In the early days of the Trump presidency I found myself beginning to get caught up in the “we have to resist” frenzy. Living in a rather remote area and travel being difficult for us right now kept us from rushing off to participate in marches, rallies and other forms of “protest.” So I participated in spirit. I prayed, meditated and “held the high watch” for those who were out there as well as for our country as a whole. But I have been uncomfortable with some of large public protests and the way they have been conducted. I have watched with concern as protestors have been called thugs and accused of everything from inciting violence, to looting, to unprovoked attacks to being rude at town hall meetings.
I have been silent on the tragedy in Charlottesville because I just didn’t know what to say. I also rarely comment on current events immediately. I wait for guidance and if it comes then I say something. Finally guidance came and I am now able to offer these words of hope and encouragement.
So how do we resist evil?
- Choose our actions carefully and wisely. Getting into a face to face showdown with heavily armed White Nationalists may not be the best thing to do. Scripture tells us to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” 2Thessalonians 5:22 Most people have likely seen the President’s description of the events in Charlottesville. That a group of “leftist thugs” attacked a group of “fine, upstanding citizens” who were peacefully protesting (with a permit to do so) the removal of a statue and the renaming of a park. We do not get involved with anything that can degrade into or even be exaggerated or twisted into being improper, violent or evil. I am not sure that physical on site protests have accomplished what people are trying to do and in many cases have been used as examples of the “evil intent” of the protestors.
- Maybe it time to rethink the word “resist.” What if resistance isn’t fighting against but living for? See my blog “Fighting Against or Living For?”
- Determine that the world will not change you, that you will not follow the anger and violence of the world but that you will follow Spirit, walk in the light and lead by example. We can resist by refusing to hate. We can resist by living in peace. We can resist by loving.
- Create and repeat affirmations. I am love. I am peace. I am creating a world that works for all. When working with affirmations it is important to put them in positive words, not negative. I will not, I am not, are not as powerful as I am statements.
- Live in the light and walk the path set before you. People will notice. Your example may make people think about their actions. Your example may even change the world.
This is how we do it folks, by living the life of love, peace and light and refusing to be changed by the world around us.
“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
― Richard Attenborough
I walk the middle path. It can be a lonely place to be. It can be a dangerous and frightening place to be, caught between two extremes at war with each other with verbal, spiritual and even sometimes physical shots being fired by both sides. But as a Christian who tries to follow the teachings and example of the Master Teacher it is where I am called to be, shining the light of God’s love.
So, what does walking the middle path mean for me? Well, it means being a Christian. It means not being an “Evangelical” or a “Progressive.” It means not being a Democrat or a Republican. It means not being “conservative” or “liberal.” It means believing that being “pro-life” does not end with the birth of a child. It means believing in protecting and caring for children once they are here. Protecting and respecting the lives of individuals with disabilities. Allowing and encouraging everyone to grace us with their gifts. And, finally, not playing God with end of life issues, either by extending life by artificial means or prematurely ending it.
Walking the middle path for me means believing that peace is not best achieved by war. It means believing that frightened citizens arming themselves too often ends in tragedy. It means seeing the Christ in everyone, no matter what they look like on the outside or where they came from.
The middle path demonstrates loving our neighbor, even when they seem unlovable (I struggle with this). It means recognizing that we are all in this life to help and care for each other and that life is not meant to be a huge competition with winners and losers and no middle. It means seeing justice not as vengeance or retribution, but rather doing what is right.
Do I always stay on the path Spirit has set out for me? No. I veer off course, first once direction, then another — right, left, forward, back and sometimes even up and down. If you could trace my spiritual footsteps it would be a mess. I allow myself to get pulled off course by fear, loneliness, old beliefs and anger. But no matter how far off path I may get I always have to come back to my true center. To that place where love, light, peace and justice exist.
And that friends is our calling. To live in the world but not of it. To rise above the hatred and confusion of our times. To rest in God and to shine our light. There is no brighter candle in the world than the one who, through it all, is able to live a life of peace through faith. That candle is found in the middle path where Christ still walks.