I noticed this license plate the other day as I went into my favorite coffee house – BZBZMEE. I live in Southern California where it seems like everyone is thin, rich and drives a car that costs more than the median price home in the USA. Except me. Sometimes I feel out of place, like the new kid in high school trying to fit in with one of the many groups available. Other times, I feel like a missionary out on the mission field. So many people wandering, lost, lonely and turning to things to fill the void that was intended to be filled by a loving God.
Everyone is so busy – rushing from point A to point B. Sometimes stopping long enough to refill their latte and check out the latest posts on Instagram; but most often just hurrying. I sometimes wonder if our rushing and running are just ways to keep a few steps ahead of pain. Trying to outrun a haunted past or stay ahead of a future we can’t really afford. Do we somehow believe that by remaining a moving target, nothing will be able to hurt us? Do we think we can make our future better by only looking ahead?
There are way too many lessons that need to be learned in order to make the world and our future better. Way too many experiences that we must stop and really feel and go through before we can expect to be better people. Simply moving through life at a lightening fast pace only gets us to the end faster. Think about it. Why are we in such a hurry? What would happen if we slowed down? Looked at things from every angle possible before making what could be life altering decisions?
Yes, there are times you have to make a snap decision and move quickly. A car cuts in front of you – you better slam on the breaks. You hear a rattle on the pathway – step clear of a potential snake bite. But if we really stop and think about it, there are fewer reasons to hurry and many more reasons to slow down and be more thoughtful.
Life and politics and work seem to be ramping up and moving faster and faster. Not better…..just faster. There is more hate and ugly then there ever was; or maybe it’s just more out in the open because it seems to be more acceptable. When leaders model a type of behavior, it becomes a standard for society. If they model kindness and acceptance and love, it becomes the standard. If they model hatred and name calling, mocking those who are hurting, that becomes the standard.
Jesus’ example for living, the type of behavior he modeled, is to be kind to strangers, love our enemies, wrap our arms around the hurting and broken. Even though there are those today that call themselves followers of Jesus, there is very little of this behavior being lived out. My heart aches and is enraged by the way so many Christians rant and rave about things that ultimately don’t matter. I may not agree with you, but I love you. You may not agree with me, so why do you call me names or celebrate when I’m hurt and broken?
The only answer I know of that can heal and mend is the name of Jesus. He loves beyond what I can hope or imagine. His love flows from a cruel crown made of thorns. My name is scrawled in blood on his hands and feet. How on earth can I every take part in the nastiness and ugliness of the world today when I know what he went through for me?
I can’t. So I shall choose, every single day, to stay out of the fray. I shall pray for my brothers and sisters who add to the chaos by their thoughtless words, because I know there have been times my words haven’t been as thoughtful as they should be. I shall look with love at the faces of those that are twisted in anger at things that they only know bits and pieces about because I know I’ve made the same mistakes and assumptions in my life.
But most importantly, I shall continue to be love in a world that sometimes isn’t. I shall continue to smile when there doesn’t seem to be much to smile about. And I shall share my life with any and all who will slow down long enough to read and listen and maybe, just maybe, that will make a difference.
If you’ve never been poor, don’t mock the poor.
If you’ve never gone hungry or had to choose between rent or medicine, don’t assume someone is lazy because they’ve had to.
If you’ve never been assaulted, don’t assume the victim is a liar.
If you’ve never physically walked in someone else’s shoes, never presume you would do it better or you know better how they should live their life.
If you’ve never given your life for someone, don’t act like you are God.
– Deanna de la Bretonne