Journey toward the long tomorrow…faith, family, and friends on the long road home.RSS 2.0
Dear Melinda Bylerley et al.,
Middle America. It’s filled with a diverse people, many of whom are hardworking, decent, and looking to make a honest living to support their families. It’s not eloquent or sophisticated but it is often the backbone of the United States, the foundation if you will. Its people may not be educated in the top universities or have plush bank accounts, but I can guarantee you one thing: should anyone be in need of anything, they are first to lend a hand. Strong communities are worth their weight in gold.
You use strong language to deride a whole people. You unapologetically insult those on the other side of the ideological divide. But let me ask you something. Who do you represent in the parable of the Good Samaritan? Do you walk on by because you’re too busy or too good to bother yourself with those you deem less desirable? I can guarantee you the bulk of those you decry in middle America will be the one to stop and offer assistance and pay out of their own pockets even if they have to go without.
I live out in the northern plains of Colorado. My nearest neighbor is a mile or two away. We are surrounded by farmland and quite frankly, it’s peaceful and beautiful. The towns twenty minutes away are small and I can guarantee you they have more going for them than a bar and a terrible school system. They have community. When someone is in need, when someone dies, when a child is sick, those communities step up and provide support that consist of time, monetary donations, gifts, and love.
Let me tell you a little about our family. I have four children whom I homeschool. Two of my boys were diagnosed with hydrocephalus as infants and they’ve had their share of trials. I have another son who has a rare genetic disorder called Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation. We spent the last year in and out of the hospital for tests, surgeries, and a staph infection. What of the community you call bigots? They were there to offer love and support. Not everyone in these communities are white and not everyone holds to the same beliefs. As I’ve said previously, we’re a diverse mix. These people, who are in no way rich, gave up time and resources to help our family and to help many others. These same people work long hours to provide the basics for their own families.
I am a Christian woman and unashamedly so. I hold to a biblical Christian worldview and seek to apply my faith to all areas of life. I believe strongly in the self-goverment of individuals and in strong families, churches, and communities. The very people who have been there for our family through the most difficult season of our lives. Not all of them were white. Not all of them were Christians. But they loved and cared for us because we have intrinsic worth. I believe that all people are made in the image of God and should be loved and valued because they are image bearers. I may not bake a cake or create a floral arrangement in celebration of a same-sex wedding because I believe it a violation of God’s created order, a God who alone defines marriage. But I guarantee you that I would be the first to stop by the side of the road to render assistance or to risk my own life to save theirs.
My identity isn’t wrapped up in my skin color or my heritage or what I do. It is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. I am a Christian and my love for humanity is wrapped in Christ’s love for His people and for all those who inherently hold value and worth simply because they are human.
You hold different beliefs and I get that but let’s not kid ourselves. You denigrate middle Americans because you hold yourself in higher regard. The tongue holds great power. It can be used to encourage and build up or it can be a deadly poison, meant to maim and kill. Which do you use? The divide isn’t between the uneducated and educated, the poor and rich, the white and people of color. It is an ideological divide. I don’t hate people because they’re different. In fact, I love diversity because it’s a gift of God. What I disagree with is the flagrant violation of the law of God and the vitriol spoken against my savior. Call me hateful. Call me a bigot. Call me what you will. But know this. I care about you because you, too, are made in the image of God. Because you have intrinsic value and worth. Because God is a God of grace and mercy. And He loved me, a wretched worm clothed in filthy rags. A wretched worm he washed as a child of God and clothed me in His perfect righteousness. If He can love the worm that I am, surely I can love those whom I vehemently disagree with.
There are two phrases I keep close to my heart: “But for the grace of God go I,” and “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Let’s not think more of ourselves than we ought. Do you want to change the direction of our country and bring about healing? May I humbly suggest that we all learn to govern our words. Let’s build each other up instead of tearing one another down. Forgo the hasty generalizations and look upon the individual. Do I disagree with your values, your beliefs? More often than not. But I won’t speak unkind words. I won’t harbor hatred in my heart. I’m about my Father’s business; loving and caring for my family, educating my children, loving my neighbor, seeking after God with all my heart, mind & soul, and using the gifts God has given me. I don’t have the time or energy to waste hating on my neighbor. I have no reason to. Even if we are as different as night and day. That my neighbor is made in the image of God is all the reason I need to seek their best.
I implore you to not look on middle America as backward, heinous beasts, but as those with intrinsic value and worth. We may believe differently than you but that is often because our worldview differs. Let’s seek to understand one another, to dialogue. Name calling and insults have no place. Disagreement is not hatred but a revelation of diversity of beliefs and values. An enemy is not won over by war but by peace. And true lasting peace comes only by way of Jesus Christ.
I pray you will take my words into consideration, to think before you speak, and to remember all of us have value and worth simply because we are human. Middle America is America because we are a diverse people. Let us seek the good of one another.
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Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
January 8, 2017 Sunday at 4:20 pm