The internet today is full of disheartening stories about victims of mistreatment and unabashed hate. I want to say something to those people who are being targeted, victimized, and flat out hated. I want to open my door, sit them at my table, bring them cookies and coffee, plop down next to them, put my hand on their knee and say:
“You are welcome here. You are safe here. There is no hate here. Stay here.”
I want every person to be comfortable at my table. Everyone deserves to be treated like a person, like a human being, like their life matters, because it does. Everyone should be free to walk their own path, choose their own joy, and live without fear. It’s clear we are not.
My Facebook feed is one of my least favorite places to be. I see pictures of people raising their glasses to celebrate the rich and little hearts that indicate someone has “loved” a post declaring that Muslims and Mexicans should be cast out of the country. Really? I’m sure if we sat down and talked we could have a conversation about why they posted or liked these things. I could ask questions, seek to understand, and we would probably agree to strongly disagree. But I don’t think we’re going to do that. Not this time, not today.
Things have changed.
I’m reading my own words and you know what? They aren’t true. Do I want everyone to be comfortable in my house? Is everyone really welcome at my table? Maybe Jesus would set a place for those who hate but look, I’m not Jesus. I might set up some bleachers outside for them to watch us feast but that seems unnecessary. They can stand. So, is everyone welcome at my table? Honestly, today, I guess my answer is no.
I hope I don’t always feel this way. The reality of today is that we are divided, not just along political or religious lines, but about something as fundamental as how to treat other human beings. We are divided about who should live and who should die. That reality leaves me with people in my life I don’t want to share a cup of coffee with, let alone a meal. I don’t believe people are chosen. I believe we choose people. We choose to love, accept, and respect people regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or anything else that makes up the whole of a person. We choose to love or we choose not to. We choose to hate. I’m choosing love and I’m turning my back on hate. Hate is not welcome. Hate has no place at my table. To hate and all of its friends and followers I say:
“Love is welcome here. Love is safe here. There is only love here. Love is here to stay.”