to fight or give thanks?

Here we sit, situated between two manufactured holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Perhaps “holiday” is misleading and inaccurate, but the two are days in which much of the nation is engaged in a similar activity.

It was hard to ignore the foolishness on the floor of one Walmart, no less. Hours after gathering for an intentional giving of thanks, two men graveled to the ground, fighting for who gets what, somewhere between the paper towels and on-sale toys. 

In Hoover, Alabama — not far from Birmingham — the foolishness was far worse. According to local police, a fight broke out between two young men inside the Riverchase Galleria mall near the FootAction store. It resulted in an exchange of gun fire, with two wounded and one killed. (The specifics of this incident continue to be investigated.)

There are multiple, valid aspects from which we could approach the above, manifest foolishness. They are not the same — as one seems silly — the other heartbreaking. Yet a single, primary question lingers:

Why do we fight?

Prompting a second, also necessary question: are we teaching the younger generation that is acceptable and good to fight?

While it may be a somewhat unpopular premise, it’s hard not to wonder when we fuel the “mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-any-more” mentality — in societal, sport, or political disagreement — no longer even allowing for disagreement — if we are teaching the younger generation that fighting is actually acceptable and good.

Let’s be clear: there is a time for everything… a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance, a time to be silent, and a time to speak up. But not every offense is a need to be offended. Not every time we feel impugned is cause for protest. And not every ounce of friction is reason to fight.

Fascinatingly, here comes the fight — right after the nation’s pause for Thanksgiving. Such made me ponder further.

Thanksgiving is peaceful. Fighting is not.

Is there then, a link between gratitude and peace?

Is there a correlation between the intentional expression of thanksgiving and how much actual peace we feel inside?

And… when we fail to express our thanks, when we intentionally omit gratitude — judging it to be unnecessary or even undeserved — worry, anxiousness, and stress prevail?

Maybe, just maybe, our worry, anxiousness, and stress (along with their accompanying resentment, anger, and acrimony) would be lessened exponentially if we learned how to be intentional in the consistent offering of thanksgiving… in the practicing of gratitude… and in recognizing all that we have been graciously given. It’s wonderful what happens when that realization displaces worry at the center of your life.

If we fill our minds on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — filling our minds on the best, not the worst — the beautiful, not the ugly — things to praise, not to curse — it’s amazing what that does to our perspective…

How it changes the way we see the world…

How it changes the way we treat one another…

And how we realize some of this fighting is the fruition of foolishness.

Let us focus most on what is good and right and true.

And let our intentional expression of thanks last for more than a single day each year.

Respectfully…

AR

ungrace

Last week a young, African-American, single mother randomly knocked on my door…

“Do you believe in second chances?”

Never wanting to miss an opportunity for meaningful dialogue and encouragement, I said:

“Of course. I believe in second, third, even sixty-fifth chances.”

She shared the toughness of her life thus far. She now wanted to work hard and change the trajectory of her and her daughter’s future. How could we help?

It made me think about how generous or stingy we are with those chances… how for whatever reason, we justify drawing the line somewhere, believing we’ve offered enough chances already… 

“You’ve gone too far,” we think… concluding that grace is no longer necessary nor even wise…

And just like that, in all of our infinite, perceived wisdom, we put limits on grace.

While there certainly is a time for healthy, relational boundaries, I’m not sure I can wrap my brain around the need for stern limitations on grace.

Grace is unmerited favor… meaning there is nothing we have done to deserve it. 

But often — especially in our increasingly fractious culture, we seems more generous with our “ungrace.”

Ungrace equates to grace’s absence; it is the declaration that because grace is undeserved — as inherent in its definition — we should withhold it.

My fear, friends, is that we are quickly becoming more of a culture of ungrace. Because we can sense the undeserving-ness — often deeply — we justify the withholding of kindness. We justify a lack of forgiveness and respect. We justify a lack of forbearance with one another.

That’s part of the beauty of Representative-elect Dan Crenshaw’s interaction with Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson last week. 

Davidson publicly, cruelly insulted Crenshaw as a candidate. He mocked a man, maimed during his military service in Afghanistan. But instead of ranting and raving and ensuring Davidson “got what he deserved,” Crenshaw offered Davidson what he did not. 

