"Let all that you do be done in love."
1 Corinthians 16:14
You may recognize Chip and Joanna Gaines as successful business owners, stars of a popular home-improvement show, and the subjects of a popular Buzzfeed piece published in November of 2016. The article attempts to depict the couple in hues of hatred, bias, and religious self-righteousness. The piece deduced that, because of the family's faith, they must have an extreme intolerance towards a particular minority.
The couple remained silent for several weeks, but in January of 2017, Chip responded to the article by way of "Chip's New Year's Revelation". He noted the painful divisions that have battered the country over the past year. And he realized that their call to rebuild and restore was not only relegated to the housing market; it was a calling that extended across ever dimension of their lives.
Jo and I sometimes don’t see eye to eye on stuff. She looks at something one way and in her gut she thinks she’s right and I look at it an entirely different way. I wish that she could get with the program and just see things the way that I do. (Of course, I’m kidding – we all know Jo’s usually right.) If Joanna and I, who are best friends, don’t see lots of things the same way – how on earth do we expect a world of strangers to magically align? The reality is, we may not all get on the same page and I think that’s okay.
This past year has been tough. In my lifetime, I can’t recall humanity being more divided. Plenty of folks are sad and scared and angry and there are sound bites being fed to us that seem fueled by judgement, fear and even hatred. Jo and I refuse to be baited into using our influence in a way that will further harm an already hurting world, this is our home. A house divided cannot stand.
f there is any hope for all of us to move forward, to heal and to grow – we have got to learn to engage people who are different from us with dignity and with love. Joanna and I have personal convictions. One of them is this: we care about you for the simple fact that you are a person, our neighbor on planet earth. It’s not about what color your skin is, how much money you have in the bank, your political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or faith. That’s all fascinating, but it cannot add or take away from the reality that we’re already pulling for you. We are not about to get in the nasty business of throwing stones at each other, don’t ask us to cause we won’t play that way.
In 2017: We have decided to change the conversation.
You wanna talk about how to build bridges between people that disagree? We want to be a part of that conversation. Do you want to talk about healing and compassion and kindness and restoration? We’re in the restoration business, we can for sure make time for that.
I think we are all here for a reason. I think we all have a call on our lives. Your role is not my role, and thank goodness, because there is so much unique and important work to be done. Jo and I feel called to be bridge builders. We want to help initiate conversations between people that don’t think alike. Listen to me, we do not all have to agree with each other. Disagreement is not the same thing as hate, don’t believe that lie.”“Also, let’s cut each other a little slack. This living out loud thing is not for the faint of heart. Jo and I don’t want to hide, we want to live brave & bold lives and we wish that same thing for you as well. But words can cut deep and having someone misunderstand your intentions can hurt as much as just about anything. If I misjudge people and am wrong, I want to be wrong having assumed the best about them. The bottom line is, I would rather be loving than be right.”
Our family wants to fight for a world that knows how to lovingly disagree. We believe it starts when we operate from a position of love in all things. If your position only extends love to the people who agree with you, we want to respectfully challenge that position. We propose operating with a love so real and true that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside the very people that are most unlike you. Fear dissolves in close proximity. Our stereotypes and vain imaginations fall away when we labor side by side. This is how a house gets unified.
Think about it for a minute: This could be one of the greatest restoration stories of all time.
Who’s ready to get to work?
"But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition."
-2 Timothy 2:23-25