This year has been interesting, to say the least. It's hard to neatly describe or concisely summarize all that we've experienced because first, we are all still in the middle of it and second, we actually don't know when we'll come out on the other side of all this. Third, there is no "one size fits all" narrative that would adequately or accurately articulate each of our unique experiences over the past few months (and even for the months and years to come). Although there are similar and common symptoms, the virus physically affects the body differently from person to person and so each of our experiences will be varied as well. Among the many things this pandemic has highlighted and brought to the forefront, one thing that really comes to my mind is the important role that compassion plays. We need to be compassionate towards other people's experiences. We should allow and give people the time, space and freedom to share their story. We need to honor and respect people's experiences and their story.
Does this mean that we must agree with everything they say? No. Does this mean that we allow people to say whatever they want to say? Not necessarily. I'm speaking primarily within the context of local churches, our individual spheres of influence, community, family and personal friends - the people we actually know and have relationship with. We desperately need to create an atmosphere that invites, allows and welcomes people to not only share their story and experiences, but champions a culture that would embrace people who have a different story and experience than ours. This is the only way we can then help connect their story to the story that God is writing for their life.
People want to feel heard and seen. They want to know that their story has value and significance. They want to know they matter.
In our current cancel and highly politicize culture, can we counter the negativity by being people of grace, compassion and love? Or choosing to simply not engage in the negativity? I'm challenging myself to live in such a way that I am known more for what I am for than what I am against. Does being a person of grace, compassion and love cancels truth and speaking truth? Absolutely not. Truth actually points us towards grace, compassion and love. They are not mutually exclusive but work in harmony.
Yes, easier said than done but I want to keep working on it. I want to live differently.