Have you ever thought of something, then shortly afterwards, it appears in the newspaper or on TV? It happened to me this morning. I was thinking about the anxious times we live in, mainly the hate and vitriol between people on the left and right and the fact that God made all types of humans with different skills, temperament, and priorities in life. Minutes later I opened my Bible to the reading of the day. It was Romans 12, in which Paul writes about all having different gifts—prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, showing mercy, and leading (Romans 12:3-8).
In other words, taking a line from a popular song my brother wrote, “None of us were born the same. I don’t know why, it’s the way we came.” I realize that Paul was speaking of spiritual gifts, but I wonder, could the basic concept that we are all God’s children be expanded to all aspects of human creation, attitudes, and priorities?
Humans create robots, but no, God doesn’t. My wife is very impulsive. I tend to be inflexible. My 19-year-old grandson can’t get enough math and is on his way to becoming an engineer. My granddaughter wishes there were no math classes but has a talent for singing and acting. Is it too much of a stretch to expand Paul’s differences to include our whole humanness, including our perception of our world? Naturally that includes our civic and political life.
In a meeting the other day with some friends from church, I asked what it was that God had laid on their hearts during these times. One said it is the suffering of the people out of work and in need. For me, it is the extreme of hate and fear that is like a pall over our society. One isn’t necessarily more important than the other.
Regardless of the results of the election, I argue that there will always be liberals and conservatives. Their hearts beat for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the hungry, and their mantra, their calling, is to fill these needs by whatever steps are necessary, including more government involvement and higher taxes. On the other side are people who believe that strong rule of law, sanctity of unborn human life, the economy and less government involvement in society are what works best. I know good people—yes, even believers—in both of these camps.
More lyrics from my brother’s song: “For life is a journey and there are many roads beneath the sky, and there are many good people who don’t see eye to eye.”
No matter who wins (the election had not yet been called at the time of this writing), this dichotomy in our society is not going away any time soon. Therefore, as believers in God’s laws and in the teaching of Jesus, at least among ourselves, can we accept that there are people with different gifts of prioritizing the world’s needs—as long as our gods are not one political leader or party, but the peace, justice, mercy, and forgiveness that comes from our one true God. St. Paul writes,
God works in different ways, but it is the same spirit who does the work in all of us. (1 Corinthians 12:6).
Let’s pray that we non-robot believers of all shades and stripes can bring our God-given gifts to the table, and with give and take, bring peace and justice to our hurting society.