn't just about doing good. It's the fact that Samaritans were considered racially inferior by the Jews. Samaritans were unclean and dirty in their eyes...they may have even called them deplorable. Yet in this passage, the unclean took care of the man who had been robbed and left for dead. The holier than thou priest even crossed the road so as not to get too close to what was beneath him.
If we take a moment, we can identify with someone in this message. We might be the holier than thou, smug winner of last night's race who is walking by the one of feels like they were kicked and beaten down. We might be the Samaritan, the one who feels like they are marginalized by their race, gender or religion. We might feel like the beaten and the robbed, all hope was stripped from us.
Regardless of where you fall, choices can be made to do the right thing, the kind thing, the healing thing. You might not follow Jesus, (frankly there are some Jesus followers who aren't giving Him a good name right now - I get it), but you can take a deep breath and do the next right thing. Refuse to allow fear of the unknown, fear of those different from you and despair to grab your heart. That's not what the Lord wants for any of His children. We're all created in His image and He wants nothing more than to bring comfort.
Grace and peace to all who read this. It was written out of love, kindness, humility and confession of my own shortcomings.