One of my favorite passages in all literature comes near the end of A Tale of Two Cities. Miss Pross, longtime caretaker for Lucy and Dr. Manette, engages in mortal combat with Madame Defarge as Miss Pross tries to allow time for Lucy and her family to escape France and Madame Defarge’s revenge. Here’s how Dickens describes the scene: Miss Pross, with the vigorous tenacity of love, always so much stronger than hate, clasped her tight, and even lifted her from the floor in the struggle that they had.
In 21st century language, Love Wins. Love doesn’t only Win. Love redeems. Love encourages. Love endures. Love strengthens….
This is an important lesson for Christians to remember as angry rhetoric, suspicion, anger, and partisanship explode around us. This is exactly the kind of environment that people of faith must be “in” but not “of.”
Author Lynne Anderson has written, “Possibility people show you what they love, what they want, what they purpose, and what they stand for. These people are very different from problem people who are known by what they hate, what they don’t like, what they stand against, and what they will not do.”
Right now, as always, the world needs possibility people, people who love. People who take the high road. People who invite and include. People who seek to understand, not to undermine. People whose faith compels them to love one another.
It would be so easy right now to let our “problem” selves take over. There is much to be angry and indignant about. There is much to be worried and troubled about. There are many people to be afraid of and many we want to see “get what they deserve.”
My hope is that we slow down and think before we tweet, post, snap, or chat. Here are some suggestions for staying on the positive side and not becoming consumed by anger, revenge, or hate:
Instead of “I hate the President,” try “I admire the qualities of ______________ that I saw in President ________.”
Instead of “The Texas legislature is (wrong about, horrible, evil, anti-, etc.),” try “I’m going to encourage my representative to support (insert appropriate measure).
Instead of “Those people are stupid and hateful,” try “I’m going to practice one act of random kindness each day for a person who looks/acts/believes nothing like me.”
Instead of “They’re killing our public schools,” try “I’m going to support my local public school by volunteering and/or attending events.”
I’ve only addressed the tip of the iceberg here, and I’d love to hear some of your suggestions. Even more, I’d like to hear your stories.