One FAMILY under God, with liberty and justice for all…
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Today, I wish the pledge said one ‘family’ under God instead of one ‘nation’ under God because the word change may help us all—the happy, the heated, the apathetic and the pathetic.
Families fight. Sometimes families fight hard with harsh words, threats, cruelty, cold shoulders, and denial. Sadly, some families fight physically.
Who else but family gets to shout out such low blows, such hate and fear? Yes, as a nation, have the freedom of speech but only in a family do we have the freedom of stupidity. Think about what you’ve read, what you’ve seen, and what you may have copied or created on your own. Raw anger, nastiness, and jabs that don’t just hurt but stab deeply are the new American norm. Such toxicity can only have a place to thrive in the family.
When differences of opinion, philosophy, and spending patterns do not align, what keeps the family together? I think of three things—love, history, and identity.
Sadly, some families completely fall apart under the overused heading called “being dysfunctional.” Yet you’ve heard siblings say, “We fight like cats and dogs, but always stick up for each other.”
Let today be the day we stick up for each other. To stick together, we have to see each other. To see each other, we have to actually look at each other. Maybe strife in your day isn’t politics; maybe it’s a past wrong that still hurts, an injustice that hasn’t healed. But be family, functional family. To do so, observe the other side not with a critical lens, but with love. Empathize. Listen. Realize you are not ALL right and the other family member is ALL wrong.
Notice scripture doesn’t say “Blessed is the peacemaker.” Peacemaker in this verse is intentionally plural. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We have peace when more people want peace. Think about your first family (pun intended). To go through the process of peace, yes, we are gonna get mad at each other now and again. We are gonna name call, break something. In the heat of a disagreement, we will do all that ugly stuff, but, even in the strongest storms and the most fiery family battles, we will unite.
It may take time for some of us to unite because to everything there is a season and a time, and this can be one LONG season of not just anger but important information sharing, but let’s see this nation—let’s see and treat each other—as family that does not fight but as family that together does not fail.
PRAYER: Lord, with bloodied knuckles, the scent of pepper spray in city streets, vicious commentary, hoarse voices from the shouting matches that have happened from sea to shining sea, from hearts broken and some truly good dreams that have died in the sand, enable this nation to be one nation, one family. By turning us one at a time, let peace begin with each of us. Amen.