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We All Bleed The Same

I have been on a news fast for a month. I backslid last week and tuned my satellite radio to see what was going in Washington (D)ysfunctional (C)hildren). Within a minute I regretted my decision. Both sides were attacking and demeaning the other’s motives, integrity, and decency. My mood turned sour. Then I flipped to another channel and the first song I heard was a duet from Mandisa and TobyMac.

These lyrics immediately grabbed my heart.

Are you left?
Are you right?
Pointing fingers, taking sides
When are we gonna realize?

We all bleed the same
We’re more beautiful when we come together
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We’re divided.

Why indeed? I am praying for another leader like Martin Luther King Jr who will remind us that hateful rhetoric never, ever, ever changes a heart. Followers of Christ have a message of hope and light that is desperately needed. But we get caught up in the politics of our world and too often snuff out that light. I have been guilty more than I care to think about.

I fear our culture will get darker in the days and months ahead. Followers of Christ have to make a decision. We can decide to complain that Christians are no longer respected and valued in the culture. Or we can decide to show the kind of kindness, forgiveness, grace, and love that early Christians demonstrated to change a hostile culture. Christianity really functions best as the underdog. We can ask God to give us the strength and grace to be a light in the darkness.

What does that mean? I have not had success sharing my faith via a clever T-shirt. And wielding a blinding searchlight seeking sin and sinners has, inexplicably, been ineffective. My moments of pompous moralizing have not brought converts racing to the flock. What message makes a difference?

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods’ appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”

Perhaps the fact that grace and forgiveness are rare commodities in this society is a big reason we see such anger and hopelessness.

Our natural reaction to those who denigrate our faith is to strike back. Jesus knew this would happen and He had some very radical instructions.

“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28,  NET)

I wonder what God could do if we followed those words?  And if we remembered that we all created in the image of God but our different experiences and stories divide us. They don’t have to.

If we’re gonna fight
Let’s fight for each other
If we’re gonna shout
Let love be the cry
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We’re divided

When it comes to all those people we may disagree with my prayer is to have the spiritual equivalent of Michelangelo’s artistic vision. The great sculptor proclaimed, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” May God give us the desire and vision to see the beauty of the soul in every person and love them until God sets them free. His grace can release it.