Last Saturday, our youngest daughter, Sara, and I were able to drive up to Franklin, Tennessee, for the fastest visit ever (we literally were there for less than an hour – but it was so worth it) to meet Katie Davis Majors

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As I wrote last week, I admire her greatly for her love for Uganda and all of the precious people she has come to know there. She has gained 13 beautiful daughters of her own as well as helping many many more children and their families through Amazima, the ministry she founded that has opened schools and helped women find work to support their families.

It was a joy to meet her and just what my spirit needed right now, in these ugly times.

See, Amazima’s mission states:

LOVE IS > pride.

LOVE IS > me.

LOVE IS > darkness.

LOVE IS > fear.

LOVE IS > (you name it).

His love conquers all. Wear it. Share it. Live it.

What a wonderful breath of fresh air.

It’s no secret to anyone that these are incredibly divisive times. Our country’s leader is not one for unity, many fringe groups seem to have come out of the woodwork, and every single issue is grounds for a knockdown dragout.

While I am the first to say that issues absolutely DO MATTER, lately I have been increasingly disturbed by the hatred that all of these debates are stirring.

Then the tragedy in Las Vegas occured.

And, while there were many appropriate responses, there were some that were so appalling that they simply took my breath away:

A TV executive who wasn’t too upset by the attack because the victims were likely “Republican gun toters” (when almost 600 fellow HUMANS were injured or killed)?

A vegan food truck operator tweeting that the deaths of the victims had saved many animal lives (when almost 600 fellow HUMANS were injured or killed)?

Many public figures linking their expressions of sympathy to the gun control debate BEFORE the victims could all even be identified and families notified (when almost 600 fellow HUMANS were injured or killed)?

And then, of course, in the days that followed, the real ugliness of gun control debating and finger pointing and anger among people everywhere commenced.

And, once again, there was no real talking – we were in another “us versus them” situation.

During this same time, the senior pastor at my church has started a new sermon series called The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in A Culture of Compromise, based on a book he has just written.

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And I am so thankful for it (the sermon series, I mean – I just got the book yesterday so I can tell you more about it soon 🙂 ).

Right now, as our culture is so so ugly, it needs our light so desperately and the most disheartening thing I am seeing is Christian people screaming in these debates – and often citing religious reasoning of some sort – with a nastiness that would shame hell.

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One of my favorite authors, Jen Hatmaker, got caught on the “wrong” side of one of the debates earlier this year and was absolutely vilified and run out of many Christian circles for it. She later blogged about it, saying:

“The Christian Machine malfunctioned, and we are all still staring at each other, trying our damnedest to figure out how we understand the gospel so differently, unsure if we will ever find our way back to each other. The Christian community has been maligned, mocked, dragged, and dissected publicly, our civil war evident to a watching world. We are a meme. It is truly awful.  My mind knows the difference between the Christian Machine and Jesus, but this year it feels hard to separate. The whole system seems poisoned, and I struggle to drink any of it.”

I understand this feeling well, when I see the ugliness coming from “us.”

While I can’t control what other people do, I can be sure that, though I will always speak up and speak out quickly when something is wrong, I am not part of the nastiness any longer.

If I am I trying to correct one issue but I am contributing to this overall poisonous atmosphere, then my effort has been for nothing.

I will make sure that my first mission is to be about seeing each person – even the ones who aren’t on my side, maybe especially the ones who aren’t on my side – as a person first.

And valuing them as such.

Even when it’s really really hard to do.

LOVE IS > (you name it).

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