Honor Everyone, He Said

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Idelette McVicker -Garden Tools for Peace5

It was his beard.

He stood before us with an AR-15 and a garden tool. Mike Martin founded RAWTools, an organization that transforms weapons into garden tools.

I was attending a Peacemaking workshop at Simply Jesus with the good people of Global Immerse. I was sitting a few rows in the back and, at first, when Mike came to share some of his peacemaking journey, I didn’t look up.

I grew up with images of AK-47s, rifles and pistols. Men wielding big guns was part of the story of South Africa and in many ways, still is. As a young girl, I used to drive to the shooting range with my mom early on Saturday mornings where she learned to handle a handgun. I didn’t think too much of it then.

When I finally looked up, sitting in a room full of wannabe Peacemakers, I saw a young man with a big beard and a big gun.

I’d met him earlier in the weekend and, as you do, we followed each other on Twitter. I’d seen his heart and his beard and I’d probably categorized him with the hipster young guys at our church.

Suddenly, when I looked up and saw him with the big gun, different images surfaced. He looked like the men of the AWB in South Africa.

The AWB is the extreme right, an Afrikaner Resistance Movement, rallying for an independent Afrikaner state in the new South Africa. They ride horses, carry a flag with an emblem that looks eerily like a swastika, and most of the men wear khakis and have beards. They call for an all-white, independent state.

Am I imagining this? What is going on inside me, I wondered.

I quickly googled images of the AWB and gasped.

God, what are you up to here?

HONOR EVERYONE

Several years ago, I heard a talk by Miroslav Volf at The Justice Conference in Portland. Volf preached one of the most compelling messages on these two words: Honor Everyone.

Honor. Everyone.

He challenged us to ask, If Christ calls us to honor everyone, who would you have a hard time honoring?

My heart sank. I knew.

It would be the men of the AWB. Racist, white, Afrikaner men. I even had an image in my head: a big beard, khaki clothes, a big gun.

I felt convicted. The message of Jesus calls us to honor everyone.
I felt deeply challenged. The message of Jesus calls me to love everyone, even the most racist among us.

I imagined myself going to stand next to such a brother and seeing him through the eyes of Christ. I had to see him with eyes of honor and Love. I begged God to help me.

These men may trumpet racist ideals and believe to be chosen by God. I have come to understand that these men also represent the most heinous parts of myself.

To love them, is to love the deepest, darkest, ugliest parts of my own story.
To love them, is to speak grace to the deep divide between us as humanity.
To love them, is to love and honor my enemy.
To love them, is to love the parts of me that feel least deserving.

When I saw Mike at the front of the room, he held up both a gun and a garden tool. Their mission? Repurposing weapons into hand tools to be used in the creation of something new.

He pointed to the olive branches on the wood handle. Then he added: You have to be on your knees to use this.

Tears dripped down my face.

He was a representation of the ugliest parts of my old world—and myself—the parts I had despised and rejected. He was also a vision of a future that is possible.

In him, holding both instruments—one of war, and one of peace—I could catch a glimpse of a different Way. He became an embodiment of the Hope I carry, that the racists in me—in us—could be healed and become people of Peace.

***

After the Peacemaking track, I walked over to the RAWTools presentation and had the opportunity to hammer one of these guns into a garden tool.

At first I wanted to hammer at the anger … I wanted to shout at the violence … I wanted to hammer away at the destruction. But as I went along, I turned my efforts into a prayer for Peace.

Peace, peace, peace, I hammered.
Turn us into instruments of Peace.
Away with violence.
Turn our violence into Love.
Turn our rejection of each other into compassion and ultimately Love.

O, God, help us.

I could feel the release deep inside me, right inside my belly.

***

On Sunday morning, I served communion alongside my beautiful sis Larycia Hawkins. She held out the bread and I held the cup. Many of the community came up to our table to receive.

When Mike and his team from RAWTools walked up, my eyes welled up afresh.

We were literally passing the Peace.

Blood, spilled for all of us.

The more I walk with Jesus, the more I know: God is not interested in half-baked freedom. The God of the Universe wants nothing but our full and beautiful Restoration.

So, we lift this cup of Redemption.
We drink this cup of Peace.
It is not without great cost, but it is for everyone who comes and drinks.

My brother Mike has reminded me:

This journey into Peace both heals us and saves us.
What is so shattered between us as humans, can be healed in us and through us.
I dare continue to hope for Peace, even in the most divided places.

I am called to honor everyone.
I am called to love my God, my neighbor, myself and even my enemy.
We are called to be a people of Peace.

Make me an instrument of your Peace, O God.
Repurpose me and create me into something new.
Repurpose us, O God.

image

QUESTION:

Lovelys, I’d love to know:

  • Who would be the hardest person (s) for you to honor? (Only if you feel comfortable to actually make this public, k? It’s only taken me four years.)
  • What does being a peacemaker cost you?
  • Where is Jesus calling you into hard places?

I can’t help but keep thinking of that Nelson Mandela quote: “One of the most difficult things is not to change society—but to change yourself.” Here we are. Let’s do this.

Love,
xoxo

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Idelette McVicker
If you only know one thing about me, I'd love for you to know this: I love Jesus, justice and living juicy. I also happen to drive a minivan and drink my lattes plain. (My life is exciting enough!) Nineteen years ago, I moved from Taiwan to Canada to marry Scott. We have two teenagers, a preteen, a Bernese Mountain dog and a restaurant. (Ask Scott to tell you our love story.) In 2010, I founded SheLovesmagazine.com and it has now grown to include a Dangerous Women membership community, a Red Couch Bookclub, events and gatherings. I'd like to think of it as curating transformational spaces for women in community. I long for women to be strong in our faith and voice, so we can be advocates for God’s heart for justice here on earth. As an Afrikaner woman, born and raised in South Africa during Apartheid, my story humbly compels me to step out for justice and everyday peacemaking. I have also seen firsthand the impact injustice has had on the lives and stories of women around the world. I refuse to stay silent. I am anti-racist and also a recovering racist. I am a Seven on the Enneagram, an INFP and I mostly wear black, with a dash of animal print or faux fur.
Idelette McVicker

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