That Jerk….Beloved

The following post was written by Kevin Harris. Kevin

serves as the Administrative Assistant and Director of

Community Relations at The Marin Foundation.

 

‘They’ does not exist

A constructed ‘other’ to rally the troops

And God knows it works

Every movement needs a devil

Someone to project my own demons onto

Someone to blame

Lest I have to deal with the disorders in my own soul

See in myself what I hate in you

And realize that but by the grace of God

I am capable of every evil

 

If only I can turn you into one of ‘them’

Dehumanize you

Not the Imago Dei

Fearfully and wonderfully made

Broken, yet still a brother or sister

But the sum of your beliefs

A disembodied caricature

Ignorant

The problem

And grace is not reserved for ‘a problem’

But people like ‘us’

Then I can beat you

Even destroy you

Feeling justified in doing so

 

But when ‘they’ become real

An enemy nevertheless

Capable of evil

Yet still a child of God

A wounded person loved

And created for relationship with God

When I realize, as Desmond Tutu states

‘We are a part of a greater whole

That I am diminished when I diminish others

And my humanity is dependent upon the recognition of their humanity’

Then I am reminded of my mandate

To love

Tangibly

Not to brush aside actions

But to love and forgive

Regardless of whether justice prevails

 

I know

It sounds trite

And it is a bit cliché

Until someone hurts you

Betrays you

Comes after you and those you care about

Until the pain inside you turns into anger

Not that Jesus flipping tables over anger

But that anger that wants to see you hurt

To feel a fraction of the pain you have caused

That gives you a cold silent stare

Hoping it would sweep over you

Uttering contempt

Aiming for a vulnerable place

Reveling in your pain and misfortune

Until…

 

Until it hits you

Like a load of bricks falling on your chest

‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’

They are a beloved child of God

Yes….that asshole

Beloved

You never thought redemption was painful

Until it slaps you in the face

Setting you free and simultaneously humbling you

 

Not because of you

But the One who is good

And you see that image in ‘them’

Only a reflection as in a mirror

Broken yet beautiful

Inflicting violence from incompleteness meant to be redeemed

And you’re reminded of the painful side of love

The violence of love

Love that requires forgiveness when your heart cries out for revenge

That subverts the entitled notions of the false self laying claim to justified hatred

 

Not the Jesus I invited into my heart to save me…..again & again & again

Like some cosmic belief-based ticket to cash in for eternal glory

But the Jesus that showed me ‘their’ worth and humanity

And called me to love when I do not want to love

Because he first loved (all of) us

The Jesus that died to bring peace to the enemies of God

Turning ‘us’ and ‘them’ into brothers and sisters

Deconstructing group boundaries

The Jesus that called me to come and die as well

Reminding me that suffering is at the heart of the cross

The way of God

And the way to God

Not to only be venerated but emulated

Then the cliché becomes real

 

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).


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