Part six in a series on using the Lord's Prayer as a roadmap to mission.
Who is your “them”? Is it conservatives? Maybe your “them” is liberals. Perhaps your “them” is cishet white males. Your “them” may very well be homosexuals. It could be that your “them” is people of color. Whomever your “them” is, to be on mission is to move towards “them” in love and forgiveness.
I am always amazed by how full my calendar is. I have dates on there months into the future. It's crazy! This reality makes it very difficult to live in the moment. I am often thinking, planning, worrying, and dreaming about the future. Today is not something that I often pay attention to.
I am white, American, and male. Those three facts alone mean that I experience on a daily basis a level of privilege that many people don’t.
OK, many of you are about to stop reading and your eyes have rolled into the back of you head. I actually heard them roll. I have a teen-agers, trust me I can see an eye roll a mile away. Please keep reading. This is going somewhere. It’s not another “white man self-loathing” kind of piece.
Over the last few days I have bumped into an article by Rhonda Stephens entitled, “Parenting: Are We Getting A Raw Deal?” I saw it once and read it. I saw it a second time and read it again. The first time I laughed and remembered my childhood and how it reflected much of what Stephens wrote. I appreciated that at the end she makes it clear that maybe the current state of affairs is not the way things ought to be.
Have you noticed how we think about “them” and “us” or “them” and
“me”? It’s not something that I notice myself doing very much. I see it in a lot of other people.
That’s the point though isn’t it? Them, not me. Today, I was reading in the Psalms and I was struck by this reality.
In Psalm 5 there is a call by David for God to judge his enemies and protect him. He wants God to declare them guilty and destroy them.
In Psalm 6 David opens by saying, “Lord do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.” Not me God! I’m so sorry. I know I messed up, but don’t discipline me. Let me off and forgive me.
Them. Not me!
On the one hand this is what I love about the psalms. They are brutally honest. I read them and think, “Wow. These people were messed up.” I also read them and think, “Oh man, I am so these people.”
I have been thinking about this today, this juxtaposition of “Them. Not me.”
Why is that we demand grace for ourselves and judgment for our enemies? What is it that is in us that is like this? Have we ever thought about the reality that for some other person we might be the “them?” Could you imagine if you knew someone was beseeching the divine to destroy you and pour out wrath on you?
How might we change if we try to let go of the “them, not me” mindset?
I wonder if I might be able to love a little better. I think so, but too often it’s them, not me.
Originally published on December 3, 2018 on Medium