After appearing on SNL alongside Davidson, joking together — after also then, Davidson’s apology and Crenshaw’s forgiveness — Crenshaw said the following about their exchange: 

“We were hesitant at first… We weren’t sure what the skit was going to look like… but in the end we decided to do it. And we decided to do it because what better platform than to sort of give a united message for the country, talk about forgiveness and talk about veterans…

It felt good. It felt like the right thing to do. I would appreciate it if everybody would stop looking for reasons to be offended, and that’s what this was all about.”

Fascinating.

Friends, I understand that on different days, we each have cause to be offended. Dan Crenshaw certainly did. But our offense is impeding our offering of grace. Our offense is causing us to limit the number of extended chances. Our offense is breeding ungrace.

I had a fantastic conversation with the young woman at my door last week. After authentic connecting, an encouraging sale, and some mutual thanks to the good Lord above, we both walked away in gratitude and humble joy.

May we always believe in those second, third, and even sixty-fifth chances.

Respectfully…

AR

what kind of person am I?

A young brother and sister were squabbling somewhat. Their father notices, asking what’s going on.

With adrenaline fully flowing, the kids share, “We don’t agree! We don’t get it, Dad. Who should we look up to? Who should be our friend?”

Their father, with a softened grin, recognizing the opportunity, then directs his kids to sit with him for a moment… and graciously, candidly, responds…

“Kids, there are three kinds of people in this world. Allow me to teach you — first, the one who is easiest, the one you should seek out, get to know, and spend tons of time with.

First is the person who is wise.

The wise person desires truth. They may not always be happy-happy, but within them is this sense of inner joy that is never distrait or derailed. They have peace — even when life around them is crumbling or chaotic. They are not moved; they are not shaken. 

What should we do with a wise person?

Lean in, kids. Spend more time with them. Even in disagreement, you can know and trust a wise person; you can trust their character. They are not perfect — but they know that; hence, when/if they discern they’ve made a mistake or been wrong, they will clarify, apologize, even ask for forgiveness, if necessary. You can trust in who they are.

The second example is a little harder. The second person is the one who is foolish.

The foolish person denies truth. They want to live in the bubble that their experience actually serves as the truth — and nothing but the truth… as if it also serves as everyone else’s reality. While we may love these persons dearly, you know who they are when you think about how they would react if you would share constructive feedback with them. The foolish person struggles with feedback — often even despising it. The foolish one typically speaks first and listens last. They may lash out at you.

So what should we do with a foolish person?

Learn to set healthy boundaries. Consider limiting your advice, limiting your vulnerability with them, and limiting your exposure.

But as your father, I’d also encourage you to pray for them; don’t get puffed up — as kids, you and I know well, that we have often been foolish, too.

The third kind of person is the hardest to wrestle with. Sadly, the third person is one who is wicked. 

The wicked person destroys truth. They don’t care what’s true and what’s not; in fact, they tend to weaponize whatever they can to work against what’s true. The end may justify the means for them; they may intentionally dishonor another, if that person competes with their purpose.

Kids, hear me. This one’s really hard. Yes, we are each called to love one another, and that means loving another well. But be careful with the wicked; they are really out there. Figuring out how to love them well is tricky.”

Kids, listening intently, in unison and immediate response: “But Dad, what do we do with them?”

Back to their father, with a sobering, extended pause…

“Walk away.

But don’t walk away and never think of them again. Don’t walk away and think ‘we are done forever.’ But be ok putting some distance between you and them. Pray for them. Be humble. And beg God to change their heart.

God is capable of changing hearts… just as he has done for you and me.”

The kids begin to stroll away, with no more dispute, but wondering…

With whom do I need to spend more time? 

With whom do I need to set healthy boundaries?

And… maybe the hardest question…

What kind of person am I? 

Respectfully…

AR

bad things happen… to each of us

Seventeen years ago, my life changed. Not only did it change, but everything in me was convinced it was changing for the worse.

Let’s be clear; it wasn’t just me who believed that; there was a reason our friends and family cried. Add the doctor on top of that, arriving in the room no less than an hour after our youngest son’s birth, whose first words to us were, “This must be the saddest day of your whole life.”

Let that sink in for a minute… “the saddest day of your whole life.”

In addition to the no doubt unintended, perceived gut punch, the doctor left us with a thick packet of info, brochures, statistics, etc., which included a multi-page list of approximately 300+ things that our son was now more likely to have wrong with him.

Wrong. 

Bad.

That’s how we perceived it.

