This post comes from a concerned place…a place of hurt, a place of confusion, a place of concern, a place of meditation and thought.
So much has happened in our country in the past week. Am I going to comment specifically on the Michael Brown verdict? No.
Am I going to comments specifically on the intentions of Officer Wilson? No.
At first, this event seems as if it has nothing to do with autism and why I write…but it does. In so many ways – it does.
The hurt and the anger that many are facing is directly tied to what I am trying to do through this blog.
Remove labels, create understanding.
I may be white
I may be female
I may be a wife
I may be middle-class
I may have German-Swiss heritage
I may be Lutheran
I may be educated
I may be a partner
I may be funny
I may be a sister
I may be divorced (and remarried)
I may be a mother
I may be heterosexual
I may be a teacher
I may be a daughter
While all of these describe me (whew…I am awfully privileged by the way). Above all, I am a human.
My label? Human.
Humans were made in various shapes, sizes, colors, intellects, abilities, etc. – why do we have such a difficult time respecting that?
This morning in worship my daughter read the lessons. As usual, there is a verse that strikes me – I also usually have the ‘how ironic’ moment in what I hear on any given Sunday. From Isaiah 68:8: Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
As she was reading I kept going back to the word ALL in that verse. ALL. We are ALL the work. So, when I got home I started looking further and here is what I found (feel free to skip the bulleted list when you feel like you ‘got the point’):
- “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18)
- But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44)
- My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
- This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:17)
- Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
- Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
- Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)
- and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2)
- Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
- Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 13:1)
- Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)
- Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. (1 John 2:7)
- Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
- For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
- And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
- Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)
- This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
- And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:21)
- And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. (2 John 1:5)
I am not a theologian, but I do know that as I read through these verses I didn’t find any labels. Not once does the author/narrator write/say – love only a white, female, wife, middle-class, German-Swiss heritage, Lutheran, educated, partner, funny, sister, divorced, remarried, mother, heterosexual, teacher, daughter.
Nope – it doesn’t say that anywhere.
We are directed to love ALL others. (PERIOD).
I’m not sure when we got to thinking that it was okay to decide who (and therefore who not) was ‘worthy’ of having rights…as humans. I’m not sure when we got so busy labeling people as this or that.
I’ve long been an advocate of human rights. In fact, I remember in 4th grade wanted to start a club ‘against sexist’ jokes. I’m not sure I really knew what that meant…but I knew the jokes I was hearing were wrong and hurtful.
Tucker deserves everything that any other person in this world deserves. Does it matter the he has autism? No and yes. Yes, it’s part of who he is…yes, it’s important to know. No, that label doesn’t define him.
So, this advocacy? I guess…simply strengthened by autism.
I am human.
Tucker is human.
You are human.
Just in case no one has told you today…you are a loved human that matters – no matter what label has been arbitrarily assigned to you.