I have read many blogs written by those who have lived the reality of being seen and treated as a “them”. A lot of those blogs are of mental illness, others of suicide, some of this and some of that. And all of them have one thing in common:
Love is the common thread connecting each of those blogs: the love of a parent, of a child, of friends and acquaintances and of strangers … Of love lost and love found, love that hurts so bad and love that builds, love that is the only thing keeping that person going … And love that lives beyond death …
One such post was “What IF?” – I reblogged it yesterday here because it asked the question: “What if The Church of Jesus Christ was a leader in showing the world how to support those who are suffering from mental illness in the exact same way they lead the world in how to support those who are suffering from any other form of trial, tribulation or persecution? What if I could feel at ease to raise my hand in a Sunday School class and say: “Please pray for me. I’m going through a very bad flare of my OCD, and I’m experiencing a great deal of mental pain every waking minute of every day.””
And then today I read this: “All the People who Didn’t Know Me” “Truthfully speaking, the only real difference between me today is that I take care of more people and have a place to live. That is the only separation I had when I was homeless. Yet, the treatment I received then as opposed to now is like night and day. The only real difference is how people treated me (then) than now.”
This “treating people differently” is not exclusive to Church.
Church is people and people are the ones treating other people differently. There are people of faith and no faith all over the world in every country and locality. Treating people differently happens on social media, between friends, and frequently in families.
Treating people differently is not exclusive to “Church”. But what is exclusive to Church is this …
“Love Me, love your neighbour (like “everyone and always and everywhere”) as you love yourself (like “all of you and always and everywhere).” Because all else rests on this, all else grows from this, all else is this (or is not).
That is exclusive to Church … and the Church is people and only people can show the world (and each locality and street and family) that every person is loved, and all are inclusive of this unconditional love.
Because what is also exclusive to Church … THAT commandment IS quoted and idolised … THAT commandment IS the very essence of Church the building … Church the establishment … Church the people.
And what is also exclusive to “Church” … when that ownership and pride in THAT ”commandment” is shown to be a mask … of (fake) “Christian smiles” (changing to gossip and bad-mouthing) … of (public) “turn the other cheek” (really being private complacency) … of the reality of this commandment being a “switch it on and switch it off love” …
Then trust is absent and integrity is absent because LOVE is absent … The very LOVE that Church exclusively names as its own in the “greatest of all commandments” (on which all else rests).
So treating others differently might not be exclusive to church … But NOT treating anyone differently SHOULD BE exclusive to Church.
There is no hiding place. Because God Jesus never set the bar too high.
Each Christian who reads the bible and thinks-says-preaches “this IS the greatest commandment of all” is “setting the bar” for themselves (and every other “Christian”).
I did that – I still do – because the greatest commandment of all is not work – neither burden – or ever sacrifice. It cannot be switched on or off – because love has no switch to flick.
Which means this is not “a Christian thing” – it is not even a God thing. This is always a me thing.
And it is an honour and a privilege to be entrusted with something so wonderfully connecting and liberating for, and with, each and every person. Love returns much more than I can ever give. That is why love is always the answer.
So will someone explain to me how THAT has that been turned into “a heavy cross of burden to pick-up each day” – because that means there is a switch to flick.
And there isn’t.
There never was.