6 Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. 17 The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the prisoners
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to liberate the oppressed,
19 and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:16-19, CEB
We’re getting very close to the end of a very hateful and divisive political season. I’m troubled by everything that I’ve seen during this election process. I’m troubled by how I’ve seen people speak to each other. I’m troubled by how I’ve spoken to others. I’m troubled by how I’ve been spoken to. I’m troubled that one of our major candidates repeatedly and unabashedly insulted women, minorities, and the disabled. I’m troubled by the lengths to which people will go to deceive in order to get votes.
Of all these things, the most troubling to me is how we interact with one another. It’s so easy to just get past the election, allow things to go back to normal, and pretend that none of these interactions ever happened. If I may give some advice, don’t do that. Don’t let it blow over and don’t ignore the problem. If you need to make amends, then make amends and do so calmly and gently in an effort to make peace. You’ve done it before.
If someone’s harmed you, then let them know. If you’re going to let them know, though, do it calmly and gently. Don’t try to harm them in return. Simply let them know your experience and accept their response. If they respond in a disappointing or frustrating way, that’s their stuff. It’s your job to seek peace, and not to own other people’s baggage.
The year of the Lord’s favor was a time when old debts were forgiven so that people may start anew without old burdens. Peacemaking through seeking reconciliation of problems (rather than ignoring them) is also an act of forgiving old debts, lifting burdens. We cannot carry on as a country if we become more divisive and hateful. So, let’s do the opposite. Let’s proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and so give each other a fresh start.