A Healing Community

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The 2016 Election has been unlike any I’ve seen in my short life. Especially with the prevalence of social media to carry out anonymous debates and attacks. This election has only magnified the divisions in our country while creating a few more. As a Christian and a Pastor, I believe that we (Christians and the Church) are called to be a healing and redemptive community. Our words and actions should bring people together and point towards the hope we have in God through Jesus Christ. Below I offer five ways that we can be a healing community.

1 Lean on God: Here is a newsflash for you, people will let you down. I’ve let people down this week. Perhaps even by addressing this I will let you down. As Christians, we are not to put our hope in people or any entity other than God. The Psalmist writes, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God.”[1] When we put our trust in anyone or anything other than God, we are setting ourselves up to be let down. Lean on God.

2. Listen to One Another: We are different. We have different experiences, views, opinions, and beliefs. The only way that we can learn from one another is to listen to one another.

If you find yourself as a supporter of Hillary Clinton, you need to listen to the people who voted for Trump without generalizing them as the same kind of person you may view Mr. Trump. Many of those who voted for Trump have watched their jobs disappear, taxes rise, and the government ignore what is happening outside our major cities.

If you find yourself as a supporter of Mr. Trump, you need to listen to the fear and uncertainty that people of color, the LGBT community, and others have for a Trump presidency. We don’t have to agree- but in love, we listen to one another in order to understand each other.

“When we spend time listening face-to-face it becomes easier to stand shoulder-to-shoulder.” -Steve LaMotte

3. Love One Another: When Jesus was asked about what the greatest commandment he said, “Love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, and with all your mind.” Then he went further saying, “The Second is this, love your neighbor as yourself.”

Last week, Dustin Staples reminded us that in order to live a better story that we love God, love others, and do stuff. It’s easy to love people who are like us, who look like us, who believe like us, and who share our religious/political views. But it is more difficult to love those who are not like us. But Jesus teaches us that we are not only to love our neighbors-that is easy- but to love our enemies. While I hope that you don’t view people who are different than you as enemies- we are to love those that the world says is ok to hate, ignore, or mock. John says in our Epistle lesson that

We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”[3]

 If we hate someone, or treat someone created in the Image of God without love then we are showing those around us that we truly do not love God.

As Christians who are committed to living in community, and who are to love one another, we submit ourselves to one another. This means that out of love and respect for one another we can lay down our freedom (to speak our mind, for instance) if our opinion or belief might cause another believer to stumble in their own faith. We can set aside our freedom to do or say something if it can be potentially harmful to someone else. This is not living politically correct- this is loving others enough not to cause harm.

4. Lift Up Leaders in Prayer: The position of a Christian in regards to our leaders is that we should pray for them. Paul writes to Timothy, “

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”[4]

 As a believer, I believe in the power of prayer. Prayer changes things. Most importantly, prayer changes me. We cannot let our feelings about any person or politician get in the way of our charge to lift them up in prayer.

Each of us should commit to praying for our leaders and especially our president. It is easy to complain- but it is more fruitful to pray.

5. Live Our Reconciliation: There have been a ton of articles written this week in the aftermath of the election. I read one by Ed Stetzer and at the end of his article, Ed had this line:

A divided nation needs a unified church focused on a common mission.”
-Ed Stetzer @edstetzer

 

There is no denying that we live in a broken world. How many of us have experience broken relationships- just from the election this past week? This presents a great opportunity for the Church and for followers of Jesus Christ to live out hope, to live out reconciliation, and to be a healing force in the world. We are called to live differently- and rather than pull away and settle for division- we are called to a ministry of reconciliation. This ministry is between people and between the world and God. The Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the only agency that can bring about this healing; this redemption; this hope.

As we continue to move forward- let us move forward as agents of healing and redemption. Let us move forward with hope.

Listen to the full sermon here.

[1] Psalms 20:8, NIV.

[2] Psalm 46:1-3, 10.

[3] 1 John 4:19-21, NIV.

[4] 1 Timothy 2:1-2, NIV.

About Steve LaMotte

Husband and father of three amazing children. Campus Minister of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church in Dover, Delaware. Elder in the Pen-Del Conference. Fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers. Lover of music that makes hipsters cringe.
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2 Responses to A Healing Community

  1. John Roberts says:

    Just a thought.. Are we always called to reconciliation? What about resistance? It is very easy for a bunch of straight, white guys to call us to reconciliation. For the record, I am praying about how to do be an agent for reconciliation but I am very scarred. As a kid, the good Christians of Iaeger, WV taught me how to hate myself. My own physical abuse by my classmates for being a “fag” was my fault. My parents, teachers, principal, and grown ups at church encouraged me to act more masculine to stop the abuse. These people were Evangelical Christians. I cannot understand how Christian leaders like Graham, Falwell, Robertson etc. could endorse this man. Trump brings all that pain back to the surface and despite years of therapy and finding a more accepting faith community, his words open all the wounds I don’t think the Church when acting as the Church can be in error because it is holy, catholic, and apostolic (good Catholic/Anglican theology there) but the Church must apologize for the behavior of some individual Christians. Until the Church tells the truth, there can be no reconciliation. I recently read a letter from the Rev’d Gay Clark Jennings (our second in command in the EC), She says, “Reconciliation, then, may be out of reach, and it may be pastorally inappropriate for the church even to suggest it to people who now have legitimate reasons to be afraid.” Sorry to go on but these are the first substantial words I have written since the election. As always, your ministry is in my prayers,

    • John, thanks for sharing. Could resistance and reconciliation be parts of the same action? Sometimes, there is an unawareness of the need to reconcile until some resistance is experienced (i.e. You tell me I offended you when I did not realize it- you named the wrong that was done).

      The words of the post and the message it was adapted from was primarily to my congregation- which is divided politically and there is a need to “remain at the table” with one another.

      As for fear, I may never understand the fear you and other feel, I believe I am more aware of it now than ever before. Because of that, I am praying like never before that those already marginalized will not be hurt further.

      Thanks for sharing John. I hope that you are well.

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