How often do we get tired of a news cycle, of the same story, of another thing we think shows that people are way worse now than before? It’s easy to want to turn away from the hard news of the pandemic, of the protests, and of the politics that do more to divide people than to do anything meaningful (my own cynicism :))
One phrase that I keep noticing in the Gospels, is Jesus rebuking those who have hardened their hearts. It is often to religious leaders who want to continue with their current beliefs and disagree with what Jesus is doing. I think about when I am judgmental of others and how that immediately closes any door to seeing their point of view, or believing they could have good intentions behind their beliefs. The allure of being right and self righteous outweighs the incredible value of being compassionate, growing in my own thinking, and building a relationship.
After Jesus rose from the dead and met His disciples, He rebukes them for their unbelief and hardening their hearts (Mark 16:14). This is even before He gives the great commission. When people asked Jesus, “What must we do to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29)
With all the opinions and divisiveness flooding our feeds, I am drawn back to the reminder that doing the work to believe in Jesus and keep our hearts open is a great work to be doing right now. We can not allow judgement and cynicism to dictate how we think about people, even if they have different beliefs than us, even if they do something we think is wrong, even if they think we are wrong. There are some days when it would feel so nice to allow my heart and mind to be turned off by some people and to be appalled at what they would allow to happen to people, but where would that get me?
This is not to say I believe we shouldn’t be aware of what is happening in our world and in our politics, I know those things are very important. My hope is that we can all approach the conversations we have and the things we post with an open heart to understand. My hope is that when we have too much news and information buzzing around us, that we do the work of believing in who Jesus is and what He came here to do for us.