The politics of policy
A small mind is incompatible with a big heart.
It felt like trying to stand still in a hurricane. All around me there was, and still is, sound and fury—pressure to bend, pressure to choose offense in the name of being a believer, in the name of being an American, in the name of…I don’t even know what.
I was quick to cry out.
“Where ARE You in the middle of this storm? This doesn’t feel like You. All the anger, the bitterness, the vitriol, all I’m being told is my responsibility to be in defense of You. Even when You’re being stern with me, it doesn’t feel like this.”
The Voice did not hesitate.
I stood still and focused hard on being quiet. The noise around me was deafening, and my heart felt as if it were going to be ripped to shreds in the violent currents around me.
“Tell me what to do,” I begged. “Tell me what to say. I want to say what You say.”
I watched as another storm took shape and pushed its way into the arena, demanding attention and fueling more division. More voices arose, shaking with rage. More screams for justice.
I didn’t want to watch anymore. I wanted to shut my eyes, close my ears, make it all stop. It was like watching rabid dogs snarling and snapping in the name of Love, fully believing in the righteousness of their cause. The means were justifying a perceived, but not real, end. It was excruciating to witness.
Finally, the Voice spoke.
I want you to put people before policy.
I thought about that for a while. It sounded nice, but was I hearing correctly? I’ve read the Manual. There’s a lot of policy in there.
“So what am I supposed to do with all the policy that YOU established? What am I supposed to do with what YOU said? Isn’t the policy still true?”
When I sent Jesus, I elevated people over policy.
I knew this was true. I have violated the policies more times than I can count. But because of Jesus, rescuing me became more important than condemning me or punishing me. There was room for me to grow, to move from my entrenched position as policy-violater to someone with a healed heart that could grasp a higher thought and then behave in a way that reflected well upon the Law-giver. And the kicker? He let me hang out with Him and He called me His own before I was healed enough to really grasp the fullness of truth. He was never intimidated by the process (lengthy and detailed as it was at times) and in retrospect I realize that every person who came into my life to scold, shame, or condemn me wasn’t sent by Him but by the ultimate law-breaker who wants humanity to share his ultimate fate.
Policy condemns those who feel powerless to adhere to it. It also puffs up those who find portions of it they’ve never struggled with. Policy, frankly, is impossible. It is good…but impossible. Only Jesus has ever managed to do it perfectly, and perfection is the requirement. Fail one tiny point, and you’ve failed the whole thing. And failure is death, unless…
Unless Someone is putting people before policy.
Unless someone is listening to stories, tending to wounds, holding fragile hearts.
Unless someone is about healing up the rips and tears and hemorrhaging caverns that make it impossible to see past brokenness to even consider the rightness of policy.
Unless someone is willing to walk with others in the messy process of transformation that allows room for an incomplete revelation of the rightness of policy before completion finally comes.
Because incomplete comes before complete. Imperfection comes before perfection. Brokenness comes before wholeness. And in between the Where We Are and the Where We’ll Be, there is an entire path full of challenge and struggle and joy and change and…life.
I believe what He said to me is good, and not just for the current storms that swirl. Those storms may batter my roof and walls, but they can’t destroy my foundation.
The power of the policy of His love rescued me. It looked beyond where I was and saw me perfected, and committed to the process of getting me there.
May I see others with the same eyes.