Before we get to the main point of today’s post, let’s acknowledge October as Down syndrome Awareness Month — a totally awesome month — and offer a brief, supportive shout out to the friends and families that have such a special someone as a member of their family! No doubt many of those in this community are some of the finest people we have ever met. Truly. But I’d like to go a little deeper this day… in a way that affects us all.

What happens when something bad happens to you? Something you truly perceive as bad? 

Does it define you?

Does it destroy you?

Does anything good ever come out of it?

Let’s first address the increasingly pervasive “one-size-fits-all” rationale. Sorry, but that doesn’t make much sense to me… that because you and I have both experienced “the same kind of thing,” we should react the same way or share the same perspective. I don’t buy it. We are each uniquely and wonderfully made; we are wired differently. Therefore, it makes total sense to me that men, women, adults, children, persons of varied ethnicity and demographic would and could respond in totally different ways. I’d like to see us each give others a little more grace in this area, recognizing that “one-size-fits-all” is more suited for a retail clothing promotion. 

We react differently. That’s ok. Not even the mature nor intelligent respond the same. That is equally ok.

For me, having a child with a cognitive disability — and knowing that I was going to have to change my expectations immediately — was incredibly hard. Harder still was wrestling with the perception that not only the world — but also me, at the time — thought this was bad.

When I pivoted, however, from seeing my challenging circumstance as any doubt regarding who God is and how much he loves me to instead an opportunity to get to know and rely on him more, something changed. I began to see something the world did not — and perhaps cannot — always see.

I began to see something other than that perceived as bad. I began to see this also uniquely and wonderfully made child… who would teach me and grow me and stretch me… who would challenge some of my cultural norms… who would say things and react in ways I did not… who helped me learn and quit judging the different… who knew no fear… who loved faster… who was full of hope… and who taught me the striking difference between intelligence and wisdom. I began to draw nearer to the great big God of the universe — and then find a strength I otherwise would not have known. What I once saw as bad did not define nor destroy me; it instead, actually strengthened me.

Allow me to never suggest that the bad things are easy. No way. Allow me to also never suggest any of us need to just “get over it.” But let me suggest that the bad things in our life do not need to be lingering sources of anger directed at either self, the world, or those who think differently. Challenging as they are, they can be an opportunity to grow… if we let them.

Yesterday, as my son and I stood at the bus stop for none other than his 17th birthday, he again requested a long time favorite song. And so at 6:30 in the morning, in a public place, on a semi-busy street, we stood outside, belted it, and danced… “When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change, ‘cause you’re amazing, just the way you are…”

I see that now… amazing…

What an incredible opportunity to grow.

Respectfully…

AR

how great it is/was/is

WOW… how great it is to be back… I am eager and excited and pouncing to post as we get back in the swing of our weekly, respectful conversations.

But WOW… how great it was to feature our 10th annual Guest Writer Series… What a privilege it was to hear varied perspective from a diverse group of people! And how awesome it was to see the hundreds of you that read or participated in this year’s offering — including the many of you who privately reached out to say, “I can’t comment, but I’m reading and watching — and yes, learning from someone who thinks differently than me.”

Allow me to affirm and applaud that.

Since the origin of the Intramuralist, I have said that listening to me is not what’s most important. In fact (and listen closely, in case I’m never again quite so humble), sometimes what I write is wrong. Sometimes my perspective is off. And sometimes I don’t even know it. 

But in the world in which we now live, I never wish to insulate the echo chamber. Echo chamber residents only hear the sound of their own voice… their own opinion. And maybe an opinion is wise at one time… but if it never sharpens… if it’s never stretched… if it’s never challenged to say, “Look, there are other angles,” then I think we sacrifice the greatest wisdom.

I especially enjoyed the wisdom and other angles shared in this year’s series. This group of varied gender, ethnicity, faith, and political perspective had some poignant lines that made many of us think… i.e. 

“We have to allow ourselves to walk in the freedom of knowing that we are all on level ground; we are not so different from one another.”

“When five or more justices think they know better based on any reasoning whatsoever except for what the Constitution says, that is not democracy.”

“For many of us this ‘want-need’ struggle still affects our lives, especially if we are trying to follow the Biblical truths that address the acquisition of ‘getting’ and the teachings on ‘giving.’  But what if those truths mean we would really have more, not less?”

“When others have an offense against another, is it right for the offended person to hate the perceived hater?” 

