I’ve avoided people for years. That statement is true two ways.
Some people I suppose, I have avoided for that long. And, for years I have been perfecting my ability to avoid people. Or to avoid hard conversations with people. I know how to take back hallways because it allows me to avoid the people I’d rather not meet. Sometimes because I haven’t done something they wanted me to do. Often because I know what they will say and I don’t want to have that conversation.
Recently, many of us have learned that we don’t have to walk through the back hallways. All we have to do is snooze people for 30 days. Or block them. Or unfollow them. Or hide them.
In some cases, that’s a healthy thing. Seeing the rant from that person first thing in the morning can ruin our whole day. Knowing that someone we know and used to respect actually believes this or that story feels devastating.
But after we mute what feels like their shouting, what’s next? Reason isn’t going to work. The cancelled holiday gatherings feel like a blessing. We don’t have to be in the same room for either the poisoned air or what we think is poisoned thinking. When we think of that person, there is no peace.
But what are we saying to God about that person?
And perhaps more challenging, what is God saying to us about that person? Jesus suggests that peacemakers are to be blessed. Jesus suggests that we bless those who curse us. Jesus suggests that in his community, we love each other.
I’d like to suggest the lowest possible hanging fruit.
Bless the people you blocked.
A place to start is the words that God gave Aaron to say to the people of Israel:
“The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
Even when we can’t say these things for ourselves, we can ask God to do it.
And maybe we can hope that the people who have blocked us are doing the same thing.
Unpacking today’s journal question in Giving a Year Meaning: A Healing Journal for Advent 2020,