Four years ago.
Someone who’s in a leadership position in one of my circles publicly celebrated a difficult, divisive outcome. An outcome I knew would elicit fear and anguish in people I loved. An outcome I believed would bring real pain. If felt like he was laughing at those who wished for a different direction.
My initial reaction was anger. I wanted to lash out and fight back, but in a rare moment of wisdom I contacted him and scheduled a face-to-face conversation.
I hoped for a productive encounter, an opportunity for both of us to listen and stand on common ground. I hoped for reconciliation.
What happened was a lecture. My fear and pain encountered a wall of well-rehearsed talking points. My concern for those who would be further marginalized was dismissed with theological abstractions about “greater good.”
I hoped we might connect and put this nasty exchange aside. I wanted both of us to acknowledge that relationships matter more than winning.
I said, “I’m sorry.”
He said, “I’m sorry, but I’m right.”
+ + +
Four years later. That broken encounter and its aftermath still troubles me as we await another outcome.
Whatever the result, let’s learn from these four difficult years. Someone will win, but this isn’t a basketball game where trash talking and dunking on your opponent might feel good, all meant in good fun.
We’re a community, and those who wanted something different aren’t losers or enemies.
On the last night of His life, Jesus prayed for unity. He wanted ALL of us to come together and be a beacon to the world. He wanted us to set aside even deeply-held personal opinions and preferences and come together under the banner of sacrificial love.
I tried, four years ago. I’m still trying, and failing a lot. I want to seek an attitude of humility. I really don’t want to be the guy who insists on being right.
I want to get it right.