We are a grievance driven society. Is it social media memes or a basic disillusionment with where we are in life that fosters it all? Maybe it’s the pandemic, or the constant barrage of talk shows? Be it masks, vaccines, governors, or school boards, our grievances are spread and re-spread. Social media has offered us a platform to disperse our complaints. We have been cheated, ignored, passed over, forgotten, misused, repressed, stereotyped, or overtaxed by someone, somewhere in our lives. We are angry.
Which is not to say that some grievances aren’t real and need to be addressed. But the culture of today is beyond that. As a society, we are quick to take offense. We are swift to assume the worst in another. We are particularly quick to assume that worst in people we perceive as our enemy. Today, many people see their political opponents, not as friends who disagree, but instead as enemies to be defeated at all costs.
Along with that, are litmus tests for ‘true believers’ in our political divides. To really be a part of something, one has to agree one hundred percent, or the person is not “progressive enough” or “conservative enough.” People wiser than I have analyzed and can better name our human condition. One could say that sin is on the loose, actively at work destroying community. When we only look to our wants and never look through the lens of the common good, we miss a great part of our call as followers of Jesus.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves, is a basic premise of Christianity. For a person of faith, concern and care for our neighbor’s well being is fundamental to life as Jesus people. Several years ago, Bishop Reuben Job wrote a book called “Three Simple Rules for Following Jesus.” These simple rules, point us in a Christ centered direction.
Do no harm.
Stay in love with God.
The apostle Paul put it this way, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:2, 16-18