Last week the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision. Before you jump to conclusions, I invite you to stay with me here.
It isn’t the decision that I want to talk about or debate but our attitudes and actions toward one another at this time in the midst of that decision and its fallout.
Our scripture tells us in Galatians 5:14b-15: “ … Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Whenever we come to emotional issues like this decision, we tend toward closing our ears to God and instead forge ahead no matter what — speaking our piece without thought of love for the other. Few of us have taken a breath after hearing our neighbor speak their opinion, asked God for the wisdom of how to respond and then proceeded. Sadly, we begin wounding one another thinking that our thoughts and actions are the “right” ones, which is a definition of self-righteousness within Christendom and not the way of God.
It isn’t an easy thing to shut one’s mouth before a word flies out, relax our hands and shoulders before any actions move forth, but that is what God calls us to do. Consult the Holy One before advancing and follow God’s directives instead of your own. Consider the foundation of our faith in action — which is to love one another. How is what you are going to say or do showing God’s love to the other?
We as a society have been overcome by reactive emotions, making us slow to reflect and quick to speak/act and it is hurting one another. With the pandemic we have been experiencing our feelings, our hurt in isolation, which tends to make it worse because we dwell on it and don’t have others to work through them. This is unhealthy.
We need to work on reconnecting with one another not around “electric” issues like abortion, not at first, but around our everyday feelings and experiences. When we improve in the everyday connections that remind us we are all children of God, then we can more easily remember to breathe, and discuss our differences of opinion without having to be right and convince the other to our way of thinking. We learn to love that different other.
I invite you in this highly charged time to stop, take a deep breath, hold it and then slowly let it out. Let your mind slow down and your shoulders drop, relax. When you are taking in that next breath, ask God to guide you as you listen to the other and find that place between you that still allows you to care for the other.
Love is not a hallmark card. That is sentimentality.
Love in God is an active verb of being and doing. It changes lives to the good.
It is OK to agree to disagree. And, let peace/love be between you.
Rev. Karen Martin Tichenor is a pastor at Soldotna United Methodist Church, 158 S. Binkley St., Soldotna. Sunday worship at 10 a.m. Soldotna Food Pantry Wednesdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Contact 907-262-4657.