Thursday, March 10, 2011
peace not strife
Often, living here, I am confronted by the violence that daily can be found in everyday lives. I am not talking about rape. This is well documented and written about and it is completely devastating and horrific. I am talking about the beginning of it all. I am talking about the violence in my own heart. The desire for vengeance, to see wrongs undone, especially as they have been done to me, done to my little girls, to see my self justified, to see justice and do it myself, to rage against all the wrong, all the strife, with my fist in the air. So much of my anger and unrest, isn't it justifiable? Yet, my anger somehow creates more strife, more resentment. I am quick to condemn, slow to listen. My own heart is full of fear instead of love. Isn't most anger fear in disguise? Here, I see it so visibly that it quickly reveals the poverty of my heart. When someone dies, it is because that person was poisoned. Neighbors are quick to accuse each other, send the other to jail for an assumed wrongdoing. Some are shot for speaking the truth, being the wrong place at the wrong time. You put mud on someone's clothes from driving through a puddle too fast, and now "your life is mine!" Guns everywhere. Suspicion and secrecy. Mistrust is deep. Mistrust of each other, of self. Ask anyone, "how many people would you trust with your life?" Maybe 1 or 2, maybe none. It is dangerous to trust. I had a long walk with a good friend one day here, both crying. We talked about trust, how hard it is to trust anyone. How we start any relationship with mistrust, it is safer, wiser. yet... I cried, my heart broken and undone. Is this Jesus? Did he guard his heart where we were concerned? Did he protect this most vulnerable place? (And he KNEW they would betray him!) The attitude of my heart, my most treasured and protected place. Is this how I want to live? If I stand up for what I see wrong with anger in my heart am I not only part of the wrong? If I stand up for what I see wrong with love in my heart and peace in my hand, am I instead a part of compassionate humanity, a part of the work of him who walked in sorrow, sacrifice, humility, and love. Somewhere and somehow, my fist must open and my hand must reach out in peace and forgiveness, with love in my heart, letting go of my anger and rage. Somehow, I must choose peace and not strife today. Even as I stand against injustice and for truth. Even in the midst of the raging sea, I must choose peace and not strife. It must start somewhere. It will start with me.