“There is beauty all around us,
and the light finds us when we realize,
we are all part of that beauty and worth the cherishing.
If we despise any, we journey to despise ourselves.
See all as beautiful, even if they choose to see themselves through you, as being less than so.
We have the power to see for each, and be the reflection of what they may yet see.”
― Tom Althouse- An award winning playwright, actor, public speaker, and educator.
When you look at what is happening in America with the political rhetoric reaching hateful and now violent levels what Tom Althouse says so powerfully. People are losing sight of beauty. Society has failed to look at the person who looks different from us or has a different political ideology than us as someone who is a beautiful creation of God. Why have we allowed hate speech to rule the day when what the world desperately needs is gospel proclamation? Sadly, we do not recognize each other as a unique, and special gift from God. All that God creates is beautiful. All people are valued by God. When we fail to respect the views and opinions of others, we lose sight of the beauty of the diversity of views and opinions. Every person deserves to have their voice heard not dismissed, not shouted down, not muffled because we disagree. When political parties paint each other as evil, dangerous and fail to work for the common good of the people; we have what happened with the assassination attempt on one political party. We have the events of Charlottesville. These acts of violence results in the lost the beauty of the community. As Americans, as people of God are all in this together. Our goals should be working together as a community for the common interest. Our country has major issues to address. People are hurting and discouraged; we need hope not hate.
My heart aches as I look around and see such anger, division, and ugliness. And that ugliness is not just around limited to one area of our lives. The ugliness of mean-spirited discourse is all around us. In the church, in the streets, in the halls of Congress, in the media, and now the results spill onto a baseball field in a quite Virginia neighborhood. This past election season just added to the surrounding ugliness. There was a time when people with different views could come together and discuss differences with civility? When we could hear opposing points of view, stop to think about those views and confirm those ideas as valid, then work together to find common ground. My spirit is downcast because everything around me seems ugly. This past election season was ugly. The post-election hysteria is even more hideous. Racial issues in America are ugly. Our immigration discussions are ugly. Infighting between the extreme groups and lifestyles is ugly. The loser in all of this today is America. A once great nation founded on Christian principals has lost its beauty. People will argue we were never a great country. I would argue we were never a perfect country. But we were a nation that strived to promote a God-fearing approach to conflict. We have lost focus. What has been lost is civility? Beauty is under attack. Today, society is forcing the one who created that beauty, God, out of our lives. They have pushed God out of our schools. It is wrong now to gather for a prayer after football games in some places. God has been pushed out of our government, out of our laws and out of the American mindset. And what have we replaced God with, hatred, division, angry political discourse? Is that a good trade? Why have we decided that God is the problem? I am not sure, but in removing God from the public conscience what we replaced God with is ugliness.
“Sin distorts the beauty of God.”
As I pray for this country, I pray that somehow we return to our roots, to our foundation, to the beauty of the presence of God. Like Israel before, I think the arrogance of America –that it thinks it can be blessed while turning away from God–is dangerous. In Ezekiel 11 God reminds the prophet who is feeling discouraged about the state of Israel that God will keep a remnant. But I pray we don’t need an exile and restoration to realize the beauty we once had with God as our foundation.
“…Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ Therefore, say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:16-19a
In conclusion, if you are feeling the weight of this time in our country and feeling a sense of hopelessness, find comfort in this, God is still seated on the throne. He will never forsake nor abandon us. Our posture now should be people on our knees, praying for those in authority and this kneeling position sees the beauty of God.