“Many preach love, but discharge hate when the office holder is not in their camp. Many preach tolerance, but end relationships because of political views.”

“[Trump] could not have risen to power were it not for the toxic political environment that existed before he was elected. He knows how to take advantage of uncivil discourse, but it did not start with him, and it will not go away after his presidency unless we do something about it.”

“Hillary hears you and is intrigued by opposing viewpoints and tries to incorporate them into solutions. Voters rarely saw this side of Hillary.”

“To say we have not seen any change to race relations would not be truthful. To say there is not still much work to do would also would not be truthful. My advice is to acknowledge and embrace the positive changes that have occurred.”

“The bottom line is we all play a role in each other’s lives. We have to ask ourselves how we can be a part of the solution… Can we listen without judging?”

Great to ponder, no doubt. 

And so I return with much more to discuss… from Mollie Tibbetts to John McCain to a Bahamian grocery clerk who inadvertently taught me an eye-opening, humbling lesson… to witnessing the counter screaming encounter in the airport… to the excellent, diverse books I read… to attempting to discern where God’s compassion and sovereignty meet — and how many of us are better at embracing only one of those… to voting third party and the existence of the Electoral College… to Joe Biden, Lindsay Graham, the “three amigos,” and voting for the “nice guys”… to my young son’s profound lesson on racism — and what it taught me…

I love our Guest Writer Series for so many reasons — most of all, because it is the manifestation of welcoming diverse perspective, an excellent habit for us all. Note that I also love the intentional respite it provides, firing me up for a fruitful return.

“So let the games begin, friends!” Remember all are welcome to play.

We play sincerely, often seriously, but always, always, respectfully.

Respectfully Indeed…

AR

the hottest of messes

[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #4 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]

 

Police cars sound in the distance. A look of sheer panic flashes in her eyes as she begs her teacher to know if it is yet another bomb threat.

An over-the–road truck driver’s family learns of his whereabouts when he does not return home at the end of dropping his load. No one would have guessed he would never make it home alive.

“If I could ask my son one question, I would ask him how it felt, after he pulled that trigger, to fall into the arms of Jesus,” sobbed a grieving Pat, the father of a colleague who committed suicide at the end of school last year.

One common thread binds these three stories together. One consistent — dare I say, “friend” — proves to be there. 

Tragedy…

Tragedy… those events, which cause each of us great suffering, destruction, and distress.

Tragedy comes in many shapes and sizes. You know those moments… those that nearly do us in, leaving us breathless. 

The truth is stingingly real. Not a one of us is immune to tragedy. Each of us is impacted by the tragedies that touch our lives. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a something that changes within us. Whether it is our thought process or our coping skills, I am not sure.

Or maybe it is our hearts. No one can answer that question for us. We must each take the time to look at who we are from the inside out.  

Another profound aspect of tragedy is that it plays no favorites. It does not concern itself with demographics or statistics. It comes when it comes…

Maybe it is a mass shooting such as Sandy Hook or Columbine. It could be a bomb threat at a school in rural southern Indiana “where things like that just don’t happen.” It could be the events that push a college friend to see no other way out but to take his own life. Or, even more surreal, perhaps it is that over-the-road truck driver who is your brother that was out of your life more than he was in and is now gone far too soon.  

Hear my heart. Regardless of what your tragedy may look like, it is okay to own it and be real with exactly where you are. If a struggle is there: say so and then let’s figure out how to rise up. We are all in this boat together friends! We are all a HOT MESS!!  

At the very least, we all have the great potential of becoming a hot mess. 

Just think how much sweeter this world of ours would be if we could only recognize that place in each other. We have to start within ourselves. We have to allow ourselves to walk in the freedom of knowing that we are all on level ground; we are not so different from one another.

Tragedies and joys alike are going to come. We will each face these moments in our lives. And we can all rise above. 

So this is my challenge to each of us… 

Can we strive to walk this road together? Can we walk beside each other, leaving room only for love, grace, and respect — and the freedom to do so regardless of what that looks like for each of us? … knowing it will look differently for each of us?

With you in the fray… respectfully…

The Hottest of Messes

living simply

[Intramuralist Note: Today features Guest Writer #3 in our annual summer series; the opinions expressed may or may not be held by me, but I value the writer’s expression and their commitment to respect…]

 

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”

This is a difficult statement because it requires us to define the word, “simply.”  

