In the second decade of the 21st Century, there is absolutely no shortage of issues. Education, discrimination, health care, racism, sexism, abortion right, LGBT rights, women’s rights, equal pay, poverty, environmentalism, immigration, privacy, free speech, even science itself. Plenty to choose from, right?
I’m not sure what politicians would do without them. Run the country, perhaps?
How would we define who we are, what we stand for, without issues?
How could we possibly change the world without embracing our favorite issues?
But I have an issue with issues. Issues obscure what is really important.
No, not even that; it obscures the person – the individual.
I am passionate about efforts to find cures for cancer. I lost a brother to cancer. I’ve lost friends to cancer. I’ve watched other friends go through hell and back who are survivors. But it is easier to contribute money, participate in walks and runs, and wear ribbons on my shirt that it is to sit with someone who is going through the horrors of this disease, or stand beside someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. Write a check, but be a friend.
I am passionate about women’s rights. I want my nieces and my granddaughter to have the same opportunities as men do. I want them to be seen as people of worth, not as objects of desire. But it’s easier to stand in a rally and yell out demands or just go around being angry than it is to spend time with these young girls and help them see their worth and reach their potential. Make your voice heard, but be a mentor.
Education is the great equalizer, the key to a better future for all of us. We want our kids – all of them – to have the opportunity to get a quality education. But it’s easier to disparage what we have, to come up with ivory tower theories, or to send our kids to private schools if we can, than it is spend a few hours a week in the trenches. Demand improvements, but be a tutor or just sit and read to a kid.
Now here’s where I start to walk on dangerous ground. I have friends on both sides of many issues. But I’m just going to try to speak some truth here, because there are a lot of issues where we claim the moral high ground when in reality we do not have it; when we think we are on God’s side, when we are not.
God isn’t for or against immigration reform. God is for the immigrant.
God isn’t for or against LGBT rights. God is for the LGBT person.
God isn’t for or against entitlement programs. God is for the person needing them.
As a Christian, I have two mandates.
- Love God with all my heart, soul and mind.
- Love my neighbor as myself.
If I need help defining what “love” is, I have this:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
“Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8)