How can we make room for everyone at the table? In an election year, how can we avoid polarity and treat each other with kindness?
No Kid’s Table in MY House
“How will we fit 29 people around the table?” my daughter asked.
“We’ll pull out our folding tables and just snake them around the room,” I said. “I think we’ll all fit.”
“No one has to sit at a kid’s table?” she asked.
“Nope. No kid’s table here,” I answered. “Everyone gets to sit together at the table in our house.”
We’d never had a kid’s table for any of our meals, so she must have read about the dread kid’s table in one of the many books she read. We continued to prepare for our crowd of guests and ended up forming a giant L that stretched from the dining room across the living room.
Our table didn’t look like anything Martha Stewart would have thrown together, but with candles, our entire plate and silverware collection, and nicely folded napkins, it did look inviting.
And everyone would get to sit together—even the little people with their crumbs and clumsy manners.
Inviting Others Around the Table
In order to make room at the table for everyone, we have to first acknowledge our humanness. As Ashlee Eiland says in her book Human(Kind), we have to see people—even the people we don’t like to look at because they make us uncomfortable. We must acknowledge each individual’s birthright to dignity.
Once we understand the value of each human being, we can start to make room for them around the table. The figurative table where we fight polarity and injustice. It may take us a while to invite people who seem so different from ourselves into our homes to sit around our physical table.
But we can start today to invite them to fit around our figurative table. A place where we give them space even if their ideas, feelings, and opinions differ wildly from our own. We can ask questions that probe rather than questions that accuse or assume.
Instead of judging and condemning each other with polarizing language in social places, we can listen for the undercurrent of core values that might make them speak the way they do. And by doing so, we make room at the table for them.
My Prayer for Our Nation
As we enter another election year, may we all remember to invite everyone to the table and refrain from relegating anyone to a kid’s table. Before we post, comment, love, or leave an angry face, may we stop and think—and pray. As Christians, may we remember that Jesus died for all of us—even the people we don’t agree with, dislike, or have an aversion to.
Instead of wasting our time looking at our differences under the microscope (which allows us to justify the way we treat people who don’t look, act, and think like us), may we seek the things we have in common. Starting with a common birthright to dignity and respect. Our sins of self-righteousness look just as dirty to God and someone else’s sin of murder.
Sometimes, people will show up to the table with crumbs and clumsy manners, but they still deserve the dignity of inclusion. Can we do less than Jesus, who hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes? He never turns anyone away from the table. I want to be like Jesus.My prayer is simple: May we invite everyone to the table and treat them with dignity as human beings. #politics #electionyear #fmfparty Click To Tweet