Sunday, January 29, 2017

We Can Love

I sat down last week to try to write through my feelings on the inauguration and subsequent women's march. And right in the midst of my post, our computer crashed and died.  I took that as a cue to sit back and let everything marinate a little longer before taking my thoughts into the public sphere. So now, a week removed, I am going to try to give voice to the many feelings that have coursed through me for the last several days.

Like many Americans, this year's inauguration was hard for me. I found myself struggling with the reality of sin in the world more than I ever had. At least up till that point. So much of what our current president said throughout his campaign was painfully offensive and seemingly intended to cause further division where healing was and is desperately needed.

And then the following day I watched the women's march. And my heart just sank. The display of vulgarity and disregard for the sanctity, not only of femininity, but of all human life was breathtaking. I watched in shock, thinking to myself, "This is not representative of what women are. We are more than this. We are better."

Please let me be clear here. I believe in women's rights. Wholeheartedly. And I believe that where rights are being trampled, we have an obligation as human beings to step into the gap and say, "Not here."

I believe that I have the right to be respected for my intrinsic value as a human being. I believe that my voice should count just as much as a man's.  I believe that women are an invaluable part of society and culture. I believe that women are brave and undeniably strong. I believe that women bring beautifully unique qualities and characteristics to our world.

God created both men AND women in His image. Both genders reflect different attributes and qualities of the Most High God. Yes, DIFFERENT. I fear that somewhere along the line, we humans decided that different must actually mean worse. But it doesn't. Things can be equal in value and still completely different. I think about something as simple as the shoes I wear. I own both boots and sandals. I like them both a lot. I love that my toes have the freedom to wiggle in the warm months while I wear my sandals and that my feet stay toasty in the winter when I wear my boots. Both are shoes, but both work best in different ways. It's 30 degrees outside today. I'm wearing my boots. I still love my sandals and think highly of them, but they are not what will BEST serve me today. Different, but equal. It's the same for our genders. Men and women are both equally human, image bearers of God with different strengths and weaknesses.

And that is ok. I actually think it's quite amazing. I see this even in my own marriage. Where Adam excels, I may struggle. Where I find success, he may not. My gifts are not his, and his are not mine. And I am so thankful for that. If we were exactly the same, who would pick up our slack? Who would balance us out? That's the beauty of God's genius design. It allows man and woman to be so different FROM one another while being equally valuable TO one another. It's brilliant.

And so when I saw women marching dressed as parts of female anatomy while hoisting signs covered with profanity I cannot repeat, I couldn't help but feel as though the mark had been terribly missed. Vulgarity is not feminine. Shock value, while good at making headlines, is not the way to bring about lasting change. What I saw on my screen was womanhood belittled, not empowered. And it broke my heart.

I understand that so many of us are angry, frustrated and perhaps feeling like we do not have a voice. I am there with you. The headlines these days are far from comforting. I know God's heart must ache as He looks down at the people He created to reflect His character and sees us lashing out against one another, speaking from hatred and fear instead of love and compassion. It's  so overwhelming. And when I try to figure out what I can do to affect positive change, I am brought to one conclusion.

I can love. I can speak in love, act in love. I can mourn with those who mour, comfort those who are grieving. I can teach my children to love as Christ loved.

This love does not come at the expense of the truth. No. It comes FROM the truth. Christ came to give life and give it abundantly. He did so out of His deep love for us. Look at His life. He spent it loving people. He met them right where they were, but He did not leave them there. That's the most sincere part of Christ's love for us: that He refuses to leave us in our sin. He compels us to change FOR OUR OWN GOOD. So when we love as Christ loved, we meet each other right where we are and then, out of that love, we urge one another to Christ likeness.

So that is what we are going to try to do in the Knott house in the days and weeks ahead. We are going to love as best we can.

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