Originally published in the Miami News-Record, July 5, 2015
Man, talk about some turmoil in our great country right now. I have been pretty scarce on Facebook lately simply because I am quite frankly sick to death of all the negativity and conflict I see in my newsfeed. I see rebel flags and rainbows even when I close my eyes these days. I see long rants written by church-goers, non-church-goers, political folks, and those who are far less political (but still argumentative nonetheless), family members and friends pitted against the other and I just don’t enjoy that. Not one bit.
I love y’all. Plain and simple. I love all y’all. I don’t like some of you and barely tolerate more than my fair share, but I do love y’all. I do this because it’s my job to love y’all. Jesus made it pretty clear when He said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) He didn’t say “Love them only when they agree with you,” or “Love them only when their dog hasn’t pooped in your yard and torn up your Sunday paper with all the good coupons.” He also didn’t say, “Only love them when it’s easy.” It’s been my experience that when it’s hard to love someone, that’s when the lovin’ is needed the most. So with all that being said, it boils down to this: love.
Love God (see Mark 12:30) and love everyone else.
I love being an American. I am thankful God put me here in this place at this time. I love the nation I live in. I love the state I live in, the county I live in, the neighborhood I live in, the family I am in and the God Who put me here. Sure, it’d be nice if Oklahoma wasn’t throwing earthquakes in to compete with all the tornadoes. You betcha, I’d love it if the road grader came down my county-maintained road a little more often. And yes, I wish the neighbor’s dog didn’t run at my car every time I drive by, thus making me scream because it never fails to scare the bejeebers outta me. I could also point out some of the things that drive me crazy about some family members, too, but with the holidays approaching, I’d rather things remain amicable.
But wait….did I just say I loved all those places but didn’t love all the things in them or about them? What? You mean, I can love things but not love everything about them – all at the same time? Folks, this ain’t rocket science. Just because your country isn’t everything you’d love for it to be at this moment in time, doesn’t mean you have to stop loving your country.
Be thankful you have electricity, running water, a roof over your head, a McDonald’s on every corner and two Starbucks for every McDonald’s. Be thankful you don’t go to sleep at night hungry. Or listening to gunfire and mortar shells raining down around you. Be grateful to those who have given and continue to give their lives to keep you knee-deep in lattes and Quarter Pounders. Be thankful you can go to church – or not go to church if you choose. See, it’s this thing called freedom. And it’s pretty great.
Even when our country was founded, it wasn’t perfect. It’s grown a lot. It’s changed a lot. It’s been good, it’s been bad. It was founded on freedom and we remain free today. So why are we spending so much time fighting and less time loving? We are all masterpieces created by God. Some of us are fat, some are skinny, some are cat people, others love dogs, some love girls, some love boys, and I won’t even go into all the different shades of skin tone that are out there. Frankly, it just doesn’t matter.
Because love is all that does.