I remember red letter bibles from my childhood. These were bibles where the words of Jesus were printed in red. While I don't have one in front of me, here's the jist:
- The law says an eye for an eye, but I say turn the other cheek
- Love your enemies, bless those who curse you.
- Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
- Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, render unto God that which is God's
- Love your neighbor as yourself
- Love God with all your heart
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Forgive Seventy times Seven
- Feed the hungry, clothe the naked because when you do this to others you do this to me
- This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.
These words send a clear message: Kindness, forgiveness, peacefulness - Love. He doesn't say Judge one another. He doesn't say reject those you don't understand or feel threatened by. He doesn't say protect your freedom by taking away the freedom of others.
I'm writing this not for the people who think like I do, but for the people who don't understand why MANY of us are in distress. I'm distressed because so many other people seem to have abandoned this message, while at the same time saying that they voted their conscience, their faith, their values. I know that many who voted like I did, did so for a whole variety of other reasons. I don't think being a Christian is any better or worse than being anything else. I believe that their is one truth, and no one has a monopoly on it, that truth is love.
To me Love looks like wanting the same thing for strangers that you want for your family. If you want your family to feel safe, you want EVERYONE's family to feel safe. (If you don't understand the protests and outrage at the election result, it's because many people don't feel safe right now; women, anyone not white, immigrants, LGBT. The election rhetoric directed towards us and the voting record of those being considered for positions in a Trump administration cause us GREAT fear for what might be to come.) If you want your rights protected, you want all rights protected. (Since that might be too vague - if you don't want your right to bear arms taken away, don't take away my right to marry.) I don't know how to say this another way; Treat people the way you want to be treated.
I don't believe there will be some wild transformation and that the Electoral College process will be overturned before January. So we have to make peace. If you do nothing else, try to understand why we are concerned. Try to walk a mile in our shoes. Try to imagine waking up to a swastika painted on the wall and walking by that as you walk to work. Try to imagine being a child in a school cafeteria surrounded by other children chanting "Go back where you came from". Try to imagine being told you can make medical decisions for your dying spouse because you are not recognized as a married couple. Try to imagine being judged as a threat based on the color of your skin, and not based on your own individual actions. Try to imagine that you listen to others call you rapists and murders because of your country of origin. Try to imagine that you never get to see your children again because your effort to make a better life for them has failed and you've been deported. This trying to imagine is all I'm asking. Try to imagine what is is that we are so upset about. Try to imagine why as we try to stay above the line and not sink below our values and resort to name calling and negativity that we feel paralyzed to figure out how to move forward in the midst of so much vitriol.
You can make a difference. Reach across the "aisle" in whatever symbolic way you can and offer a sign of peace. Bring comfort to those who are terrified right now by being reassuring. Be loving, be understanding, be forgiving, be open and be willing to listen. Be good, be kind, make somebody smile.