Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled
as to console;
to be understood
as to understand;
to be loved
as to love;
For it is in giving
that we receive;
it is in pardoning
that we are pardoned;
it is in dying
that we are born again to eternal life.
Prayer of St. Francis
I’ve been thinking about this prayer a lot lately, especially the line, “grant that I may not so much seek … to be loved as to love;” as this is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. However, the more I’ve mulled over the entire prayer, the more I see what a powerful request and reminder that it is for those of us who profess to love God or to be Christians, especially given news in recent weeks about Trump and Target and all things between.
It’s hard to be a Christian anymore…actually, let me correct that. It’s embarrassing to be a Christian anymore. It’s sad to be a Christian anymore. To claim that title for myself. And not because I feel persecuted, which, as a white woman living in America, is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. But more because so many groups who loudly proclaim themselves as Christians, followers of Christ, “fellow believers,” are some of the most hate- and vitriol-filled people I’ve ever seen.They are the very opposite of love.
They are toxic.
And I don’t want to be associated with them.
Admittedly, I don’t have the credentials or appropriate letters after my name to get into theological debates with people about lifestyle choices and what exactly sin is, etc. etc. But I can point to where Jesus told us to love. Love. Love. Not hold up signs about how God hates a certain group of people. Not LOUDLY boycott stores because they chose to be open-minded. Not support political candidates because they profess to follow your same religious beliefs, and are running on the “right” party platform, yet nothing in the way they have lead their lives up to this point suggests that they do actually share those religious values.
There are other things in this world that are so much more worthy of our time, effort, and attention. Instead of looking for new and creative ways to be outraged and feel persecuted, or spread hatred and venom in the name of Jesus, why not spread what he asked us to spread?
Love. Peace. Patience. Kindness.