Hey! Knock it Off!

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3

I wonder if you find it irritating that the Israelis are so insistence on building settlements on disputed, formerly Palestinian, territory. I also wonder do you want to join me in saying: “Knock it off, will you. Give peace a chance.”

Yeah, that is what I want to do. And then I remember mentioning something to Shirley yesterday about old Andy Jackson… and add to that the way we have done things here in the good old USA from the very beginning. We have done some of the same stuff. Including that we Americans were deeply into building settlements on other people’s land ourselves, and calling it “progress,” “civilization,” and even “providential design.”

In the 19th century there was a huge influx of immigrants from the U.S. into the then-Mexican territory of Texas. Illegal immigration from the U.S. to Mexico. Yeah, us.

In other parts of the West, Indians lost their homelands not because they had sold them or given them away, but because the U.S. government allocated their lands to its citizens for their settlement. Settlements. We, in North Carolina, are reminded of the “Trail of Tears” when Andy Jackson sold out the Cherokee Indians and made them walk to Oklahoma. Good going, Andy.

I still wish that today’s Israel would back off on settlements on the West Bank. But maybe we should be a little less self-righteous, a little less sure that we would certainly never do anything like that. Because, well, we have… and worse.

Yes, there is a place for a word of advice and correction to someone else. But there’s a big difference between saying, “I’ve made mistakes and can maybe share something from what I’ve learned,” and saying, “We the righteous will set you straight.”

Remind us again, Holy One: the world does not divide between saints and sinners; but between saints who know themselves to be sinners, and sinners who believe themselves to be saints. Move us into the direction of working together for the peace of the world, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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