You know the current Hot Button issues: Hobby Lobby. Immigration. Abortion. What I have discovered is that most people seem to speak from their personal experiences, what I call their particular "piece of the truth." For example, these are stories I've read re. the immigration issue:
"My family came here legally. We did it the right way. Why should they be treated any differently?"
"Our borders are too porous - all these illegals are over-running the country and we in Border Patrol can't keep up!"
"I've processed these cases. They're fleeing corrupt governments where drug gangs rule - and we're geographically close. Can you blame these kids' parents for sending them here?"
"There are plenty of people waiting to enter legally who will be killed by their governments if they stay!"
"Hey, those were kids on those buses. Have a little compassion!"
Is anybody here wrong? I don't think so. Where's the truth, then?
Here's where humility - and repentance - come in. The humility is to recognize that in regards to any moral issue, no one owns the whole truth.
We know the Ten Commandments, God's instructions written in our hearts - the simple do's and don'ts. Don't murder, for example. But - there's always the case for self-defense, for an individual and for a country. There are Quakers and Ecumenical Pax Christi members today who refuse all violence, who would never in conscience go to war.
God has written other instructions on our hearts - Love your neighbor, as given to us in the Beatitudes and the Works of Mercy - Feed the hungry. Care for the sick. Visit the prisoner. Bury the Dead. Teach the ignorant. Usually these are the commands God speaks to our hearts - Now. In the moment.
Jesus tells us, "Don't judge." Pope Francis, who calls himself a sinner, says "Who am I to judge?" Sin is hardness of heart. Sin is refusing to see or say that someone else also knows part of the Truth - God's truth - that has to be weighed in a situation. All of us have a knee jerk reaction to judge the other guy. Repentance is pulling back and listening to another heart.
Only God knows the full truth of any situation. And God needs each of us to respectfully share what we have experienced and what we know. To LIVE what we know. A moral theologian once said "God sends people who are soldiers to defend us. God sends conscientious objectors to remind us of the unspeakable horror and brutality of war." Truth is never Either/Or. It's Both/And. We need to pray hard for our national leaders to guide as well. And, if faced with people in need - compassion never hurts. In fact, it heals.