Over the past several months I have become increasingly downhearted in observing the numerous attempts to divide people according to applied false labels, and our willingness to play into these social attacks and methods. It is even more discouraging to witness this among believers in Christ, who have redirected passions and responded like a bad Pavlov experiment. The world would have us separated by skin color, political ideology, religion, sexual preference, income level, education level and so on. Yet even the faithful have shown a tendency to view each other based on denomination, who they voted for and which sin they adopt as their personal cause. Why do we of all people play into this devilish scheme designed for our own demise?
Many have asserted that regardless of our state we all bleed red, but the common threads among us are much more than physiological. In fact if you would just take a minute to consider the human experience you should see quite clearly that there are relative few things that we don’t share in common. I am so weary of the way that social media has been used to build walls instead of bridges that I wanted to take this post and share a different perspective that some may be completely disregarding when they consider others. These are just a few things we all desire, cherish or fear.
I vividly remember the first time I fell in love. Don’t you? It was daisies in Spring, butterflies in the stomach and a rush whenever that special person came around. Is that feeling different if a person is black or white? Christian or atheist? Conservative or liberal? I doubt it. We all long to be loved and in love! There resides within most of us the need for companionship that transcends labels or diversity. Love is universal.
Just as fresh in my memory, the first time my heart was broken. The pain was real, the disappointment devastating. I was sure no one in the world had ever felt hurt the way I was feeling it. And you? Have you ever lost weight because you couldn’t eat due to a broken heart? Ever felt your world as you knew it had ended? Just wanted to hide? Yep, me too. We are much the same when it comes to healthy or broken relationships.
I have three natural children, three step-children and six grandchildren. They are my pride and joy. I admittedly was not the best father but I always wanted what was best for them and did everything I could to protect them. I show off pictures of my grandchildren to anyone who will look just because I am so proud to be their lucky papa. How about you? Do you have a collection of framed pictures in your house of your kids? Any albums on your cell phone for quick reference? Do you worry about them, make every attempt to be at their school events, spoil them to the displeasure of their parents? Yep, a common thread.
Do you have dreams few know of? I always wanted to play in the NBA but wasn’t even good enough for a college scholarship. Later I wanted to write at least one book and be a noted author. That dream may still happen some day. I have written numerous songs in hopes of just one of them becoming a hit. Have you any dreams? Have you reached for something and fell short? Do you still possess certain aspirations, a bucket list if you will of things you want to accomplish while you still can? Do you ever wonder if you will really amount to anything worthy of recognition? Same here! It’s a big boat we share.
What are your biggest fears? one of mine is that of wasted opportunities. What am I doing with my life? What am I leaving behind of value for my kids, what trail markers, directional signs, danger warnings? Will my boys want to emulate my life or steer clear of any resemblance of it? And what of my friends? Am I the one they enjoy hanging around or do they avoid me because my countenance is deflating and a killjoy? Am I making a difference to anyone? I have to imagine that if we are all honest we all share a similar sentiment-we want to be welcomed and liked as a positive influence and we want to be respected for living according to our core beliefs in a way that is contagious. Another common thread.
Have you ever lost a loved one to death, a parent, grandparent, spouse? Have you cried until there are no more tears to cry at the thought of never seeing them again in this life? Do you think mourning is shared between us? Can you sympathize with someone else who has experienced such a devastating loss? Does anyone think it hurts less for a Democrat or Republican or independent? Catholic or Jew? Do Americans mourn differently than say Asians or Hindus or native tribes people?
And how about this one-as believers in Christ who look forward to gathering with others who share our faith we experience those times when we need it most the presence of the spirit of God that moves us to tears in acknowledgment of who we are to Him. None of us, whether you have a seminary degree or are just a layperson can fully comprehend the magnitude of love our Father shows each of us in a unique yet common fashion, simply because we have confessed Christ as our Lord. Our outward expression may certainly differ-oh how it differs! You may kneel and weep, you may stand with lifted hands-maybe you shout and dance a little like David, but the differing responses are due to a common thread, the presence of God’s spirit that runs through each of us and ties us all together in an eternal bond as brothers and sisters of the same hope and same kingdom.
We have all heard or even quoted this famous passage from Galatians 3, yet I have to wonder if we all view it the same way when I observe the divisions among us:
“…for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. So now there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave or free, nor is there male or female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If we belong to Christ we are all Adam’s seed and joint heirs according to the promise”.
Common threads! Eternal threads! All woven together into one glorious loom, Christ. I love old hymns, and there is one in particular that is seldom heard these days but the message of which is entirely appropriate. The lyrics of Blest be the Tie That Binds are as follows:
Blest be the tie that binds-Our hearts in Christian Love
The fellowship of kindred minds-Is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne-We pour our ardent prayers
Our fears, our hopes our aims are one-Our comforts and our cares
We share our mutual woes,-our mutual burdens bear
And often for each other flows-the sympathizing tear
When we asunder part-It give us inward pain
But we shall still be joined in heart
And hope to meet again.
Common threads, ties that bind, eternal kinship, may parts of one body-these are the things that should pull us together in a holy bond of love, recognizing uniqueness of tastes, talents and purpose but wholly integrated into one woven masterpiece that should be the envy of others who “want in”. I don’t know if our product is one the world desires in it’s present state. I think we can do better-I think I can do better. I want to be the purple thread that is easily seen because of the brilliant orange and bright green threads next to me that highlight different shades by pulling them all tightly together into a colorless work of art.
I want to make it my personal aim to not be party to any attempt to label, degrade or divide us against each other. If you feel the same, there is but another common thread we share.