It does ask us to decide the difference between two very different words: NEED as in “must have… survival, you know” — and WANT as in “sure-would-be-nice-to-have and-fun, too”!  Of course, the internal argument that goes on in determining an answer is easier if we can quickly convert the “wanted” to the “needed.”  But that truly isn’t a solution, is it?  So why is it such a challenge?  

Well, one word suggests we may need to give up something or maybe make a change in lifestyle or abandon the “I-deserve-it” mentality. And does less make any sense (almost un-American?) or is having more really being self-indulgent? Tough questions if we really want to be honest with ourselves. Now some of you may have stopped reading now because no one likes thoughts and ideas that make us uncomfortable. But I will share a small personal example. 

This want-need struggle of mine first became apparent when I moved into a different house, one which I did not own. Along with all the possessions moved into the house were just the loveliest set of bath towels that were ideal in the former house… but now they were completely incompatible with the decor of the new bathroom, a total aesthetic nightmare in my eyes at least. Now I know any reader will have an immediate solution: “Paint!” Remember I said it was not my house, and it was inappropriate for me to get the permission of the owner. And then there were the realistic positions which I confronted literally and figuratively: The budget is tight.  We can’t afford this. Just get over it. And finally, the last straw, will the towels still do what a towel is supposed to do?  

Now this may be a trite example, but for many of us this “want-need” struggle still affects our lives, especially if we are trying to follow the Biblical truths that address the acquisition of “getting” and the teachings on “giving.”  But what if those truths mean we would really have more, not less?  

More of what, you ask?  

Here are only a few answers:

MORE room in our closets (… shall we have a shoe counting contest?)                                                         

MORE resources to help those who really do have needs… food, clothing, shelter…

MORE time to serve others, not just stuff that keeps us busy or on the go.

MORE rest not invaded by worry of bills, keeping up with the Joneses, etc.

MORE sharing of words that express appreciation, compassion, kindness.

So, make your own list of MORE’S…

And by the way, that opening statement — “Live simply so that others may simply live” — was written by Henry David Thoreau… I think Jesus would agree with him.

Respectfully…

DL

unprecedented sportsmanship

Two people.

One object.

Two people can look at one object and see it in totally different ways…

… sometimes in ways that seem contradicting… in ways in which we wonder how another ever possibly could have arrived at his or her perspective…

Enter high school baseball as today’s example…

Last month there was one Minnesota sectional championship game which was especially notable. The game featured Totino-Grace vs. Mounds View — the Eagles vs. the Mustangs.

What made this game remarkable was how it ended.

Mounds View pitcher Ty Koehn faced the final batter in Totino-Grace’s Jack Kocon. Ty struck out Jack to end the game.

With the final out, the Mustangs of Mounds View enthusiastically stormed the field, celebrating their well-earned coveted championship. They all spontaneously gathered near the pitching mound — that is, all except Ty Koehn.

Unlike the rest of his team, Ty instead rushed off the mound toward the batter’s box. He was there to console his opponent, Jack Kocon.

As reported by Minnesota site Bring Me The News, Ty said: 

“We are very close friends. Knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same Little League team. It was tough when we went to separate schools, but we kept in touch.

I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there. I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated.”

Look at this teen… so aware of what’s most important… so aware that opposition doesn’t have to be vicious nor divisive. And yet two people… one object… seeing things in totally different ways…

Note the tweeted reaction of others… but especially noted, the reaction of adults…

“This makes me shake with rage the more I see it. As I said elsewhere, this offends me as a youth football coach who preaches killer instinct to my players. I would make a player who did this hold his championship ring as I blowtorch it and melt it, because he doesn’t deserve it.”

“This is absolutely embarrassing. You have 1 moment to celebrate with your teammates who busted their tails w/ you, and you’re going to console a friend who’s upset? Kid is about as soft as it gets. Winners win and embrace it. Take this garbage somewhere else.”

“Call me old and crotchety (it’s probably true), but I personally find this ridiculous. The pitcher should be celebrating with his teammates. He can call or text his friend later and take him out for “milk shakes” at some point this summer.”

Wow… killer instinct… garbage… soft… ridiculous…

After a show of unprecedented sportsmanship, adults attempt to explain why empathetic behavior is wrong.

Have we soured so much in picking our teams, embracing division, and need to win, that we can no longer see what is good and right and true?

… that we can no longer see what we have in common?

… and that empathy and compassion are good?

Maybe we, too, need the younger generation to remind us of what is good.

