MONDAY MEDITATION: Bumper Sticker Shock (December 11)

Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. — Luke 6:36

You can learn a lot about a person by the bumper sticker they may choose to stick on their vehicle.

I was behind a large white pickup at a stoplight. Its bumper sticker caught my eye: “Trump 2024” and underneath is was “*@#! Your Feelings.” Of course you can imagine what the real word was.

And as you can also imagine, all sorts of things came to mind.

Why is this person so angry? What/who is “he” (assuming it’s a he) afraid of? What does he believe to be true? How and where does he get his information? How was he raised, and where? Why was it important for him to use an expletive, publicly, to express himself?

I did a little research and Googled the phrase. I found that it’s tied somehow to patriotism. The bumper sticker is a sibling of another one: “My Rights Don’t End Where Your Feelings Begin.” It’s as if “feelings,” what you may be experiencing and how you may be empathizing with others, is somehow unamerican.

How is wanting the best for other people, especially those different from yourself, threatening?

When you think about it, though, such an vulgar bumper sticker provides a clear view of humanity. There are those programmed to live and die by doctrines, dogma, political persuasions, and emotional/dysfunctional propaganda. In religion, politics, and culture: “us” versus “them” can be a demonic driving force.

And of course Jesus would have none of this. That’s why people with the ancient equivalent of that bumper sticker on their Palestinian carts killed him. He was a threat.

Compassion, which transcends prejudice and invites people into God’s beautifully diverse family, will always be a threat. If it wasn’t, it couldn’t transform the world.

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