Courage and Peacemaking

In John 13, two things happen.

One: Jesus is betrayed. Whatever your goals or plans are, there will be people who do not agree and have a difference of values. They stand to lose something because of your stance and decisions. Also, betrayal is painful.

Two: After the betrayal, Jesus gives them a new commandment to follow. “Love each other”. One thought in the tradition is that it’s a new commandment because it builds on the first one to “love God”. In the face of betrayal, Jesus calls his disciples to love each other. It’s the only way God’s love is displayed.

In the last 10 years, the internal betrayal and hatred Americans have for one another is disheartening. Polarization on any topic has caused such disdain and contempt for the other that it has affected the way we live with one another. Some see the American flag and are triggered. Others fly the trump flags as a substitute for the real one.

We’ve lost the ability to cultivate peace which is an expression of love. In our stance to speak our truths, we have been betrayed or betrayed others. We need a courage that will help us go inward and cultivate peace in our hearts first.

We need a courage for self-expression and also a courage for communal-participation. We find ourselves and “the other” in both. This is one of the tensions that America is struggling with (i.e. personal rights/freedoms, communal responsibility). We need the deep grounding God offers to realize both (which are, at times, in tension with each other).

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book on anger, he invites us to cultivate peace in our hearts instead of trying to find it “out there”. We must learn how to acknowledge our anger and cradle it as a baby infant so that we don’t act out in tantrums.

How might we slow down and sit with our anger and betrayals? How might we see that we too are contributing to the collective problem by not soothing our anger? To the degree that we’re angry and act out towards, we short circuit our ability to cope with betrayal and pain. We continue to transmit it in hostile and negative ways.

How might Jesus’ call to love each other in the midst of betrayal be our own call today?

Your Story Takes Courage

Your life is a story.  It has a past/present/future.  There are plot twists, characters, and different settings.

Your story contains a DNA strand of purpose and meaning.  All of it is material that is trying to tell you something about you and this world.

There are beliefs, experiences, and people that have helped give shape to your story–for better, for worse.

In the DNA strand of your story, there is courage to be caught and remembered.

  • I remember the day that I graduated with a masters in theology.  My story?  I was a C student in high school with a lot of insecurities and self-doubt.  Courage got me through seminary.
  • I remember the day when marriage was getting hard.  Our story?  Troubled marriages as examples.  Courage got us through the rough patches.
  • I remember when I was cycling my first century bike ride, climbing 7500 ft.  My story?  Mexicans don’t cycle and never had done a century.  Courage and a tribe of people pushed me through to the end.
  • I remember when started a new job as a corporate chaplain?  My story?  “I’ve never done this before!  What am I thinking leaving all the comforts of the IT world?!”  Courage helped me see that I was made for this.

Feeling discouraged?  Need some #encouragement?  Look at the times when you overcome a struggle or hardship.  Look back on your storied life and see how courage has been finding you!