Respectfully…

AR

the older man

Last week I witnessed the most feisty exchange…

A middle-aged man pulled his pickup truck into the nearest Publix parking spot. There was nothing unusual nor outstanding about the guidance of his vehicle. He was somewhat close to the gold sedan to his left, although the proximity had zero to do with driver error; the car to his right was hugging the line, so-to-speak, and there was simply minimal space with which to maneuver his vehicle. 

The driver of the gold sedan had exited the grocery and was entering his car as the pickup driver came to a halt. He was an older gentleman, and noticing the pickup driver’s closeness, he paused all movement. In fact, he reversed his perceived intention — stopped getting into his car, got totally out, and shut his door. The gold sedan owner awaited confrontation with the pickup driver.

As the pickup driver got out of his car, the older man approached him…

“You know, my wife was almost hit here twice last week.”

The pickup driver — who seemed nothing short of surprised that this stranger would engage — humbly responded, seemingly desiring to honor his elders… 

“Excuse me?”

To which the sedan driver repeated his concern, only more animatedly and adamantly…

“My wife was almost hit here twice last week! Two people almost hit her!”

He was angry… most likely, no doubt, sincerely angry.

I have to applaud the younger man’s reaction. He paused… stayed present… listened to the man’s concern… even affirmed his concern… and before walking away, he wished the older man well.

The older man never calmed down. It also did not rattle the younger.

I’ve thought of this each day since…

The older man was mad — his wife had almost been hurt.

The younger man parked nearby — but he did nothing wrong nor intentionally offensive.

But the younger man was closest…

… closest…

And so the older man reacted by taking his anger out upon the one who was closest.

Obviously, it was not the younger man’s fault that the older man’s wife had been endangered in the week prior. 

Obviously, the older man had reason to be concerned.

But in our concern, how often do we take it out on the person who is closest?

How often do we let our emotions fly not necessarily on the one who is responsible? … but rather on the one who is easiest to rail upon?

And the hardest question today… that I ask with all humble sincerity…

How often is that me?

How often am I the older man?

Respectfully…

AR

it’s all Greek to me

It’s true. I can be a bit of a nerd. 

Please… don’t agree so fast. 

Maybe it’s better said that I’m always a student… always learning… always attempting to figure life out. In fact, one of my bottom lines in life is that none of us have life all figured out this side of heaven; in fact, we are each — frankly — incapable. Hence, may all of us, always, be learning and growing — and have at least a little nerd within us.

One of my favorite, nerdier-perceived pursuits is my decades long study of the Greek. No doubt — no where close — I am no expert… although I would at least stand a chance if “Jeopardy’s ‘Daily Double’” fell in the convenient category of “Ancient Greek Roots” (… true, “NFL Superstars” would serve me far better).

Last week, no less, in my pursuit of knowledge, I uncovered a fascinating find… one that made me stop, reflect, and contemplate what current culture has captured and missed…

I was diving into this idea of how we are to treat one another — and specifically, the appeal of “bearing with one another in love.”

We all get the love idea… not that we’re always good at it. In fact…

We tend to be selective or withhold it or somehow justify why loving a certain other well isn’t necessary nor right. I’ll be honest; that practice doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, I get it… we get angry or hurt or feel wronged — and maybe it really is all the other person’s fault. But the failure to love well typically only hurts the withholder, as unfortunately, bitterness tends to then swell so swiftly on the inside. I don’t wish to live with a bitterness that burns primarily on the inside. I wish to learn and grow.

So “bearing with”… that’s the key action point here…

What does it mean? … to bear with one another in love?

Check out the Greek, friends…

Straight from the Greek, written at least a couple thousand years ago:

ἀνέχω…. (transliteration: anechō; pronunciation: ä-ne’-khō)

Look what’s in the meaning:

To sustain, to bear with, endure, with a genitive of the person (in Greek writings the accusative is more common, both of the person and of the thing), of his opinions, actions, etc.

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what’s seemingly so profound and countercultural?

… and has been around for centuries??

In the historic encouragement to bear with one another in love, there is an appeal to endure not only the person but also their opinions.

Granted, opinions can be stated without adding “you idiot” at the end of the sentence. But what’s key here is that if we are going love other people well, we are also going to be accepting of different opinion.

I’m thinking this isn’t going out on too much of a limb here… but in at least on our social media behavior, we have much to learn.

Respectfully…

AR