Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The challenge of deeply engaging with others....having REAL relationships

Before the inauguration of the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, my friend made the following post on facebook on January 16, 2017.

"Forgiveness is a costly matter because it aims at reconciliation, or the restoring of relationships, and this requires an acceptance of the experience of another into oneself that is nothing less than a journey of painful discovery." (Paul Fiddes) 

Then Yesterday I came across a podcast interview of another friend.

In the podcast Amy Butler, Senior Pastor at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City, shared the questions she has been asking about the role of Christians and the church since November 8. At the heart of it she says it is about relationships. That for the Kingdom of God to be made known on earth we have to work on our relationships. It runs for 48 minutes but it us worth your time to listen. You can click on podcast above or here to listen.

I will be the first to tell you that relationships are hard. Let's face it, we all want to put ourselves first and get what we want to some degree or another. We have a hard time being the servants Christ has called us to be. This has never been more real for me than in the past 4 days. The quote above prompted me to call a friend about getting together for a meal. We had breakfast Saturday morning and knowing she was a Trump supporter I wanted to understand why she voted that way. I must be honest and say that I am not happy. Truthfully and I am one of those #notmypresident people. But I wanted to find common ground because she is a great friend, a wonderful sister in Christ and I wasn't about to let my confusion and anger about our countries politics ruin this friendship. She answered my questions from her biblical world view as I did mine and we are still friends. I like to believe that we know what is most important and that is our desire to see those we love in a relationship with Jesus and us working together to bring his kingdom here on earth. We have agreed to have breakfast regularly.

That same day I met a co-worker at the Women's March in Roanoke to march in solidarity with so many others I knew marching in DC that day. I, of course, took to facebook to post my pics, state why I marched and enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow brothers and sisters around the world who marched with me, That's when things got real. A friend and I had disagreements over some issues and if I am honest I was surprised and hurt. Things got real as usually life does. That's when we have to ask ourselves, do we retreat or do we engage?

I retreated for a few days to attend to my wounds but then I heard the podcast yesterday. A good pastor knows how to stick to you when you need it. How can I preach love and reconciliation if I am not willing to do the work? I called my friend last night to see if we could meet over tea. I heard from her this morning and tea is set for Friday. She is my friend and we share a lot in common but we have differences.

My question to my readers is this. Are we going to let our differences continue to drive us apart or are we going to be intentional in engaging with our friends and doing the messy work so we can forgive and reconcile one another to God?

It is within us to heal this land. Will you join me?